Hyundai Canada Interview with Michel Poirier


Dolly Konzelmann President of CSPN sat down with the Director of Customer Service, Michel Poirier at Hyundai Canada to discuss Hyundai’s take on customer experience.

Dolly: What does the customer experience mean to you and why is it important?

Michel: It really is a team approach, where everyone is on the same page. It is not a program, but rather the why and how we do things. Otherwise, there is no traction and therefore would not be embedded into the culture.

Dolly: What are the economic advantages of having a great customer experience?

Michel: Positive customer experiences generate more referrals and customer retention, which in turn have a very strong impact on our brand. Financially, we see our sales and automotive service business increase through returning customers. The thing we don’t often realize is the reduction in stress management regarding issues customers had in the past. Our resources are focused on constantly improving. Everything flows much better because of this and we recognize this is harder to quantify.

Dolly: What are you doing to improve the customer experience?

Michel: We reduced our key measures of activities for our dealers from 120 down to 5. The top 5 areas include:

1) Meet and greet within 60 seconds
2) Returned serviced car clean
3) Keep clients informed
4) Follow-up by the end of day
5) Perform walk-around on the car

There was some initial push back from the dealers, however we have data that shows that by focusing on what matters most, customers get the results they are looking for. Dealers have seen this for themselves and are all aligned.

Dolly: What are the most important elements of a great customer experience?

Michel: Getting both solicited and unsolicited feedback is very important to Hyundai Canada. We receive solicited feedback after an event based on activities that require yes or no responses. Our unsolicited feedback is through social media. Both forms combine to give us further insights that we can use to enhance our customers experience.

Dolly: How has/will technology impacted your business?

Michel: The impact is significant. Customers have a lot more information available to them now. We focus on transparency and trust. Customers are appreciative that it is a team approach, where everyone is on the same page. It is not a program, rather the why and how we do things. Otherwise, there is no traction and is not embedded into the culture. What we are trying to do is compare our customer service to companies such as Starbucks, rather than only comparing ourselves to other manufacturers and dealerships. Starbucks provides great service by personalizing each customer interaction. We are using technology to create a personalized experience. Data analytics help us approach returning customers and specify how they want to be serviced.

Dolly: What areas should a company focus on training for customer experience?

Michel: With our dealerships, we focus on ensuring they understand that every interaction is a key interaction. The small things they do and say can make a big difference and keep the customer coming back, as well as have them recommend us to their family and friends.

Dolly: How do you identify where the problems lie in the overall customer experience?

Michel: I think it is important that we focus on getting feedback from our clients and focus on key activities. Remove the grey data and get concrete data that can help us continue our progress.

Dolly: What do you think is going to be the next big Customer Service/Customer Experience area of focus? Is it going to come from technology or even more personalized person-to-person contact?

Michel: I believe technology is going to allow us to give a person-to-person experience. For example, we have dealers that have been equipped with tablets in order to help them answer our clients’ questions in an instant.

Dolly: How do you determine how much to spend on customer service?

Michel: We do not allocate a specific budget, however when a need is deemed necessary, we work that into our current budget and take the appropriate action.

Dolly: What roles should employees play regarding customer service?

Michel: All employees should have an understanding that every interaction has an impact, whether it is big or small. Every interaction we have with our clients is important, even something as simple as an email.

Dolly: What is the biggest challenge in creating a great customer experience in your industry?

Michel: The industry has always focused on maximizing efficiency. Having a brick and mortar dealership is expensive and challenging to create a great experience. For example, how do you measure the ROI for returning clean cars to clients. It is difficult to calculate. We need to continue focusing on the customer. Sometimes not doing things the right way costs a lot more money in the long-term.

Dolly: On the maturity curve of customer experience where do you believe your industry lies?

Michel: I believe our industry falls in the middle, but there are some areas within customer experience where we lead. We are consistently moving forward; however, customer expectations are always on the rise.

Dolly: What piece of advice would you give CEO’s regarding the value of the customer experience?

Michel: They should continue to shift their focus towards customer experience. Understand how it impacts the dealerships and continue to assess where changes can be made. A great customer experience sometimes cannot be quantified dollar-wise, but pays off in the long run.

Dolly: How do you deliver a true omni-channel experience to our customers?

Michel: We are working on it, communication is key. We keep in mind that in everything we do, we need to ask ourselves, what overall impact will this have on the customer experience?

Dolly: How can we make customer experience measurement actionable?

Michel: By simply doing the right thing with the right process in place.

Dolly: Thank you for taking your time to speak with me. It was a pleasure to hear your insights on customer experience. It was very information and I know our readers will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed interviewing you.

Michel: Thank you, Dolly.