Holden has taken a new step in its bid to build and maintain customer loyalty, launching a new Customer Council and VIP Experience program this week.
Dubbed “the only program of its kind” in the Australian automotive landscape, the inaugural Customer Council saw ten Holden owners assemble in Melbourne to meet with brand executives.
Holden’s boss of Aftersales, Michael Filazzola, said that the program, which also included a tour of Holden’s design centre and Lang Lang proving ground, is intended to both thank customers and gain crucial feedback as the company is transformed into a full-import brand over the coming years.
“As part of the Customer Council, we held a detailed question and answer session where we had an honest and detailed discussion about our products, customer service and plans for the future,” Mr Filazzola said.
“The feedback we received is invaluable as we continue to strengthen our customer experience and product portfolio. This is just the first of many Customer Councils to come.”
Mr Filazzola said that Holden aims to become Australia’s “most customer-focussed and customer-centric” brand.
“[...] while we still have work to do, we are seeing great results. For example, customer satisfaction on servicing has increased 18 percent in the past year alone based on our internal surveys,” he said.
The launch of this Customer Council and VIP Experience program follows a declaration from the now former Holden boss Gerry Dorizas that Holden had set its sights on retaking Australia’s number one sales position from Toyota by 2020. Mr Dorizas resigned from General Motors last month.
Mr Filazzola is right to acknowledge the work that lies ahead, with Holden’s year-to-date sales (end of October) showing a 2.1 percent drop in sales, despite a strong showing in September.
Holden remains Australia’s second best-selling brand in 2014 with 90,491 sales year-to-date, but it is placed well behind Toyota, which boasts a tally of 168,491 (down 4.8 percent) so far this year.
Holden was also outsold in October by Hyundai (7562 to 8401). With a year-to-date improvement of 3.7 percent, Hyundai is just 6737 sales off snatching second place from Holden this year.
Holden’s seemingly ambitious ‘number one in 2020’ goal is not out of reach, however, with the carmaker recently announcing plans to add more of German stablemate Opel’s existing and upcoming models to its local line-up over the coming years.
Whether the addition of the more ‘premium’ brand’s offerings to the Holden range will be enough to help it steal back Australia’s sales crown, however, remains to be seen.
With Toyota also set to close to its Australian manufacturing operations in the coming years, that 2020 crown could be anybody’s - perhaps even Hyundai’s.