Daimler team focusing on customer experience

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Paul Romanaggi, Daimler
Paul Romanaggi leads the new team as chief customer experience (CX) officer.

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. – Brand loyalty is shaped by more than products alone. It’s influenced by every customer interaction, whether that involves buying a truck, arranging for service, or filing a warranty claim.

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is looking to refine such interactions, introducing an internal group that’s dedicated to improving customer experience in every area of the organization.

It’s no small task. The work will touch everything from new truck sales, to used truck acquisitions, and aftermarket service. And it will align diverse departments including aftermarket fleet service, warranty, call centers, aftermarket service products, and service systems.

“We put a lot of horsepower behind delivering customer experience, to move it from a buzzword into a real live experience,” said Stefan Kurschner, senior vice-president – aftermarket, during a press briefing in California.

Paul Romanaggi, a 34-year company veteran, is responsible for overseeing the work as the newly appointed chief CX officer – a role that will drawn on his previous experience in “customer advocacy” management positions in which he was responsible for parts, service, warranty, quality, production supply chain, logistics, PDI centers, and new product launches and changeovers.

“It doesn’t matter where the issue lies within our organization,” Romanaggi said.

The internal group builds on annual customer experience (CX) days, which were first established in 2017 and give internal teams a full day to dedicate themselves to nothing but refining customer experiences through better processes, systems and policies.

“Our issues are not just centered in one department. They’re across the full organization,” Romanaggi explained.

When equipment issues do emerge, for example, engineers in Portland and Detroit will be responsible for containing the challenges as quickly as possible, but they will also continue to identify “more-elegant” solutions that can tackle root causes.

“We want to have our finger on the pulse, our ears on the mouth, to understand very quickly, very thoroughly, where we have opportunity for improvement,” Romanaggi said.

A group of 21 field representatives, meanwhile, will focus solely on meeting the needs of the Top 100 fleets, although other personnel will be dedicated to operations of every size.

“No customer goes unaccounted for,” he said.

A one-stop warranty program will also be re-established to help address the many layers of warranty coverage available through individual component suppliers. Daimler will now pay warranty claims upfront, and deal with supplier-related filing requirements behind the scenes.

A wide array of other initiatives will be anchored in the data from trucks and dealers alike.

“Daimler Trucks North America is the only OEM who has 100% connectivity [in] real time with all of our dealers’ service systems,” Romanaggi explained. “We know exactly the status of every truck.”

“Everybody’s got big data but a lot of companies, to be frank about it, don’t know what to do about it,” he added. Daimler is working with outside firms that specialize in the Internet of Things to establish the algorithms, tools and models that will make a difference.

“We’re taking that information and we’re turning it into strategy, and we’re taking that strategy and turning it into decisions,” Romanaggi said, suggesting the trucking industry is barely scratching the surface of what big data can accomplish.

Tackling a broad issue like the customer experience is no small task. But priorities are being set by simply listening to customers, determining the biggest pain points that exist, Kurschner said.

The successes of the CX group will be tracked with data of its own, too.

“What gets measured,” Kurschner said, “gets improved.”

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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