Tri Petch Isuzu Sales x NRI Thailand x Brierley Japan: Committed to Increasing Customer Loyalty in the Thai Automobile Market
Feb. 10, 2020
For many years, Tri Petch Isuzu Sales (“Tri Petch Isuzu”) has sold commercial vehicles and pickup trucks in Thailand. Tri Petch Isuzu, which holds a share of over 30% of sales of pickup trucks, their greatest strength, sensed changes in consumer behavior in Thailand resulting from the advancement of digitalization, and joined with NRI Thailand and Brierley+Partners Japan (“Brierley Japan”) to develop the web application “my-ISUZU.” It is stepping up its marketing efforts to maintain relationships with customers through maintenance and the like, leading to future purchases by the same customer.
Consumer behavior has changed along with advancement of digitalization
Until recently, Tri Petch Isuzu’s marketing activities centered on engaging in communication with customers and bringing customers to their retail stores, of which they have around 330 all over Thailand, to encourage customers to buy new cars. For the past several years, however, as smartphone use has skyrocketed, purchasing styles have shifted to customers acquiring information on their own, considering products through comparison with those of other companies, and visiting retail stores to negotiate. This meant that innovation of marketing activities was necessary. Tri Petch Isuzu realized that with the increasing tendency for people to gather information using websites and social networking services (SNS) such as Facebook, online-based transmission of information and efforts to maintain customers are becoming ever more important.
“We considered various CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools, believing that an online-based structure was essential to maintain contact with customers through maintenance and the like after vehicle purchases and reinforce the likelihood of future purchases. We joined with NRI Thailand because we comprehensively considered their good understanding of our business from our partnership with them in building systems for our retail stores, Brierley Japan’s functional flexibility, and the like,” says Tri Petch Isuzu Vice President Nonaka.
This cooperation led to the development of the customer-oriented web application “my-ISUZU.” The application is linked to online data such as purchase and maintenance histories managed by retail store systems, and enables information display and message transmission individually optimized to each customer’s behavior history. For instance, it involves notification of maintenance timing, transmission of information on assorted coupons and campaigns, a loyalty program, and a function for chatting with retail stores using LINE*1.
my-ISUZU screen image
Development method traversing organizational and national barriers
Since the decision to release my-ISUZU had been made by the time of the first pickup truck full model change in eight years, the development had to be completed in about seven months. In order to increase development speed so that the project could be completed in this short time span, a phased approach*2 was adopted in which functions were added in stages. “We had many ideas of functions we wanted to provide to our customers, but we prioritized developing functions that would encourage registration to my-ISUZU. We needed to have an interface design that would appeal to Thai customers and use expressions in Thai that were appropriate and would reverberate with our customers, and the help of Thai members in various roles was essential. Therefore, each of our members was strongly intent on making sure to put full effort into the project as a team, traversing the boundaries of a single company or organization,” says Tri Petch Isuzu’s Mr. Yamamoto as he reflects on the project.
Since off-shore development based in Indonesia was employed, increased global cooperation was necessary for the project. Under the demand for quick development, Tri Petch Isuzu business members traveled to Indonesia to communicate directly with the engineers there. “In order for multinational members to come together to develop with an emphasis on speed, careful and attentive communication is essential. Quick decision-making is also critical. Tri Petch Isuzu executives were deeply aware that the project would not succeed unless the business department got actively involved and acted in concert with the IT department, so they made precise decisions on necessary matters with an extremely short turnover time. That made it easy for development to proceed smoothly,” says NRI Thailand’s Yuichi Kibe.
Aiming for a service that customers love
More than 300,000 people registered for my-ISUZU in the six months after it was released, and users continue to increase at a good pace. Going forward, the company aims to develop the application as a platform for providing vehicle sales financing, vehicle physical damage insurance, and other assorted services offered by Tri Petch Group, and to provide a more convenient and efficient customer experience.
“As automobile sales competition heats up, maintaining and cultivating brand loyalty among customers requires focusing on the customer experience after a sale, such as through vehicle maintenance and related services. By providing a sophisticated customer experience and continually analyzing customer behavior gleaned through conventional customer service as well as customer behavior on my-ISUZU, we will be able to predict the timing at which a customer will buy a new vehicle and otherwise be able to create a starting point leading to subsequent vehicle purchases,” says Brierley Japan’s Satoshi Nakane.
“I think that we will see the true success of my-ISUZU when users of the application, such as customers and retail stores, start to come to us with ideas and uses for the application that we hadn’t thought of, telling us, ‘we want this kind of function or service.’ In order to make that happen, we aim to build a strong foundation of functions that customers will want to use. Retail stores also have very high hopes for my-ISUZU, so we hope to develop it further as a communication tool that customers will love,” says Tri Petch Isuzu Vice President Suzuki, describing his hopes for the future.
- *1 LINE: LINE can be used not only in Japan but also in Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and all over Asia. In Thailand, LINE is so prevalent that 90% of smartphone users are said to use it.
- *2 Phased approach: This method involves performing development in stages by separating out different functions rather than developing and building a system all at once.