How to build better digital services for your connected cars and your customers

November 1st, 2021

Digitalization allows you to measure how your cars are used, how their digital services are used, even driver behavior. In this third blog article in our series on OEM challenges and opportunities, we focus on how you turn this information into actual business value. How can you use your connected car data to create better digital services for your connected cars, and forge a stronger relationship with your customers?

Realizing the business value of connected car data

There is a lot of talk these days about not just connected cars, but the software-defined car. In a nutshell, that means that software will make it easier to change and improve cars continually, throughout their lifecycles. Consequently, not everything needs to be defined and decided once the car leaves the factory; or the dealer for that matter. The digital services you build for your connected cars should create business value as well as customer value, and do so for years or even decades.

The key to truly realizing the business value of connected car data, is to create the best services possible and make sure they remain useful and relevant to drivers. It is all about building, measuring, and learning. Get your product out, measure how it is used, and learn and improve through customer feedback.

How customer feedback can improve your digital services and build stronger brand loyalty

When it comes to creating and improving digital services for connected cars, it is hard to overstate the importance of customer feedback. Connected cars and their digital services create a short feedback loop that can provide you with new insights quicker and easier than ever before. You can measure how customers actually use your services, and receive their responses to them through an app or dashboard function, for example.

This, in turn, allows you to quickly address issues and make necessary improvements – and tell your customers that you have done so. This means that your digital services help you to form stronger bonds with your customers, as well. Historically, drivers and car makers have never had this kind of direct interaction. Your digital services can create and maintain this new relationship, provide you with more knowledge of your customers, and make you understand them better as a result.

By quickly learning about their needs and opinions, and responding to them accordingly, you show your customers that their input is valuable to you. Moreover, it can help prevent discontent from forming and spreading. There will inevitably be some criticism and indignation from dissatisfied customers. Through your short, active feedback loop, however, you are able to take on that criticism and improve from it. If you do it well, that could lead to positive word-of-mouth, and increase your customers’ loyalty to your brand.

How to build better digital services for your connected cars and your customers

Do you have the organization and the infrastructure to create state-of-the-art connected car services?

Getting all of this to work can be a challenge, for several reasons:

Technology
Collecting data about connected cars and their services is a complex operation in itself. The data collection needs to be secure, accurate, and on time.

Organization
Once collected, the data needs to be handled properly and analyzed thoroughly. Doing so requires a multifaceted organization that can distill as much value out of this data as possible; for your business as well as your customers.

Privacy
Drivers need to be informed about your data collection – which kind of data you collect, and why.

The more insights you get from your customers and the car data you collect, the better your services will be. If you do not know how to utilize the data, you will not be able to build great digital services, nor earn significant revenue from them.

Your connected car data should create business value throughout your organization

In order to successfully monetize your connected car data, you need to involve as much of your organization as possible. Your data and digital services must not belong to any single department. Rather, it should permeate your organization, and be available to all stakeholders through dashboards and reports, for example.

This way, different departments and agencies within your organization are able to learn and improve from the data, and contribute to your products and solutions. This creates fertile ground for a variety of useful services, and collaborations that will make new and existing services even better. Many car makers, and their various departments, are still surprisingly unaware of their customers’ digital habits and expectations. That is an enormous liability going forward, and in preparing for the mobility of the future.

Some examples of who you should include in the process, and why:

Product Planning
Which connected car services and features do your customers use? Why, when and by whom are they used? Conversely, which are not used? Should these services or features be removed, or improved in order to become more widely used and thus earn more revenue?

Sales
Connected car data provides a lot of insight into your customers, their preferences and needs, and – crucially – what they are willing to pay for. The business potential is simply enormous, if you are able to reach insights from your data and turn them into revenue streams.

Research & Development
When your R&D team receives concrete feedback about the digital services they have built, that will improve those services and facilitate the building of new ones too. Even services that may not work as intended can still be important stepping-stones. Naturally, it is very satisfying and exciting to see your connected car services work as they should, and that they are widely used and appreciated among drivers.

How to build better digital services for your connected cars and your customers

Your connected car services should last – and earn revenue for your company – for a long time

In the automotive industry, there is always a lot of focus on the next big thing. That can certainly be the case for digital services as well. But your connected car services will be used for a long time, and so they need to be built to last; last, and constantly improve. If you do, they will remain relevant and popular.

Our experience at WirelessCar is that today’s car makers differ greatly in terms of their preparedness in this field. Some are impressively forward-looking, others still have a distance to go. We are eager to share our expertise, and to continue to do what we have been doing for over twenty years: ensuring excellent business value from your connected car data. It is our experience that car makers increasingly acknowledge the value that connected car data can provide. That certainly goes for the importance of feedback as well, and its role in earning revenue and forging stronger customer relations.

Contact me at martin.lundh@wirelesscar.com if you have any questions about our work in this field. Make sure to read more about WirelessCar’s collaborations and partnerships, and how we work. You can also find plenty of other, interesting articles here on our WirelessCar blog, including the two other entries in this series: What are some of the greatest connected car software challenges and opportunities for car makers and How can car makers become successful creators and providers of digital services for connected cars?