This is the third in the five-post series, “How to Drive Delight the Mercedes-Benz Way.”
In my book, Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way, I detail how Mercedes-Benz leaders transformed their customer experience through a clearly defined set of strategic objectives. One of the target areas pursued by these leaders was to ensure every employee at every dealership was trained and equipped to drive customer delight.
Mercedes-Benz approached this training on two levels – an initial orientation and a follow-up immersive training experience. Before developing any training, Mercedes-Benz leaders interviewed and surveyed all stakeholder groups, including 3,000 employees in Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Those inputs served to position the orientation training curriculum. After developing the orientation course, 20 trainers delivered customer experience content to 11,000 people across 24 cities and 355 dealerships within 90 days.
Subsequently, my team worked with Mercedes-Benz leaders to develop an immersive customer experience training program which Mercedes-Benz CEO, Steve Cannon, announced to dealers this way:
“Over two days your teams will be immersed in our brand to a level we’ve never done before. They will tour the factory, drive our cars, and learn about the greatest automotive brand in the world. Winning people over is always about hearts and minds and we will be going after both. I consider this program an absolute foundation for our success. The Brand Immersion Program will also inculcate existing and future staff members on Mercedes-Benz values and customer experience standards.”
In addition to rich experiential offerings, the immersive training curriculum included:
- Understanding Extraordinary – An interactive educational experience that explored Mercedes-Benz’s transformational journey from vehicle-centricity to customer-centricity.
- Listening and Empathizing – Education on how to effectively listen for understanding and emotionally empathize with customers.
- Adding Value and Delighting – Exposure to tools to provide unique human value and delight customers by exceeding expectations.
The Mercedes-Benz Brand Immersion Experience represented, on a rather grand scale, a desire to foster a strong bond with dealership employees while inspiring them to deliver the Mercedes-Benz desired customer outcome – delight. As such, Brand Immersion played a significant role in developing experience skills and alignment across dealerships.
Given the Mercedes-Benz approach to customer experience training, here are this week’s challenge questions for your consideration:
- Before developing training programs, do you routinely seek input from your trainees regarding content opportunities?
- How do you roll out and sustain customer experience training?
- How do your combine didactic customer experience training with immersive brand experiences?