Crowdsourcing Valuable Consumer Insights for Car Financial Services

Published Dec-14-15

Breakthrough:
Novel concepts win a crowdsourcing contest for ideas for the future of Mercedes-Benz’s car financing services for customers.

Company:
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, United States

The Story:

Crowdsourcing Valuable Consumer Insights for Car Financial Services There are many reasons why calling the crowd is a good idea. Among them are insights into possible future trends and design concepts. Looking outside your immediate environment can provide fresh insights and give your own thinking a juicy jolt of electricity. This could ultimately lead to better and newer products, a greater understanding of customer needs and provide a heads up about where your particular industry could be in the future.

Consumer facing companies can reap the benefits of crowdsourcing by asking the very people that know most about their products and services…their customers.

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services did just that with their “Drive Our Future” crowdsourcing contest, an initiative that was suggested by employees during the company’s annual global innovation competition. The intent was to collect ideas from the car-buying and car-leasing public about what the vehicle financing experience of the future should look like.

Could it be made easier? What new services or features could be deployed? Are customers currently being underserved in any way? What could make the customer experience even better?

Consumer Insights

The company prides itself on its services, but resting on its laurels is not an option as it outlined in the video to promote the contest: "We're a leader in the vehicle finance industry. Not because we're arrogant but because we listen and learn. That's what this contest is all about."

The crowdsourcing competition was hosted on Facebook and participants were tasked with submitting their ideas in video or written form in any of three categories:

• Digital Customer Contact
• Dealer Finance Experience
• Future Services

Winning Submissions

More than 250 valid entries were submitted and from this pool, three top winners were selected by the judges.

The first prize went to a digital sales concept that involves a smartphone application and in-store services to complete the process of leasing a new vehicle in one hour or less. In second place was an idea for an app to make leasing a vehicle as easy and simple as buying a book online. Third place was awarded to an automated program that would let customers view and purchase recommended vehicles they are pre-approved for in half an hour or less.

The winning participants were awarded a number of prizes, including cash and free lease of a Mercedes-Benz CLA.

"There were definite themes that emerged related to speed, ease of process and mobile solutions," said Geoff Robinson, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Vice President of Marketing. "A core project team will evaluate all of the submitted ideas to identify opportunities to continue to evolve our products and services to meet the changing needs of our current and future customers."

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