“The right mindset is more important than simply having knowledge”

- Bas Kasteel is Vice President Customer Service at Hyundai Motor Europe, responsible for after-sales.

We spoke to him to discuss his role since joining Hyundai Motor Europe in 2014, and why he considers customer experience to be of increasing importance to Hyundai in the years ahead.

Can you tell us about your position in Hyundai?

I joined Hyundai Motor Europe in October 2014 as Vice President Customer Service. The division is responsible for a broad range of after-sale topics connected to our customers’ needs once they have purchased a Hyundai Motor vehicle. As well as the Customer Services teams, I am also leading a cross-functional project on Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM), engaging with Sales, Marketing and After Sales.

What steps does Hyundai Motor take to guarantee customer satisfaction before, during and after the sale of a car?

Customer experience is about exceeding customer expectations. As we increase the excitement in our car designs and offer more modern premium services and technologies, the expectations of our customers will increase. This is also caused by their exposure to developments in the world around them be it in retail, refrigerators or restaurants.

This means we need to improve what we can offer customers every step of the way. To achieve that, we must always improve upon our standard processes and introduce new systems to simplify the lives of our customers. We are constantly introducing new solutions to make it easy for customers to interact with Hyundai. Thisincludes for instance training for service advisers, as well as new ways for dealers to get in touch with customers (MyHyundai). In Customer Service, we are also working on performance and efficiency enhancement of dealerships. In our experience, these general improvements in operations will also increase customer satisfaction.

Bas Kasteel has been Vice President Customer Service at Hyundai Motor Europe since joining the company in 2014

What is the Hyundai Motor Europe Customer Service division's role? Is the aim purely to satisfy customers?

Our role is to ensure that all solutions are defined, developed and then implemented on a pan-European level. That is not an easy task due to the complexity of doing business in 31 countries. We need to explain the benefits of these systems to our different international markets, and overcome any constraints that may hinder the rollout. To that end we typically need to work on specific business cases for each market and collaborate with our partners in each country to ensure a successful outcome.

How will the role of a Customer Service team member evolve in the years ahead, as automated technology advances?

We are experiencing two major changes in the after sales area which will have a profound impact. The first is electrification, which is already happening. Electric cars do not have combustion engines and so they do not require oil changes or engine servicing. The second big change is autonomous driving. Over time, this will reduce collisions because automated systems are inherently safer than ones with human drivers. For these reasons, some people predict that after-sales business could be halved.

Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities we can capitalise on in coming years. New technology is providing the opportunity to create added value services in the after-sales area. It is estimated that this industry can generate 5,500 Euros over the lifetime of each car. This would make it as lucrative as the entire after-sales business today. To deliver this kind of outcome will require a new way of thinking, and the creation of many new partnerships with relevant service providers.

What will Hyundai be doing to keep customers with the brand?

We will continue doing what we have been doing but making it even better. At the moment, we are the number one in our industry’s best customer satisfaction measurement solution, which is carried out in most European markets and across different car brands. This is a great achievement, but we must not become complacent. We have introduced several customer-friendly initiatives in recent years such as Lifetime MapCare™* and service-activated roadside assistance (SARA). As these services become more common, we must also enhance our operational quality through, for example, our performance enhancement programme, which supports excellence in our pan-European network.

What do you expect from a good customer service team member?

Good customer service team members are expected to be curious and have an open mind, be eager to learn, be flexible, to be able to think for themselves and to be prepared to strive to improve our operation. With this mindset they will fit well into our team and be able to implement our projects independently. This will increase their value both personally and to Hyundai Motor Europe, and could lead to them enhancing their career and being given more responsibility. Being knowledgeable about a topic can certainly help, but this is something that can also be learned. I think having the right mindset is more important than simply a person’s knowledge.

In addition to the major upcoming changes I have discussed, people with a more service-orientated mindset will have benefits. Employees need to respect each other’s views, but also make steps forward to improve our business. CLM, for example, is a cross-functional environment. CLM team members will often work in areas that they don’t have an expertise of. In my experience, this can actually be very satisfying as great things can be achieved which would not have been possible with traditional working methods.

Bas is based at the Hyundai Motor Europe headquarters in Offenbach, Germany

Are you interested in working with Hyundai? Here is what to do next.

Working with Hyundai Motor, you will be flexible and have the ability to quickly adapt to new situations, as well as being digitally-savvy. The rise of autonomous driving, connected cars and electrification will revolutionise the automotive industry, and Hyundai expects to be at the forefront of advances in these developments. If you are interested in working with Hyundai in Europe, you can find information about current vacancies and graduate schemes here.

*Lifetime MapCare™ is the commercial term of Hyundai’s subscription to MapCare™ programme by which annual map updates will be provided for the eligible Hyundai vehicles for a minimum period of ten years after the model’s end of production.

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