Hyundai’s Secret Sauce to Successful CX

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When we speak of the darlings of customer experience (CX), names like Amazon, Zappos and T-Mobile are frequently used. What we don’t often hear are automobile manufacturers and dealers as trendsetters in the CX world, until now. Hyundai USA has decided to make CX a strategic initiative that encompasses all areas of the car buying experience. In an industry that is undergoing great change, not all of it positive, this is a bold move.

Hyundai has chosen to focus on customer experience rather than moving to selling only one line or pushing cars out of an automated ATM style system. Tim Houlne, Humach CEO, believes focusing on the CX is a solid move for Hyundai to ensure improved market share.

“My guess is they did a lot of research up front in order to fully understand what the customer really wants, then ensured that implementation across the organization,” says Houlne. “Nobody loves buying a car, so removing the friction and improving the buying experience is an excellent move.”

The Main Ingredient Is Experience

Many car retailers will say they focus on the customer, yet Hyundai has taken it to a different level. Their key ingredient is the Shopper Assurance, a platform that it first rolled out in 2009 to ensure car buyers that, if they lost their job amid the Great Recession, Hyundai would pick up their car payments. Hyundai kept the name but updated the recipe. Today’s Shopper Assurance packages place much of the user experience under one umbrella. This includes transparent pricing, streamlined purchase, flexible test drive, and worry-free returns.

“Car buying has not been a nice experience for most. In fact, I had to threaten to leave the showroom when I purchased my last two cars because of the hassle,” says Houlne. “It’s as though there is this expectation that people like to barter, but it’s backfired. People want transactions to be easy, focused on their needs and accessible to their preferred purchasing method.”

Companies like Carvana and CarMax have made it much easier to purchase an automobile, setting a different customer expectation. It can be easy, so why shouldn’t it be easy with every car dealer? In Hyundai’s case, 61 percent of customers stated they selected the brand because of the Shopper Assurance program, leading you to believe that customers do respond to friction-free, focused programs. So why aren’t there more?

“There are two schools of thought on customer loyalty programs. One side is the customer likes it, uses it and it’s beneficial to the organization. The other is the customer believes it’s expensive, they are paying for something they should already have and don’t trust it,” says Houlne. “It is possible that in the second scenario the customers did not feel there was enough value.”

CX Can Provide Increased Market Share

Hyundai continued to improve the customer focus of their organization over the years, culminating in the Shopper Assurance program they have today. It takes a customer experienced focused enterprise to implement such programs and a willingness to dig deep into understanding the customer.

“It’s important to develop a robust picture of the customer. Think more like a high definition image rather than a simple line drawing,” says Houlne. “Organizations have to develop interfaces to really listen, capture information and act on that information to continually develop their CX programs.”

According to a study by Forrester, organizations that focus on CX have a 14 percent higher growth rate than those that do not. Choosing to develop enterprise CX initiatives and continually updating the customer journey will pay dividends.

“We work with clients regularly to determine the most effective methods of deploying customer experience programs and technology, so they can save time and money while gaining the most of the program as soon as possible,” says Houlne. “We know that improving CX initiatives, breaking down internal silos and having an enterprise wide focus improves the organization’s bottom line.”


The first step to gaining market share from CX initiatives is to understand who within the organization owns the overall CX program and how it impacts your organization internally. Download our e-book and find out the answers to important questions that ensure you get started on the right path.


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