Audi of America has named Jeri Ward to fill the new post of director of customer experience as part of the company's aim to strengthen customer loyalty and enhance client satisfaction. Ward, a former marketing executive, will be responsible for the new "voice of the customer" program, the company's 75-employee customer care call center as well as an online owner panel called the Audi Drivers Circle with more than 3,500 participants.
The members in the circle are asked each month regarding their customer experiences as well as the new programs that Audi is considering.
On the dealer side, Ward's 14-member team will be distributed to the three regional sales offices to "identify best practices" and to ensure that they will "meet the needs of customers." Ward stated that her role is "cross-functional" and that she is working across the organization to offer customer insight in planning as well as in activities that involves the customer.
Ward added that she and her team will be developing strategies, followed by new programs. Enhancing customer satisfaction is vital for Audi if it is targeting an increase in U.S. sales to 200,000 vehicles by 2018. The company's U.S. sales are expected to rise 10 percent in 2011 versus 2010, when the company sold 101,629 units.
Audi's U.S. sales climbed 17 percent through October to 95,206 units. In the last two J.D. Power and Associates annual Customer Service Index studies, the company has ranked poorly, scoring below average and near the bottom of the 13 luxury brands that were rated.