AUDI has set itself the aim of making each and every contact it has with customers or potential customers a positive experience. The aim is to convince customers to enter into a long-term partnership with AUDI. “By customer relationship management, we mean making customer focus a daily reality, and intensive dialogue about our products,” explains Christoph Wargitsch, head of CRM and New Media. Over the past years, the number of AUDI customers has risen dramatically, and customer expectations of the brand AUDI have risen in equal proportion. For this reason, the company wanted to exploit as fully as possible the potential in analysing customer data – on the one hand for the benefit of the customers themselves, but also, of course, to give AUDI the necessary competitive edge.
To meet the high demands of customer focus, AUDI required a new CRM platform. The system which had been used up until this point to analyse customer data as a part of complaints management no longer met the demands. “Statistic analysis instruments were quite simply insufficient for our requirements, and fell short of contemporary technological standards in the field of business intelligence. Moreover, the old system was developed specially for our company. It operated via direct access to operative data, which meant it had a negative impact on system performance,” explains Christian Bauer, Customer and Trading Systems Analysis Division at AUDI. In contrast, analytical CRM by SAP, based on mySAP™ Customer Relationship Management (mySAP CRM) and mySAP Business Intelligence, offered great potential: via pre-defined extraction structures, customer data can be integrated from different sources, and used flexibly for comprehensive analyses in accordance with AUDI’s needs and requirements.
"With analytical CRM we have managed to transform data into information and understanding for better customer relationships". Dr. Christoph Wargitsch, head of CRM and New Media, AUDI AG.
For AUDI, the main criteria in the decision-making process were openness, ease of integration, and the reliability of the solutions from an investment point of view.
"At AUDI, the customer database KuBa is an IT platform for CRM based on SAP. The first step concentrated on improving our contact management in customer support". Christian Bauer, Customer and Trading Systems Analysis Division, AUDI AG
The project is part of a wide-ranging initiative run by Volkswagen AG: the company has between 30 and 50 million items of customer data in various databases which are not yet networked. This sparked the KuBa customer database initiative. "The aim is to consolidate the databases via a professional CRM platform," explains Christoph Wargitsch. A central, integrated database, which is nonetheless divided into brands, was to be created. Besides AUDI, VW and VW Financial Services are currently involved. KuBa is further developed in stages. "At AUDI, KuBa is the IT platform used to support our CRM processes based on SAP. Initially, we concentrated on improving our reactive complaints management in customer support," reports Christian Bauer.
AUDI customer support, which is located in Ingolstadt and Cologne, forms the base. With the help of the mySAP CRM Interaction Center, some 220 call centre staff and account managers have offered support to some 700,000 customers and potential customers. There are now around 2 million files stored in the system. Via computer-telephone-integration (CTI) and further connectors, letters and faxes are channelled into the system, as are also telephone calls and emails. As staff have access to a range of customer and vehicle databases through various interfaces, they have a complete overview of each customer and the customer’s vehicles. "Using analytical CRM, we’re far better equipped to evaluate and analyse the enquiries we receive in the service centre," says Bauer. AUDI employs 15 SAP users to deal with this task.
Quantitative and qualitative analyses help AUDI to optimise process controls and staff allocation in customer support. Two other aspects, however, are even more important: firstly, the company today knows much more precisely than ever before what its customers and potential customers want. And secondly, AUDI’s performance when it comes to customer support is far more transparent:
Based on this information, AUDI sets customer management targets and monitors whether these are being achieved. "Thanks to a large number of location reports and flexible analysis potential, we can evaluate enquiries and complaints on the basis of car model," Christian Bauer explains. What are the most common teething problems? This information is channelled systematically back into development. In other words: using analytical CRM, AUDI is able to ascertain faster than before which technical improvements to which car models are desirable from the customers’ point of view. The company can also quantify the extent to which constructive changes lead to a decrease in the number of complaints on a given subject."The consultants from SAP Consulting and Syskoplan Reply were competent and committed. Not only did they align their work to the SAP blueprint, but they were also flexible with regard to our requirements". Dr. Christoph Wargitsch, head of CRM and New Media, AUDI AG.
One of AUDI’s chief aims is to increase customer loyalty. Campaign management plays a central role in this area. For this reason, in a pilot project for the new A8 in Italy, AUDI struck out in a new direction. The aim was to bring together internal address data with external data, and monitor the impact of personalised offers to target groups which were selected accordingly. The interaction with customers led them via a multi-level mailing campaign from a general impression of the brand and the A8 model to a personalised offer.
"An important factor towards the success of the project was expertise in the field of business logistics and processes, because only by such means could both be reflected accurately in the CRM system and in the data warehouse". Christian Bauer, Customer and Trading Systems Analysis Division, AUDI AG
"mySAP-CRM functions such as target group selection and marketing characteristics have proved to be greatly successful" reports Christoph Wargitsch. By the close of the campaign, AUDI had a good overview of which customer data was particularly qualified. In addition, the company was able, with the aid of data mining analyses based on mySAP Business Intelligence, to draw conclusions from the response behaviour, which in turn can be taken into account in future campaigns. This pilot project has not only enabled AUDI to gain important experience in designing and conducting campaigns; the company was also able to achieve important marketing and business goals. Christoph Wargitsch: "We were able to test combined and personalised product and service offers, and push towards a holistic CRM approach in the company".
Expectations of the analytical CRM project were high. AUDI made a conscious decision for project management by SAP Consulting. The most important factor for bringing SAP in as consultant partner was SAP’s comprehensive product know-how, together with the close vicinity to SAP development. In cooperation with Syskoplan Reply and further partners, and closely coordinated with AUDI itself, SAP consultants brought the project to a successful conclusion. With AUDI’s expectations clearly defined from the start, the company today is able to enjoy a perfectly tailored solution. The holistic and forward-looking approach meant that all demands could be consolidated, at the same time preventing subsequent integration costs. "An important factor is expertise in the field of business logistics and processes," reiterates Christian Bauer, "because only by such means can both be reflected accurately in the CRM system and in the data warehouse". Thanks to SAP Consulting’s professional project management, the project was completed by the stipulated deadline, and the budget was not exceeded. AUDI’S experience has proved that it is advisable to proceed in small steps. Key users need to be involved at an early stage. Nor should one wait too long with the setting up of system administration. "The consultants from SAP Consulting and Syskoplan Reply were competent and committed. They reacted to our demands with great flexibility," reports Christoph Wargitsch.
The first and most basic step has been taken – analytical CRM forms a workable platform on which AUDI can build. Christoph Wargitsch: "We’ve managed to transform data into information and understanding for better customer relationships. This means that in turn, we can manage customer enquiries – so-called reactive CRM – much better. The successful pilot project on campaign management in Italy has also shown that we have at our disposal all the necessary preconditions for "proactive CRM". In a third level, we hope to aim for "selective CRM". In other words: in future, we would like to identify our customers more accurately, and approach them in a more individual manner in order to encourage them to maintain long-term relationships with AUDI". In light of the fact that the mySAP-CRM pilot projects have run successfully in AUDI and VW, it is now definite that mySAP CRM will be the company’s platform for managing customer relationships. This means that the next steps to be taken will also involve SAP solutions. "Having gained important experience, AUDI would now like to focus on integrating further CRM functions, and plan an international rollout," says Rolf Martinssen, head of IS Customer Services at AUDI, summarising the situation. The solution for analytical CRM also went live in Italy and Brazil: out of around 70 new users, 15 are already using the new web interface, which is due to be introduced shortly in Germany within the framework of new projects, and should simplify working with the system. Rollouts are also being planned in further countries. On top of all this, AUDI plans within the next six months to implement a lead management based on data from internet applications (AUDI online car configurator, AUDI new car market etc.).