'I know that in the past we may have had problems in terms of quality and what have you... It's very, very important' – CEO
Citroen says that it needs to get its quality and customer service right before it pushes for a big relaunch in Australia during the first half of 2019.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the Paris motor show this week, global CEO for Citroen, Linda Jackson, said that regardless of how good its upcoming vehicles may be, unless the brand can get its quality, after sales and general customer experience right in Australia, it will ultimately fail.
“I know that in the past we may have had problems in terms of quality and what have you, you have to be honest with yourself. We need to make sure that when you launch a vehicle we have the best possibility to be able to prove that we have a quality vehicle and quality service,” Jackson said.
According to Jackson, the addition of the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross (below) will make the brand more relevant in the SUV-loving Australian market, but even with more SUVs headed down under, the customer experience has to be the key focus.
“First of all, we need to have the right vehicles that are relevant for the Australian market… the other thing that we are really working on that is important for us, is to increase the awareness of the Citroen – also make sure we increase the quality of the product and the service – we are working on it, [it’s] very, very important," Jackson continued.
"We are working on that when we launch the vehicle its done in the best possible way and the vehicles are the best quality and we have the after sales services to support that.”
Asked by CarAdvice for some examples of what the brand has done to improve the quality and customer service experience, Jackson mentioned the company’s new TripAdvisor-style review system that allows customers to rate dealers and their experience, helping bring transparency and advocacy to the car buying experience.
“We have standards for how you hand the vehicles over, how you deal with the customer. When you go into a dealership, we have a customer journey, we know the way customers want to go. We teach our salesmen how to follow the customer journey," she said.
“At the same time we also make sure that our customers can complain about us if that happens, or share a good opinion… [with] Citroen Advisor, [we are the] only manufacturer that has [this]. It’s a TripAdvisor for Citroen, you can express your opinion in real time about the experience you had, buying a product, service, salesmen. Advocacy is the biggest thing these days.”
With the app rolling out across Europe, the idea is that customers can leave a positive or negative review about every aspect of their interaction with Citroen, which then not only goes back to the dealer but also Citroen HQ, where it will be dealt with at a higher level.
“We know that nobody is perfect, no manufacturer is perfect, we all make mistakes, we are human, but if we make a mistake and we can correct it and satisfy our customers that’s the most important thing, it’s not rocket science... it's about treating the customer how you would like to be treated yourself.”
The launch of the Citroen Advisor service in Australia is still to be confirmed, but it’s more than likely coming Down Under in due course. It will be interesting to see how it will work, considering Citroen dealers will be joined up with Peugeot going forward.
“That’s the piece of work that is being planned and being done in Australia, which we need to address and get quality right the first time. We can have the most fantastic car but if I don’t have the right quality and customer experience, I am dead,” Jackson added.