By Salah Yamout, COO of Arabian Automobiles Company
A commitment to continuous evolution may seem like a hard sell, but at Arabian Automobiles Company, it is a mantra that we aspire towards daily, and that has helped establish us as one of the premier automotive dealers in the UAE and the region.
In 2016 when the automotive market started showing signs of a slowdown, many companies braced for the direct outcome; we, on the other hand, challenged ourselves to look beyond into the future and plan ahead. We didn’t just pave a path forward based on tried-and-tested strategies; we were convinced that the answer lay in reimagining the future and being bold enough to heed our instincts above all else. The industry was never going to be the same, and if a new light was to present itself, it was going to be in the form of a disruptor.
We studied our customer behaviour to understand their needs and wants while also adapting to changing technology trends to ensure the success of our future product launches and the happiness of our customers. What helped us on that journey was our conviction that customer micro-segmentation, among other tactics, would be integral for the success of any campaign or company at large. No longer can mass communication be deemed effective; a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works, and personalization and customization based on customer needs and wants is now integral. We quickly adapted and learned how to utilize data to personalize interactions with our customers, and the more we did so, the more it became evident that consumers were appreciative and responsive to a data-driven tailored approach. At Arabian Automobiles Company, we offered solutions that integrated the five Ps: people, place, product, price and process.
The true effect of the pandemic was the acceleration of the digital transformation by business and adoption by customers. Visitors to our showrooms and centres were browsing our line-up of cars across Nissan on iPads and through interactive videos and an innovative augmented reality experience; we pioneered transactional to experiential within our showrooms for a key objective – customer-centric. This digitalization drive also covers the scopes of our aftersales to cater to customers where they were most comfortable and safe; in their homes. Our virtual experience from visiting the showroom, to online consultancy by trained product specialists, including purchasing the car online, was a progressive digital journey that was in the works pre-pandemic.
In fact, we evolved almost the entirety of our portfolio of services as well as introduced our clicks to bricks initiative. We also expanded on our transactions from owned to public platforms, such as social media and online aggregators, with the aim of presenting users with options and features that they deserve and have come to expect from a future-looking company driven by products over processes. We introduced a progressive leasing program, offering consumable replacements, such as tires and batteries, that ensure the customer experience is not obstructed in addition to pick-up/drop-off activity during servicing. We’ve studied the market and built an infrastructure for a robust online sales consultancy where customers can have all their queries tended to in an efficient and timely manner. Our aftersales department underwent its own evolution as well, from upgrading sanitization procedures to include Ozone treatments across all the facilities, to offering pick-up and drop-off services, e-estimates, and mini-contracts. Every innovation we adopted was made with customers at heart, creating a seamless experience to bridge our online offerings with our offline ones.
The journey does not stop there; in fact, we are witnessing a complete transformation of the automotive sector not seen since the car engine was first introduced. The future of the automotive industry is evolving before our very eyes: connected cars were one of the top trends in 2020 and are expected to evolve even further, providing enhanced personalization options to users that are similar to what they have come to expect from their smartphones. With advanced IoT, telematics, connectivity, our communication and responses improved and formed a harmonious blend of engineering-powered performance such as Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which hosts a seamless infotainment system, safety, and vehicle management to drivers, passengers and commuters.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had announced SDT 2030 that promises that by 2030, 25 per cent of all transportation trips in Dubai will be smart and driverless. This is an ambition that is being realized faster with every passing day, and as the technology advances to introduce customer-centric, futuristic features, AAC Nissan will be right there to embrace the change in the pursuit of progress for the company and country.