On the face of it, automotive engineering and customer care have little to do with each other. Of course, everything that engineers do is aimed at satisfying the customer and offering higher and higher value, but the two disciplines of engineering and customer care seem to be on two different ends of the spectrum. One would imagine that the engineers do their job and then it is the role of customer service department to interact with customers and deal with their issues. However, if you are willing to look a little beyond the surface, you will find that combining engineering and customer care can be highly advantageous to both the automotive industry as well as the end customer.
Let us begin by looking at what exactly an automotive engineer does. What does his job role entail?
To begin with, it is the role of automotive engineers to design as well as develop various automotive systems like engines, electronics, brakes, fuel systems, suspension, etc.
Secondly, they are also responsible for designing, developing, operating, managing and maintaining automotive assembly lines.
Their job also involves dealing with suppliers for different parts made to their exact precision, managing their costs as well as delivery.
They also have to design, develop and implement a number of tests to ensure that individually and collectively, the parts function optimally and safely. Ensuring safety of the final product is part of their job role.
Finally, it is the role of an automotive engineer to gather data from service centers, repair shops and end customers to identify the problems they have faced in operating the vehicle and them implement adjustments in design as well as the manufacturing process to remove the faults and improve the vehicle.
Now, that the job description of an automotive engineer is before us, it becomes easier to understand how customer care training can be helpful to them. The final point that concerns interacting with customers can be the one factor that gives one company an edge over the others in the industry. If the company has its ears to the ground and is aware of the needs as well as the problems of their customers, the products designed by them are sure to offer greater value to those who use them.
Now, as you can see, getting customer feedback is already a part of the job role of the automotive engineer. But often, he gets information that is second hand. For instance, a customer may make a complaint to a customer care executive, who will pass it along to the engineer. But, it is important to remember that the customer care executive is not technically trained. Neither can he fully understand the exact problem of the vehicle, neither can he ask appropriate question to clarify a point. When the information reaches the engineer, it hardly explains the exact nature of the problem. As you can see, if the engineer was himself dealing with the customer, he would be in a much better position to gauge the problem as well as create a solution.