Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Mercedes-Benz’s Secret Weapon: Lior Arussy

By Jeremy Alicandri on Apr 24, 2013

Stephen Cannon, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, believes he needs to further differentiate the Mercedes-Benz brand. He plans to accomplish his lofty goal by elevating the customer experience of his retail customers to a new level. As he explained in Automotive News, "the need to deliver an exceptional, truly differentiating customer experience has never been greater.” But how is Cannon attempting to redefine the luxury experience in the already established luxury market? The answer is a consultant from New Jersey; who is described by many as the world’s #1 customer experience expert.

Lior Arussy, a former executive of HP, travels the world consulting for some of the world’s largest companies (FedEx, Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Caribbean, etc..). In 2011, Lior’s company, Strativity, was hired to lead Mercedes-Benz’s customer experience initiative. After analyzing thousands of employee engagement surveys submitted by employees of Mercedes-Benz dealers, Strativity devised a plan to redefine the Mercedes-Benz customer experience. Since 2011, Strativity consultants have trained thousands of Mercedes-Benz employees throughout the entire retail dealer network. And it seems, while Cannon never said the name of his “secret weapon,” he appears quite satisfied with the results:

Cannon & the “Customer Experience”:

How I met Lior:

In January of this year, Strativity hosted a 3-day workshop in New York to certify corporate executives in Customer Experience Management.  I attended the seminar, and I was instantly impressed to find myself in a room full of high-ranking International executives that travelled from as far as Australia for the opportunity to meet Lior. It was as if Lior had his own cult following; nearly all the attendees read at least one of Lior’s books, blogs, or even keynotes. I felt like an outsider. I never even heard of Lior, and only found the seminar through a Google search. However, just like everyone else in the class, I was quickly “enchanted.” Unlike other cultural or leadership consultants that throw abstract ideas at executives, Lior actually presented us with a framework and pragmatic action plan to implement immediate change within our companies. We left the workshop with a certificate, an action plan, and a memorable experience.

As more and more companies jump on the customer experience bandwagon, it’s important to understand that an elevated customer experience begins with components of an organization’s culture – specifically the level of engagement between employees and customers. These interactions are the fundamental determinants of how a customer will perceive a company.

The stakes are high but the rewards are big… Investing in a car dealership customer experience program improves loyalty, profitability, and branding. However, it takes tremendous buy-in from the dealer principal, as it can be a strenuous and eye-opening experience. Any dealer that’s willing to take the plunge, and is ready to transforms satisfied customers into extremely satisfied customers, should consider a customer experience initiative.

Disclaimers:

• Opinions AND VIEWS SET FORTH HEREIN  are my own AND DO NOT REPRESENTS FACTS.   SUCH OPINIONS AND VIEWS COULD BE WRONG. They do not represent the companies named or cited in this blog.
• I am not privy to ANY details of the backend operations/analytics of any site mentioned in this blog
• All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

Comments

I like this guy Lior already. Thanks for sharing Jeremy.

(Great to see you in NYC at #DSPC as well - glad you could make it!)

Apr 24, 2013

Great to see you and thanks for inviting me! It was a blast!!!

Apr 24, 2013

Comments 1 - 2 of 2

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Jeremy Alicandri's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Mobile Click-to-Call vs. Tap-to-Text: Controversial or Complementary?

    A July 2014 Automotive News article sang the praises of phone calls over email and form leads, citing faster responses and ease of use via mobile. What it didn't point out, though, is that text-based, one-to-one messaging is worthy of a verse or two as well.Read post

  • Do Your Salespeople Spend Too Much Time Managing Software...Instead of Selling?

    The fact is, lead generation is an expensive business and having the right tools to manage this investment and deliver the most qualified leads to your dealership is paramount to your success. When it comes to mining your database and working your in-market customers, you have two choices: use your internal team to run and manage all aspects of it (self-service) or outsource many of the functions to a service provider who does most of the heavy lifting (full service).  Self-service options demand the installation of comprehensive software that requires training and hands-on daily interaction to be effective, while a full service provider will take over the day-to-day tasks (i.e., database management, developing marketing materials, mailings, e-mails, etc.) and, instead, deliver qualified leads to your sales force. Both approaches have their pros and cons. Full disclosure, I currently work for a full service provider, but I also spent eight years as VP of Sales and Marketing for a la...Read post

  • DSES: Can You Feel Me Or Is It The Customer Experience?

    DrivingSales Executive Summit 2014 is officially in the books. It was a sold out event once again that enveloped the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas for the better part of three days. Planned was a (digital) star-studded keynote speaker list plus some of the finest breakout speakers, many dealers, for those in attendance. Here's some highlights form the event from IM@CS' perspective: Day One Just as last year, there was a Canadian Breakout Session housing some of the top companies from our neighbors to the north along with some powerful presenters including Grant Gooley and Jeremy Wyant. Jay Radke and Brent Wees definitely brought the "eh" for a second time. Rumor is that next year will be bigger and better (and DSES will NOT be during Canadian Thanksgiving!). After Emcee Charlie Vogelheim’s grandiose welcome of the attendees, DrivingSales' founder Jared Hamilton managed a uniquely powerful opening recognizing a few members of the car dealer community from stage for thie personal tr...Read post

  • Proactive PR & the NFL?

    While I love to be active myself, I certainly could not call myself a big fan of watching and keeping up with sports. It seems, however, that you cannot turn on a television, read a newspaper or use any social media recently without hearing about continuous misdeeds and wrongdoings of NFL players. I’m sure that you’ve seen them as well. So this is not designed to rehash, recap or discuss any of these controversies. Much of the attention and negative PR has been directed towards those players involved, as well as the NFL itself, as can be expected. Due to the ongoing controversy, sponsors have distanced themselves and some have even disassociated themselves with the league. One sponsor, however, seems to be taking a slightly different approach to the controversy… Verizon.   Let’s face it. Regardless of any controversy, football is not only uber-popular in America, but also big business. It brings massive exposure to its partners and sponsors. Just as in the real world, howe...Read post

  • "Going Viral" is a Dream, Not a Goal

    Over the years, I've worked with some of the best social media marketers in our industry. I've seen some posts that have hit incredible numbers on social media sites that were seen by tens, even hundreds of thousands of people. They were all memorable, not because the content was so incredibly awesome but because "going viral" on the internet is so hard. In fact, it's not just hard. It's what most would consider to be a fluke. It's for this reason that I want to warn dealers about the concept of going viral. Reference.com says that going viral is something "pertaining to or involving the spreading of information and opinions about a product or service from person to person, especially on the Internet or in e-mails." It sounds awesome! Wouldn't every dealer love for their messages on their website, blog, YouTube channel, or social media profiles to go viral and get spread from person to person in bulk? Unfortunately, it's not something that can be easily manufactured. I'm not going...Read post

  • Are You Available When Your Customers Are?

    The internet has changed our world. The concept of "business hours" has been turned on its head. People are buying things online at 2 in the morning. They're researching vehicles after the kids are in bed. They're planning out how to drop off their vehicle in your service department and still get to work on time at 4am. When they have questions, are you there for them? Chances are that you do not have a receptionist there to answer questions by phone overnight. A contact form or email simply won't fulfill all of their needs in the timely manner they expect. This is where 24-hour chat comes into play. In the example above, we described the person who wants to know about your service department and how she'll get to work. This isn't a hypothetical. It actually happens. We see chats all the time inquiring about hours and transportation. If you're not there to answer their questions, you're missing out on potential business. She can't wait until 7am to decide where to drop off her car ...Read post

  • Social Media Engagement is a Two-Way Street

    The most amazing part about the internet and social media is that it has opened up communication between people and businesses that was never possible before. We now have the ability to talk to our customers and for them to talk to us in an interactive fashion, allowing for clear lines of engagement that can be both public and private. For car dealers, this has translated into an incredible way for them to broadcast their messages and get feedback in real time. On Facebook, people can like, comment on, or share their posts when they appreciate them... and even when they do not. The world is completely different than it was a decade ago when the most powerful method of online communication, the email, was still relegated to being private. This all means that dealers can receive interaction, but it also means that they're required to deliver interaction right back at their customers. Every day, we see dealers who are not taking advantage of this. People will comment on their Facebook...Read post

  • Dealer Solutions: Catching Red Flags on Millennial Resumes

    Does it ever feel like the term “millennials” is an annoying buzzword or something that the American workforce can’t stop mentioning? Regardless of how this may make you feel, this is a term that won’t be going away anytime soon. You probably keep hearing something about “Generation Y is the future” or “right now is the time to attract millennials at your organization”—although it might seem repetitive, it’s true. This generation currently makes up approximately 23% of the dealership workforce, according to a report released by the NADA last year. Additionally, the percentage of millennials in the workforce is only going to increase in the years to come. This also means that there’s a good chance you’ve had a decent influx of resumes coming from this specific generation at your dealership. While hiring millennials is essential to growing business, it’s also important to make sure you’re hiring the best-fit candidates. One way to avoid poor hiring decisions is by scanning resumes for certain warning signs. The following are several red flags on millennial resumes that hiring managers should search for in order to avoid hiring a potential turnover candidate at your dealership: Careless Grammar & Spelling—This is an obvious red flag to spot on any resume. If a potential candidate is lazy enough to not carefully proofread his or her resume, then it’s likely that same candidate will not perform to the best of his or her ability. Full Sentences—Resumes should never be writRead post