Mercedes-Benz Korea official dealer Han Sung Motor plans to continue investment to meet customer expectations and to accelerate the digital customer journey in the post-COVID-19 era, the CEO said in an interview with The Korea Herald.
“Korea is now the fifth-biggest market for Mercedes-Benz in the world,” said Han Sung Motor’s CEO Ulf Ausprung in its Seoul headquarters where luxury Cheongdam showroom is located.
“There was an immense development in the Korean car market in terms of the market size, aftersales and used cars,” he said, looking back on the past nine years.
Ausprung joined Han Sung Motor in 2011 after taking various sales and marketing positions across Europe and China for Mercedes-Benz and Daimler AG. He has also been an adjunct professor at Yonsei University in Korea since 2018.
“Over the nine years, we have pretty strongly responded to the (fast growing) market needs in terms of network to give convenience to customers,” the CEO said.
“We have now 17 showrooms, 22 service centers and seven used car operations. Back in 2011, in showrooms we had probably half of that, aftersales one-third of it and we had only one used car operation.”
Han Sung has created many jobs along the way. The number of the firm’s employees increased from 800 in 2011 to around 2,400 now, with 70 to 80 percent of them being in their 20s and 30s.
In celebration of its 35th anniversary, Han Sung Motor has presented this week a customer-centric business strategy, N.E.X.T. which stands for New generation, Engagement, Experience and Trust.
It includes continuous customer-centric communication to add value for future generations; digitalization of sales, aftersales and used car services; providing differentiated customer experiences; and offering new services that respond to customers’ needs.
“It’s nice to have the past and heritage but what is important is the future and (to respond to) how the customer will change,” he said, adding, “The most importance is a digital customer journey.”
Han Sung Motor plans to strengthen the digitalization of its services to provide substantial benefits for entire customer journey, he said.
“Our Cheongdam showroom has been declared and operating as the world’s first Mercedes-Benz digital showroom, and we are continuing to develop and operate the digital mobile showroom Digital Cube.”
Han Sung Digital Cube is a type of a pop-up store where visitors can experience the mobility vision of the future city through diverse experiences, including virtual reality and driving games, alongside the exhibitions of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
The company has been digitalizing customer communication through real-time communication channels and chatbots, he said.
The MBK dealer also works with tech firms to provide better digital customer services.
“We have built an environment for digital communication with customers through Kakao, which is most familiar and convenient to customers,” the CEO said.
“Through this, customized information is delivered through a total of 37 touch points, including services, test drives, regular checkups, repurchase, and trade-ins throughout the customer’s car life cycle.”
Han Sung also partners with Microsoft to use its work solution Dynamic 365 to develop customer data analysis and customer response strategy through integrated customer information of new cars, service and used cars.
Digitalization is also applied to its aftersales services, especially its Yongdap Service Center, the country’s first official Mercedes-Benz service center.
Because customers today are increasingly “less and less patient,” the center now provides service to customers through the “fast track” system.
“The utmost advantage of Yongdap service center is that it can offer fast services,” he said.
“The Yongdap service center made it possible for customers to visit the center just a day after the service reservation. The fast track system enables delivering regular inspections and simple consumables replacement vehicles on the same day.”
Ausprung added that the service center provides warehousing service for 24 hours and 365 days for accident repair customers.
“It operates a dedicated service team for accident repair, allowing regular support (services), including late-night hours and weekends,” he said.
The center also provides its pick-up and delivery service for free, without the customer’s direct visit to the service center.
“We will further strengthen continuous communication with future generations and accelerate the provision of customer-oriented digitalized services,” he said.
“With optimistic prospects about the domestic market, we will continue to strongly invest for the customer satisfaction and also in employees as they are the core assets of Han Sung Motor.”
By Shin Ji-hye (firstname.lastname@example.org