On this episode, we’re talking about the future of mobility with four experts in the space: Greg Lindsay, Futurist, Author and Urban Tech Fellow at Cornell Tech Jacobs Institute, Anne Junge, Head of Customer Transformation Germany at frog, Sean Rhodes, Executive Creative Director North America at frog, and Dr. Philipp Haaf, Global Head of Smart Mobility Connect at Capgemini Invent. To dig in even more about mobility, download the new frog report ‘The Road Ahead.’
Design Mind frogcast
Episode 30: The Road Ahead
Guests: Mobility experts from frog, Capgemini Invent and Cornell Tech Jacobs Institute
[00:09] Elizabeth Wood: Welcome to the Design Mind frogcast. Each episode, we go behind the scenes to meet the people designing what’s next in the world of products, services and experiences, both here at frog and far, far outside the pond. I’m Elizabeth Wood.
[00:24] Elizabeth Wood: Today on our show, we’re talking about the future of mobility. To tackle this topic, we’re joined by four experts in the space: Greg Lindsay, Futurist, Author and Urban Tech Fellow at Cornell Tech Jacobs Institute, Anne Junge, Head of Customer Transformation Germany at frog, Sean Rhodes, Executive Creative Director North America at frog, and Dr. Philipp Haaf, Global Head of Smart Mobility Connect at Capgemini Invent. To dig in even more about mobility, you’ll definitely want to check today’s show notes for a link to download the new frog report ‘The Road Ahead.’ But first, let’s jump in.
[01:00] Anne Junge: The way we use cars is changing. The expectation towards mobility is changing. It’s about making a choice.
[01:08] Greg Lindsay: We’re on the cusp of unbundling the vehicle and having this Cambrian explosion of form factors that range from personal electric vehicles down to micro mobility.
[01:18] Sean Rhodes: When we start to think about the car, not as something to get you from point A to point B anymore, but it is a connected node on a network amongst many other vehicles, it’s moving from products to platforms.
[01:33] Philipp Haaf: This is a great chance in the upcoming years for the automotive industry if they do it right.
[01:38] Elizabeth Wood: A recurring theme in conversations on the future of mobility is the way it shapes the world around us. Our first guest, Greg Lindsay, Urban Tech Fellow at Cornell Tech Jacobs Institute, has spent a lot of his career exploring the intersection of mobility, technology, housing and city infrastructure. Currently, he’s leading an initiative called The Metaverse Metropolis, all about the impact of augmented reality at the scale of urban life. Here’s Greg now.
[02:06] Greg Lindsay: I guess the theme for me with urban mobility is what makes a good city or makes a functioning city? There’s a great description by Luis Bettencourt, who’s a physicist by training, who’s now at the Mansueto Institute in Chicago, that a city is kind of like a star. It’s like a giant reactor where you compress people in space and time, and you get fusion. Instead of light and heat, like a sun, you get ideas and innovation and wages and people and better living. Transportation is the key to that compression, right? Mobility is our ability to compress ever greater numbers of people in space and time. That’s why I love the New York City Subway. It’s probably the greatest machine in the United States for compressing people. It’s, to me, the keystone urban system that makes everything else possible. Given what we’ve seen in America for the last 75 years, the automobile is its own sort of miraculous machine in terms of you can live and work anywhere in a metro area.
[03:00] Elizabeth Wood: For many workers in a post-pandemic world, remote and hybrid work life has changed the daily grind of rush hour commuting forever. Meanwhile, these shifting work paradigms are introducing different ways of living, and entirely new ways of thinking about the vehicles we need to get around.
[03:16] Greg Lindsay: There’s this whole debate about whether new mobility technologies are centripetal or centrifugal? Like, do they work best close together, where you can increase access and decrease time because you’re just covering less geography? Or are they centrifugal, where it’s about pushing people out to the periphery? We used to have this debate about autonomous vehicles if and when they ever come, but you can see this in all these other services. On the centripetal side, micro mobility is the big one at various scales and forms of hyper quick delivery to some degree as well. I mean, obviously, my heart’s with centripetal, but the pandemic has really underscored how much centrifugal energy went into this, how many people have moved to big Sun Belt metros, and now it’s about trying to deliver those those services to them.
[03:55] Greg Lindsay: I’m starting to imagine the dispersal that becomes possible with algorithmically guided or autonomous buses or other low-cost services that allow you overnight travel. And various AV companies have done this as well. I think Volvo imagines a sleeper AV. So, those are all part of that large-scale centrifugal forces that would propel you way outside cities, which perhaps in a hybrid work future starts to happen. I do generally think, by the way, that many of America’s problems will be solved by really good high-speed bus service. It’s the obvious solution that we still haven’t really tried.
[04:25] Elizabeth Wood: Historically, having a car has meant driving it to where you want to go and parking it somewhere until you need it again. Today, businesses are experimenting with new vehicles and related services built around new forms of convenience.
[04:39] Greg Lindsay: For the last 80 years, we’ve had the car and trucks and things like this, and I definitely think we’re on the cusp of unbundling the vehicle and having this Cambrian explosion of form factors that range from personal electric vehicles down to micro mobility, and then scales up from there to autonomous trucking for various distances and everything in between.
[04:58] Greg Lindsay: I am curious about autonomous delivery robots, and what scales do those work for other forms of delivering services? Just an example, there’s a new robotic pizza startup called Stellar Works, from former SpaceX engineers. It’s a truck that has pizza ovens in it, and it drives to a place where people gather around. I guess I bring this up because if I had to guess a dominant urban form post-pandemic, or where these contradictions come to play, it’s going to be in the sort of next generation of these new walkable enclaves out in the exurbs of major American metros, like, McKinney, Texas and Frisco and Alpharetta, Georgia, and some of these other places where people want to go to a place where they can walk and be close together, but they also want to drive home and that’s very American. So we’ll see how those play out. Micro mobility on the ground when you’re in there, and then maybe it’s a car that you’re driving home and then those services delivered to you.
[05:48] Greg Lindsay: We’ve seen pandemic pressure cause a lot of this to happen. We went from delivery robots to autonomous stores. Tortoise, for example, the startup that maybe autonomous scooter, which is perhaps nearest and dearest to my heart. I love the idea of walking into a building, something’s waiting for me, I ride, it drives itself away. To me, that feels like magic. But they also now have little robots where you can tap a credit card and purchase things. And that will start to scale in complexity in all sorts of ways.
[06:13] Elizabeth Wood: Another major conversation in the future of mobility involves the potential rollout of autonomous vehicles. Greg shares why there’s reason to think AVs are about a lot more than self-driving cars.
[06:25] Greg Lindsay: It feels like we’ve entered autonomy winter indices. A figure like Anthony Levandowski, you know, having shifted completely out of autonomous passenger vehicles to just doing autonomous heavy duty construction equipment, which I think is smart. If I had a start up, which I definitely do not, I would be focusing on the lowest of the lowest hanging fruit, which would be those extreme edge case industrial uses. Which is also why I think autonomous delivery, with the cheapest manner possible, is probably a better bet than anything carrying passengers.
[06:52] Greg Lindsay: I like to say we’ll have autonomous everything before we’ll have autonomous vehicles. The self-driving car is the horseless carriage of autonomy. It’s the carried over use case. It’s really gonna be about low-cost urban robotics fulfilling a lot of functions. We already see there’s robot guards outside various office buildings. We can start to see other forms of urban robotics come into play well before we entrust our loved ones inside of an autonomous vehicle. I guess what I would say is it comes back to that urban mobility is a public good. It again underscores all models of real estate and what makes real estate valuable, and it underscores how cities function.
[07:28] Elizabeth Wood: Changing ideas around vehicles also means changing the ways we purchase them. To keep up with customer expectations, traditional dealerships are investing in ways to make purchasing a vehicle a more meaningful, tech-enabled experience.
[07:41] Greg Lindsay: I remember several years ago, I was interviewing Scott Keogh, who was then running Audi of America and Volkswagen of America. And now he’s left to run their break-off business, their new electric SUV. I remember talking to Scott about this on stage for Fast Company. And when I was talking about data and subscription models, he admitted that we’re a strange business. We sell you an asset for like, $80,000. You drive away. We never hear from you again. Crazy in today’s age.
[08:06] Greg Lindsay: I think I’m very interested, having spoken to those dealers, about the long-term transformation of dealerships into white-glove service, and handling that as a customer facing interface or however they evolve, versus, sales dealerships and handling repairs. Given the longer term, lower TCO of these kinds of vehicles, it’s a very different proposition. So it’ll be very interesting to see. We’ve seen Ford, and also Buick, and some of the GM brands, telling their dealerships point blank,”Spend millions of dollars on upgrades, on charging, or you’re done.” Like that kind of rebellion against the dealership network is very interesting because they realize they need to have that experience.
[08:41] Elizabeth Wood: Of course, the reach of mobility businesses goes much further than the automotive space. Greg shares how industry disruption is already coming from unlikely places.
[08:50] Greg Lindsay: The most fascinating mobility companies in the world have got to be the Asian super apps, which have taken everything we know of in North America, like Uber and Lyft, and just turbocharged it, right? So studying, like, Gojek up close out of Indonesia, which is now part of GoTo, which really merged with Tokopedia. And it’s fascinating that, basically, mobility apps became the gateway drug to new forms of FinTech in unbanked societies. If you don’t have banking, you will find yourself using a ride-hailing app, and then getting yourself a digital wallet to use that app. And then suddenly, you’re now doing e-commerce. And so I think what they’re doing is utterly fascinating. And yeah, it has to do with the fact that they don’t have the same kind of regulated financial sector, at least not the way we know it in North America. What those companies have done is stupendous in the sense of use that as the tip of the spear, and then penetrate it, and then hang all sorts of services around it.
[09:42] Greg Lindsay: I can’t say too much about it because it was off the record, but I did have a conversation with a founder of a startup who was trying to apply that model elsewhere. And a couple of things stood out. This is sort of what Uber did. I mean, to lend people vehicles, electric motorcycles, or trikes, they had to build their own proprietary credit scores. So using FinTech to build private credit scores, which is good and bad, I hope that model is transparent to understand how that works. But also, designing their own mapping layer, so they could deliver it very cost affordably more than API calls to Google and others. And it’s fascinating how they’ve had to build this entire software stack, that once again, they would deploy mobility into new markets, capture that wallet. And then once you have that, you have everything.
[10:19] Greg Lindsay: In the end it’s about financialization. We’ve seen this in the US as well. Uber debit cards for their drivers, offering also the the financing of vehicles, which again, very double-edged sword, but you know, they were offering financial services for their drivers. Then, the Uber credit card, and its rewards program with dining was instrumental in building up the UberEATS side of the business and leading Uber into the ghost kitchens thing where they were using geographic data of meal purchases to understand opportunities of where they could convince restaurant owners to launch new brands on their platform and expand the depth of the platform, which saved them as a company during the pandemic. There’s a saying in FinTech, I guess. You know, either die a consumer goods and services company, or you live long enough to be in financial services. And I think mobility companies will all go that route.
[11:00] Elizabeth Wood: Next up, you’re going to hear from Sean Rhodes, Executive Creative Director in frog’s Brooklyn studio–and a previous guest of our show in an episode called “Creating Value in the Attention Economy.” For Sean, determining what lies ahead in the future of mobility will first require truly understanding what people want their vehicles to do. Here’s Sean now.
[11:21] Sean Rhodes: There’s this theory called “jobs to be done” and it was created by this guy, Clayton Christensen, who was at Harvard Business. The classic example is nobody wants a half-inch drill bit–they want a half-inch hole. So they hire the drill to do the job of getting them a half- inch hole. The whole theory is if you can more deeply understand the motivation and why a consumer wants to hire your brand or your product then you can better serve it. In transportation, right, it was the horse that was being hired to get you around. Then it was the train. Then it was the car.
[11:58] Sean Rhodes: Oftentimes when we’re kind of in a moment of technology change or cultural change, I think the lens of jobs to be done is really useful because the technology changes but the underlying job doesn’t. The reasons why we hire vehicles are to get us or things from point A to point B, but inside the vehicle we have a stereo, we’ve got headrests with entertainment in them, we’ve got massaging seats—we have all these other things in the vehicle that we’ve we’ve put in there.
[12:30] Sean Rhodes: Five or six years ago, a big stat was the reason why someone would buy one car over the other is how it would integrate with their iPod or their smartphone. So it kind of turns that on its ear of like, yeah, we’re in a car to get from point A to point B, but what’s driving our preference, what’s driving our decisions is that we’re hiring or buying that car for a totally different set of reasons.
[12:52] Elizabeth Wood: During our conversation, Sean shared how intertwined the worlds of mobility and commerce can be.
[12:59] Sean Rhodes: One of my favorite quotes is Carl Sagan who said, “Mass automobile ownership was foreseeable, but what wasn’t was Walmart.” And I think the implication is as Americans were starting to be able to buy vehicles and major highways were being created to get people in and out of cities, it gave birth to a different type of commerce, which led to Walmart, big box stores, things like that. This dramatically reshaped the context of suburban living. And I think where we’re at now with connected vehicles is analogous.
[13:38] Sean Rhodes: I think we’re getting to a similar point with software, where software has been in pockets of our lives for a long time, but increasingly getting more and more integrated into all facets of the world. That’s this idea of software eating the world that’s getting into absolutely everything. It’s similar to the automobile in the 1950s, where it’s becoming structurally embedded in society.
[14:00] Sean Rhodes: Modern, connected vehicles have 300 sensors on them of all different types and shapes. If you think about when you’re browsing on the web or on your smartphone, all of the data points that you are dropping and are getting picked up in those travels, imagine similar data being collected and distributed from a connected vehicle driving through a city. When we start to think about future mobility businesses, those are some of the things that are really exciting is how that data will be collected, anonymized and then monetized.
[14:37] Elizabeth Wood: To compete, automotive OEMs are having to adapt to the diverse ways consumers are looking to navigate this new world of mobility.
[14:45] Sean Rhodes: I think that typically what many OEMs have done in terms of customer experience is they’ve made the vehicle, they’ve had a third-party franchisee sell and service the vehicle and manage the majority of the CX. The reason why that model existed is that CX, the customer experience, wasn’t necessarily critical to the OEM success. And I think that’s changing. You look at many of the great automobile businesses that are actually moving to a more vertically integrated model. Polestar, for instance, is a spin off of Volvo, their electronic vehicle business. And they’re hanging their hat on three big things. One is their design-forward business. They really have an incredible product. Their Chief Executive Officer is actually a former car designer and has a very passionate view. So they’re hanging their hats on design. They have a very direct environmental message. And I think they also are creating what they call “spaces” as a reimagining of a retail location to have a more direct relationship with consumer.
[15:56] Sean Rhodes: I think many of the more progressive OEMs are realizing that CX is a critical differentiator in the way that I’m talking about. CX is everything almost outside of the vehicle, outside of driving. It’s your purchase, it’s your servicing, maybe it’s some of the connected services in the vehicle, but really kind of everything that a driver/owner/passenger does that isn’t related to driving.
[16:22] Sean Rhodes: I think that it’s really becoming a critical differentiator in the space. A lot of OEMs, because they have franchises, because they have these relationships, find it hard to effectively deliver great CX that many consumers are expecting today. They are figuring out ways to change that and manage that.
[16:43] Elizabeth Wood: From emerging tech to rising expectations, Sean shares why the entire automotive customer journey is now a testing ground for new ideas and processes.
[16:53] Sean Rhodes: I think mobility companies or anybody playing in the mobility game should be really thinking about there’s a big shift. And I think the shift is, in the old world, vehicles were created in a factory, and then they were sent to a dealer, they were sent to the consumer, or whoever was buying them. It was a product, but it kind of moved in a very linear fashion from production, to manufacturing, into use. I think the future of mobility is going to be really different, I think the organizations that are going to create the most value will be more of a platform business where they are orchestrating amongst a lot of different types of companies, and those that can match the right people and services and products and connections will benefit the most.
[17:45] Elizabeth Wood: We’re going to take a short break. When we return, you’ll hear more from our experts on what’s next in the world of mobility.
[17:53] Courtney Brown: Hi, I’m Courtney Brown, Vice President of Business Development at frog. This year, frog is proud to be the exclusive sponsor of the Design Track at SXSW 2023 in Austin, Texas. Join us to learn more about how designers, developers, artists and creatives are building the world around us with purposeful intent, and what it takes to embrace the power of provocation. See you at SXSW this March 10th-14th.
[18:27] Elizabeth Wood: Now back to our show. Our next guest Anne Junge is Head of Customer Transformation Germany at frog, part of Capgemini Invent. With a focus on automotive, Anne deals with cross-industry topics including customer experience, customer relationship management, direct-to-consumer models and customer loyalty. Here’s Anne now.
[18:47] Anne Junge: Ultimately, the argument for improving CX is pretty simple in my point of view. Better CX makes for happier customers, which in turn leads to improved business performance. The focus should be, in our view, on CX initiatives that impact the customers the most to yield to higher returns. And therefore, for example, greater experiences in car, but also connectivity, and also an ecosystem can help as an accelerator for those experiences with the customer, and then lead to higher profits on the automotive OEM side. It’s worth investing into CX because CX is a great lever in different ways to really enhance the overall experience with the brand or with the automotive manufacturer.
[19:35] Anne Junge: When we look at the automotive industry, more often it’s non-automotive players across different industries that are setting the benchmarks for customer experiences in the automotive industry–pushing for radical change and putting increased pressure on traditional OEMs. The entire customer experience has a significant influence on customer loyalty, which includes product quality, experiences in the purchase process, but also in the usage process when it comes to experience with customer support or after sales. So it’s not only about the product quality itself anymore.
[20:11] Elizabeth Wood: Of course, delivering on experiences is about more than any individual customer interaction. Anne shares why customer experience needs to be a holistic effort.
[20:21] Anne Junge: We see that from different angles, when we talk to different consumers, that there is a demand for seamless experiences and integration in the automotive industry. There is a high demand on personalization and interaction, but also on this emotional connection and satisfaction with the products, with the brand, with the service, that can be set up with the help of a very superior customer experience management.
[20:47] Anne Junge: Most companies do not manage to look at customer experience holistically. Most of the time, we see inadequate organizational structures where CX is only just a part of a specific department and it’s not cross-functional. We see a lack of overarching governance and orchestration of the different initiatives in different departments. So it has to be one direction. There has to be one vision, consideration of customer opinions right from the start. So if we talk about developing a car, there should be the customer voice right at the beginning when conceptualizing a car and not only in the sales and marketing and after sales part. And, to wrap it up, there should be adequate technology infrastructure that allows actually setting up those kinds of experiences that are matching the software and the hardware and everything else that is important also, regarding, for example, building up an ecosystem.
[21:46] Elizabeth Wood: Outside the automotive industry, brand partnerships are a thriving business strategy already. Anne shares why blended mobility ecosystems reflect a premium-first point-of-view.
[21:58] Anne Junge: For example, Nike is collaborating with Louie Vuitton. So there are a couple of exclusive partnerships that are really luring people into the ecosystem of those brands, to really get a little bit of best worlds: being a Nike fan, but also having something that is very exclusive with Vuitton. I think that’s the same with Disney exclusively working with Audi, right, in actually streaming. I think those could be differentiators in an ecosystem providing a couple of those exclusive partnerships, especially to premium customers.
[22:31] Anne Junge: An ecosystem needs to be actively managed and steered. To give you another example outside the automotive industry, for example, in the airline industry. As a customer of an airline, the customer journey includes various touch points with third-party providers, such as during the transport to the airport or at the security checkpoint, which can hardly be influenced by the airline itself. So companies need to be aware of this and therefore focus more on perfecting the aspects of the customer experience they can actually directly influence. So a failure of CX in this journey can result in lost revenue due to low customer satisfaction, increased costs due to poor service, or low employee satisfaction or brand equity. So that means setting up a customer ecosystem needs to be a response, especially for automotive OEMs, to enable an integrated and personalized product and service offering, and thus also superior CX for the customers that are using services, products in the automotive ecosystem.
[23:37] Elizabeth Wood: Creating a strong mobility ecosystem involves building, buying and/or partnering to combine products, services and experiences in dynamic, adaptable and fully customer-centric ways. Anne shares why these are all strategies that leading tech and e-commerce companies know well.
[23:54] Anne Junge: When I said that customer expectations are mostly being shaped outside the automotive industry, I think there are a couple of companies that are setting up new standards as pioneers when it comes to customer experiences. Just to name a few–Apple, for example. I mean, I think Apple is the most used example because they are very strong overall when it comes to product and service portfolio. But there are also the big e-commerce providers–Alibaba, Amazon–that provide a huge e-commerce platform shaping the portfolio for every other e-commerce provider. This is because it combines the data analytics part, it combines the personalization part based on what you’ve bought and where you’re interested in. And then you have examples like Nike or Neo. So it’s a sports example, but also an automotive example with Neo, that really dive deeper into that community approach and really thrive on it because they’re really engaging people onto the platform.
[24:57] Anne Junge: Burberry is a great example when it comes to creating emotion, customer relationship management. And also Spotify. They’re very personalized, I mean, all the playlists that are being set up for you based on your taste. So I think what’s really important here is: what do all those companies have in common that I’ve listed? And those companies clearly put the customer into their focus of acting and thinking. When they make decisions about products and services and experiences itself, they always ask, what is the customer value? Why is it relevant for our customers to buy or to use those kinds of products? And this includes product and service development. This includes interaction with employees, because CX is only as good as your employee experiences. This includes the type of innovation that you choose, and they all make data and customer-centric decisions. So it’s based on customer data. It’s based on product data, and they decide based on what they know about their customers, what the next product or the next services will be. And this is creating a huge lever for great customer experience.
[26:06] Anne Junge: So when looking at customer ecosystems, it’s also a great task of every OEM to really communicate the customer benefit properly. So that means that I as a customer understand what benefits I get actually in moving around in this ecosystem and using different products and services.
[26:26] Anne Junge: I think it’s a two-way street that can be driven. There are a couple of things I think customers are expecting because the way we use cars is changing, the expectations towards mobility is changing. And then on the other hand, there are, as I said, different profit pools that can be tapped into to leverage different potentials.
[26:49] Anne Junge: Mobility is about how we move around, and moving around not only means using the car. It’s about making a choice which mobility solution I want to take in order to get where I want to be. And this is not bound to just using the car, just owning a car, it could also be a sharing thing. And then there are different sharing options, but it also could be using intermodal and multimodal mobility options like taking an e-bike or taking a bike to somewhere then getting a car, which is cost sharing, and then using the train and then maybe also taking the plane. But in this ecosystem, OEMs need to find their position, and they need to decide which things they want to offer besides only providing people with the opportunity to have a car.
[27:38] Elizabeth Wood: Finally, we’re joined by Dr. Philipp Haaf, Global Head of Smart Mobility Connect for Capgemini Invent. As an automotive consultant, Philipp has spent over 13 years deeply focused on digital ecosystems, sales processes and electric mobility. He shares why connected vehicles are changing everything about the ride.
[27:58] Philipp Haaf: Today customer experience is highly connected with digital opportunities. And the digitalization itself is the greatest challenge and also opportunity for the auto industry ever. While the core product of the auto industry is limited when it comes to customer-centricity and individualization–you can individualize your rims or you have the choice between 20 different leathers. However, digitalization brings this to a new level. And if the automotive industry considers ecosystems that give their customers the chance to highly individualize the experience in the car, and the companies that they are collaborating with to enable those ecosystems, the automotive industry has the best platform and base to be successful in the future.
[28:59] Elizabeth Wood: If and when fully autonomous vehicles ever become as common as traditional cars, Philipp shares why connectivity will become even more relevant and mission-critical for automotive innovation.
[29:11] Philipp Haaf: Expectations with regards to autonomous driving were set really, really high by the automotive industry some years ago. However, during the last two to three years, I would say, expectations were lowered a lot because the industry experienced quite some challenges bringing those solutions to the road. It’s about weather conditions. It’s about uncoordinated traffic. For example, while you have sunshine and pretty good road conditions, it’s an easy one, but in times of heavy rain, foggy conditions, snow, it’s quite a challenge. And the top challenge is that it has to work in every situation.
[29:56] Philipp Haaf: The autonomous driving levels we will experience are far away from letting your car drive you to where you want to go. But there are a lot of experiences that are getting much better in the car. It’s less stressful. You do not have to have 100% concentration in every situation. For example, in a traffic jam, already today, there are cars that drive autonomously. and this gives you a lot of freedom on how to use the time spent in the car.
[30:34] Philipp Haaf: The time that is spent today focusing on traffic and driving has the potential to be turned into valuable time or in-car experiences for customers in the future. For example, the time saved by commuters every day might add up globally to mind-blowing amounts of hours. Based on our research, automotive OEMs can tap into new value and revenue pools that potentially generate multibillion revenues per year for additional time people spend on the mobile internet while in the car.
[31:11] Elizabeth Wood: According to research from Capgemini Invent, 75% of consumers expect to buy their next car online. During our conversation, Philipp shared how the COVID-19 pandemic made e-commerce more essential than ever for automotive brands.
[31:26] Philipp Haaf: When it comes to sales processes and customer experiences, the coronavirus was quite a game changer because people are spending more time online, doing their shopping online. And this is the same for the car industry or the automotive industry. That’s why they enabled quite some solutions that are helpful to stay in contact with the customers and display their products. Virtual reality is quite an outstanding opportunity to do so, especially when customers are not willing anymore to spend that much time at the dealership. Or, even when they spend time at the dealership, virtual reality is also a great opportunity to display your products and make the customers experience them. We expect it to be a central part of future customer journeys in the sale process and be an integral part of customer experiences.
[32:24] Philipp Haaf: To sum it up, customer experience eats car performance for breakfast. And this is quite interesting. Based on our studies, 46% of customers would switch to a different OEM if it would deliver better customer experiences. The major change in the automotive industry over the past years is that customer experience, which was already a very prominent topic when it came to sales processes, has much more been transferred now into the in-car experience. And there are possibilities that are given by a car. It’s a secure place. It’s quiet. Normally, you are on your own. It’s very private. And it provides great chances to spend quality time in the car.
[33:17] Elizabeth Wood: Of course, it’s impossible to speak about even the near future of mobility without addressing electric vehicles. While EVs are currently responsible for 10% of all automotive purchases, this number is projected to quadruple by 2030. Philipp shares why this will unlock innovative services and experiences in and around the car.
[33:37] Philipp Haaf: One great example of disruption within the automotive industry is for sure refueling versus charging. The change from refueling an internal combustion engine to charging an EV is still a major challenge for the industry. And from the customer perspective, charging station availability and charging time are of greatest importance, of course. And while the availability of charging stations has already been increased, and to the expansion of the general charging infrastructure, there is still a potential under-supply projected when comparing the uptake of EVs. But overall, charging a car can be much more convenient than refueling it.
[34:24] Philipp Haaf: I would like to give you an example that perfectly showcases what customers really want. Based on the research we did for our latest ‘Charging as a Service‘ study with more than 1800 participants, we found out that more than 70% of EV drivers are willing to wait longer at a charging station till their car’s recharged if they get offered, for example, relevant in-car experiences, like entertainment options, gaming options, options to read the latest news or to work in the car.
[34:59] Elizabeth Wood: More quality time in the vehicle could lead to better quality relationships between customer and brand–so long as automotive companies are able to deliver on the connected infrastructure and personalized interactions required.
[35:12] Philipp Haaf: There are quite some opportunities to deepen relationships with customers. First of all, and that’s where they are all doing quite a good job in the meantime is customer relationship management–to get to know your customer, and to deal with customer data. Because this is the base to offer proper solutions. For example, connectivity solutions in the car. Based on our research, only 43% of drivers are currently satisfied with the connectivity services they are provided in their cars today. And there are big chances for automotive players. Customer loyalty increases up to 17% by improving experiences during the pre-sales phase, the sales and the after-sales phase. So there’s a lot of potential in the traditional automotive sales process.
[36:12] Philipp Haaf: As soon as you switch to absolute and pure customer-centric, each and every decision that is taken improves your mobility ecosystem because then you have an eye on what’s relevant for your customers from getting to A to B, and not to optimize only your own product to provide mobility. And I think this process is ongoing in the industry and will take some more years.
[36:39] Philipp Haaf: Not surprisingly, Apple delivers a primary example of a strong ecosystem that helps to better understand what successful ecosystems for automotive OEMs are about. The number of native apps by Apple are around 40. And the total number of apps available in the Apple App Store are 1.6 million. So the main principle that needs to be adapted by automotive OEMs is that ecosystems are strong because they provide users the choice to select the right service according to their individual needs.
[37:18] Elizabeth Wood: For Philipp, being able to succeed in this new automotive landscape means understanding one thing: Ultimately, the future of mobility is a matter of choice.
[37:27] Philipp Haaf: From my perspective, when it comes to mobility, choice is key. And the automotive industry has to ensure to be a relevant part of customers’ mobility choices today and in the future. This is quite challenging because mobility patterns of customers are very diverse, depending on which area you live on this planet: an urban area, rural area, somewhere in between. And across the globe, cars are an integral part of our everyday lives. At the end, it’s about choice. And I’m absolutely sure that we will see mobility solutions from automotive players that will define the mobility of the future. This is a great chance in the upcoming years for the automotive industry if they do it right.
[38:21] Elizabeth Wood: That’s our show. The Design Mind frogcast was brought to you by frog, a leading global creative consultancy that is part of Capgemini Invent. Check today’s show notes for transcripts and more from our conversation. You’ll also find a link to download the full frog report ‘The Road Ahead,’ featuring more from our experts, even more perspectives from frogs across the pond, and an interview with designer and author Thomas Thwaites, all about his ambition to design a truly ‘Harmless Car.’ We really want to thank our guests, Greg Lindsay, Sean Rhodes, Anne Junge and Dr. Philipp Haaf, for sharing their insights on the future of mobility.
[38:58] Elizabeth Wood: We also want to thank you, dear listener. If you like what you heard, tell your friends. Rate and review to help others find us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify . And be sure to follow us wherever you listen to podcasts. Find lots more to think about from our global frog team at frog.co/designmind. That’s frog.co. Follow frog on Twitter at @frogdesign and @frog_design on Instagram. And if you have any thoughts about the show, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out at frog.co/contact. Thanks for listening. Now go make your mark.