Volkswagen in Malaysia: Customers top priority

OUT of the 10.7 million cars the multi-make Volkswagen Group sold last year, 6.23 million were Volkswagen vehicles – an increase of 4.2% from 2016. Those figures keep the German giant as the world’s largest automaker. Here in Malaysia, Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has only been in operation for about a year-and-a-half and already the market has seen (and is still seeing) numerous activations and positive changes by the company to improve and strengthen the Volkswagen brand. In just a year of VPCM management, its relationship with its dealers is stronger than ever, it has the support of owners clubs, the sales figures are healthier – with only one major product launch (the Tiguan last year) and it delivered 6,536 units of cars (94.5% were CKD models). All that played a major part in the company achieving a commendable 8.1% growth last year, recording a 1.3% market share as of Dec 31. If you are currently in the market for a European car, being a VW owner should be at the top of your list!

‘Customer satisfaction remains our priority’

From a commendable 10th in 2016, Volkswagen’s ranking in the JD Power Customer Service Index (CSI) rose to an impressive fifth last year. The company attributed the major leap to customer experience improvement initiatives to constant evaluation of sales and aftersales core process, monitoring of dealer network performance via online platforms and performance improvement via coaching, training and dealer incentives.

VPCM’s improvements in aftersales are mainly due to attractive aftersales campaigns, transparency (which include displaying online its service pricing, among others), customer informing and engagement, dealer staff engagement and training in cooperation with technical colleges and on-site dealer support.

While there is a steady increase in improved customer workshop experience throughout 2017, there are also positive and significant decreases, primarily in the numbers of repeat repairs, mechatronic- and clutch-related matters.

In prioritising customer satisfaction, VPCM reminds the public that it is a “customer-centric organisation”, bolstered by five main promises to further boost its attractive five-year manufacturer’s warranty on its vehicles:

- A five-working-day claims processing time.
- Warranty experts from VW AG for dealer coaching.
- Increased warranty headcount for better dealer support.
- Warranty claims checking to ensure repair quality.
- Monthly Warranty Bulletin on current warranty issues and best practices.

Coming: VW Regional Aftersales Centre, Tanjung Pelepas

Soon, Malaysia will be the new hub for aftersales logistics in the Asia Pacific region, thanks to the centre in Tanjung Pelepas, Johor Baru. This will mean faster supply of genuine Volkswagen parts to customers in Malaysia and 27 other markets in South East Asia. Even better for the Malaysian market, directly-connected dealerships in Malaysia will receive two deliveries per day.

Between those parts and the customers’ cars are VPCM’s and its dealers’ sales, technical and non-technical personnel, who are now trained at the Volkswagen Automotive Academy in Glenmarie, Shah Alam, which was officially launched in August last year. VPCM requires all dealers to send their technical and non-technical sales, aftersales employees for training, where VPCM and the dealers share the cost. Established with the mission to achieve excellent standards of quality education and create technical manpower of global standards, the academy is a testament to VPCM’s commitment to further enhance, grow and nurture local talent and dealers.

Having the academy in place is one of the major steps VPCM is taking to uphold its philosophy to provide value-added, quality services to customers. It should be noted that prior to the academy being set-up, Volkswagen has always conducted trainings for its staff, dealers and their technical and non-technical staff, but they were held at other places.

Aftersales in 2018: Campaigns, promotions, customer & dealer engagement

VPCM’s announcement to kick off 2018 – three-year free maintenance (or 45,000km, whichever comes first) for all Volkswagens registered from Jan 1 – makes owning Volkswagen a more-appealing idea. Also, the company has more to offer; for this year its aftersales team is concentrating on two major things: customer experience emphasis and on-going campaigns and promotions. The latter, as of now, comprise safety-related initiatives such as pre-Chinese New Year complimentary 20-point safety check, limited-edition ang pow and free exclusive VW merchandise. With Malaysia being blessed with an amazing variety of festive seasons, Volkswagen car owners can expect more similar campaigns and promotions throughout the year!

The aftersales customer engagement key activities and their objectives will include:

- Core service process coaching: To improve dealer processes with VPCM’s customers.
- Dedicated customer care department: To address and handle customer enquiries more efficiently and quickly.
- Soft skills training for VPCM and dealer staff: To sensitise Volkswagen network staff on customer needs and requirements and to improve communication with customers.
- Battery programme: To reduce waiting times with on-site battery replacement.
- Aftersales promotional campaigns: To offer attractive prices and packages to VPCM’s customers.
- Direct social media engagement: To debunk myths circulating among customers, and directing them to the right channel for enquiries.
- Technology tour/Volkswagen Fest: To inform customers and the Volkswagen network on product improvements (gearbox, clutch and mechatronic) as well as solutions to past challenges.