Luxury car brand Bentley Motors doesn’t have the pandemic story you might predict. The 101-year-old company was set to enter a record breaking year of sales before March of this year. But when the pandemic hit, demand plummeted as they were forced to shut down a key production facility. But now, Bentley reports order intakes that are 20% and 15% “above normal” in China and the U.S. respectively.
The company credits its deep connection with its customers for much of this resilience. They prioritized creating a seamless experience for customers online, while also personalizing interactions.
But even as sales boomed this year, Bentley knew it had to innovate the experience of purchasing cars to fit behind 2020’s ubiquitous screen. Bentley Motors prides itself on a high-touch customer journey and it needed a digital experience to continue to deliver its luxury services.
“We want to make sure there’s a consistent journey and piece it all together, be it digitally or physically, into a very consistent customer experience,” said Robert Savin, chief digital officer at Bentley Motors.
Here’s how Bentley Motors made it happen.
Diverse teams lead to new ways of working
Like many global brands, Bentley Motors realized delivering a high-touch service through a digital lens would require a shift to agile and tech-savvy operations. It also meant leadership needed to equip their workforce with new ways to collaborate and the skill sets to provide customers with the personalized experiences they want.
To accomplish these goals, Bentley Motors’ leadership recruited a team from diverse backgrounds, a range of skills, experiences, and talents into its business to spearhead the new direction. “Following a pandemic that accelerated so much change, we realized we needed the right skills,” said Astrid Fontaine, Ph.D., board member, People, Digitization & IT at Bentley Motors. “We need the right people, we need a team as diverse as possible to help us solve problems.”
Its recruits — “digital apprentices,” as they’re coined — played a vital part in creating apps and processes that enabled Bentley Motors to ensure a safe return to work and maintain its close relationships with evolving customers. As a testament to its renewed devotion to diversity, Bentley now proudly employs a team from 52 nationalities and is active in support of all diversity and inclusion.
These digital apprentices have made headway in a year when agile customer-focused brands are the ones who have seen success. Because of their recommendations, Bentley Motors’ brand advisor team (customer service and sales reps) can now view customers on a single dashboard for faster response times in managing sales and customer service queries. With this increased visibility across silos, Bentley Motors can quickly analyze its real-time data, enabling teams to make fast decisions to best support customers. With a clear view of customer data and simplified extraction, Bentley Motors’ teams, whether they’re brand advisors, in marketing, or sales, can examine multiple data sources automatically, driving real-time decision-making around the customer and their needs.
New practices increase digital experiences for customers
To translate their personalized engagement for an online audience, Bentley Motors creates a single 360-degree view of each customer to arm teams with consistent data. This transition to a new digital way of operating, entailed leveraging industry expertise, and technical guidance to redefine customer interactions and deepen relationships. For example, updated vehicle customer records now entailed purchasing interests, vehicles owned, previous inquiries, lead source, and so on. The team is also piloting live chat features to provide a way for customers to connect with Bentley Motors’ expert craftsmen in real time. Creating a shared view of customer interactions makes it possible to continue servicing customers by tailoring interactions to their unique needs.
Bentley Motors’ sales teams also witnessed improvements. Whereas before they manually processed web and social media leads, Bentley Motors now has a lead management process to streamline and automate sales for ultimate efficiency and flow. With optimized web forms, web-to-lead processes, and built-in intelligence (like lead scoring and next best action), brand advisors can immediately act on leads, forming relationships or increasing closeness when prospects are most engaged. Since the brand has always prided itself on its close relationship with its affluent clientele, the increased attention from the brand advisor team allowed those with resources to easily plan upgrades and make new purchases.
Connected data accelerates business growth
Increasing the digital experience of customers is a key theme in everything that Bentley Motors is focused on.
Bentley Motors’ revamped digital experience is a crucial component of its century-long goal to become the global leader of sustainable luxury mobility. With the ability to connect data for increased clarity across the business, Bentley Motors can accelerate worldwide business growth and personalized customer engagement to deliver a new generation of luxury services.
See more of Bentley Motors’ story on accelerating growth by connecting customer data at Dreamforce.