CX in Automotive. 4 Reasons to Think Beyond the Screen

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1 CX in Automotive 4 Reasons to Think Beyond the Screen

2 It s tempting to make a car s infotainment center the focus of customer experience (CX) design packing the head unit with ever more apps and functionality. But drivers don t get behind the wheel thinking about their infotainment center. They think about where they want to go and how to get there. They might enter an address into the GPS system in the car s head unit, or they might prefer the mapping app on their smartphone. Indeed, cars and their occupants have dozens of ways to interact, including voice commands, haptic sensations, and smartphone apps. This ebook from DMI, the experts in driver-centered car experiences, provides four succinct reasons to widen your perspective beyond the infotainment center: In-car screens are inherently limited. Voice technologies are rapidly expanding hands-free functionality. Some of the most innovative, drivercentric capabilities happen off-screen. Everything has to mesh intuitively the head unit and every other component of the driver experience. We ve also included savvy tips for creating more intuitive driving experiences. CX in Automotive 1

3 REASON 1 Screens Are Problematic By Nature Carmakers and OEM vendors deliver rich interactive services via in-car infotainment systems. The question is whether drivers want them to do that. Mike Austin, a mobile manager at DMI who develops ios mobile apps for major automakers, has experienced this phenomenon first-hand. When I tell people what I do, a lot of them say, I just want my phone in the head unit. I don t want GPS or any of your other stuff. Unfortunately, functionality that works wonders in a handheld device can be fatal to somebody driving a car. Traffic laws nationwide forbidding texting-and-driving reflect these hazards. Even as tech titans like Apple and Google add in-car apps, the prospects for putting somebody s iphone on the head unit screen remain out of reach. Another limitation of flat screens is the lack of tactile feedback that drivers get from analog buttons and dials. With a touch-screen device, you have to go through a series of steps to get to wherever you re going, says Chelsea Wrobel, an expert user-interface designer on DMI s auto industry team. UI designers can minimize the number of touches, she says, but at some point, users have to look at their screens. That means drivers either take their eyes off the road or use their screens only when the car is stopped. A common refrain among user-interface designers is that infotainment center screens in cars are underpowered, leading to balky performance that frustrates people accustomed to the quick-swipe screen experience of smartphones and tablets. My biggest concern is that the technology needs to catch up, says Blake Almstead, DMI s digital and user-experience lead for automotive clients. That ll never be easy while mobiledevice manufacturers fuel an arms race for faster, higher-performing screens. And playing catch-up can prove problematic if rapid-fire screens raise distraction issues. We may need some kind of a throttle from a user standpoint of controlling how much and how quickly you can do things, Almstead says. Thus, screens put carmakers and OEMs in a bind: Giving drivers the screen speed and power they ve grown accustomed to might be incompatible with safety demands. CX in Automotive 2

4 REASON 2 Voice Recognition Gets Better Every Day Automakers have been providing voicecommand capability for most of the past two decades. Until recently, their efforts didn t earn much appreciation from drivers. In October 2017, for instance, Consumer Reports reviewed customers satisfaction with the voice-recognition capabilities of all the major automakers: An average of only 28% of owners were very satisfied with voice-command systems, the magazine reported. Note the data from CR s survey came from A lot has happened in the voice-recognition space since then especially in the ascent of Alexa, Amazon s voice-recognition and personal-assistant software. Amazon Echo devices went from nonexistent to commonplace in the space of a few years, and new devices from Amazon, Apple, Google, and others are helping propel sales of so-called smartspeakers to unprecedented heights. I can play trivia games on my Echo Dot, says DMI s Chelsea Wrobel. The technology is pretty mainstream, so I think it's only a matter of time before we see it getting a lot better in cars. Indeed, Alexa is coming to the automotive sector, thanks to an aggressive push from Amazon. Our mission is pretty clear, pretty simple: We're here to bring Alexa into as many automobiles as possible over the upcoming years, John Scumniotales, general manager for Amazon Alexa Automotive, said in an interview with Automotive News. Until recently, in-car voice command systems depended on low-powered, in-car storage systems, which limited the potential for voice recognition. But carmakers now can use cellphone and Wi-Fi connectivity to route voice commands to high-powered computers in the cloud, vastly expanding overall voice functionality. This new generation of connectivity gives the potential to merge voice with IoT and conversational commerce, using chatbots and other communication tools to streamline digital sales processes. Everything talks to each other, DMI s Blake Almstead says. It s not science fiction anymore because pretty much everyone has it, and it s become affordable. And, hopefully, that s training people to become more confident with that engagement in their vehicle. CX in Automotive 3

5 REASON 3 Great Things Are Happening Off-screen Digital assistants are sweeping through society. It s reached a fever pitch within the last 12 months, DMI s Blake Almstead says. And you re going to see more of that in the future. Ideally, cars can become digital assistants, anticipating drivers needs and helping satisfy them at the right time in the right place. Let s say you have a Speedway loyalty card, DMI s Chelsea Wrobel says. Your car can learn that and tell you where the nearest Speedway is when you re low on gas. Cars can scan the weather forecast and send reminders to close your window before it starts to rain or urge you to refill the windshield wiper fluid. They can send maintenance alerts and align them with the location of your favorite quick-oil-change shop. You want drivers to say, Oh, cool. My car is smart enough to let me know these things, Almstead says. One of DMI s initiatives is helping a major automaker customize drivers experience to match their real-time circumstances. We want cars to know more than your preferences of gas stations, Almstead says. The car should know what to do if its parked outside with the window down and there s rain in the forecast: It should send the driver a notification to close that window. Mike Austin, a DMI mobile app developer, says the popular Waze app is an excellent example of intuitive, driver-centered design that thrives outside a car s head unit. It s like Google Maps on steroids, he says. It ll tell you if there s a traffic tie-up up ahead and it ll redirect you around it. It might only save a few minutes, but it feels like having this little buddy on your shoulder who s always giving you the fastest route. Innovations in haptics, the science of sensation and touch, will give carmakers and OEMs even more opportunities to provide intuitive, handsfree interactions with drivers. Connecting to IoT sensors will provide even more data to help personalize the driving experience. Eventually, facial recognition technologies might find their way into the driver s seat. The iphone X has facial recognition instead of a fingerprint scanner: You can look right at it, and it will unlock, Wrobel says. There must be a way to leverage something like that in a vehicle. So much of driver distraction is about where you re looking. Being able to track where you re looking and to track features based on what your eyes are doing would be really cool to eventually see in a vehicle. CX in Automotive 4

6 REASON 4 It All Has To Work Together All these developments in technology and society create a mandate for automakers and OEMs: You come to the driver and just help them, so they ll feel like saying thank you, that was awesome, DMI s Mike Austin says. Their watch, phone, car, and everything else should just mesh together and help them out. That s your sweet spot. Automotive infotainment units have evolved dramatically from AM radios to cassette decks to GPS screens and beyond. But that section of dashboard represents only a sliver of the driving experience. Voice recognition, personal-assistant apps, wearable devices, and mobile technologies are reshaping consumer behavior and elevating their expectations. Consumers are becoming more conditioned to see technology as an ally in their everyday struggles. And there s more to it than optimizing what drivers see, hear, and feel. DMI recently revamped an automaker s mobile app but made only minor changes to the user interface. The lion s share of the development work went into improving the app s server-side, cloud-based capabilities. Our app pretty much goes to the cloud for everything, Austin said. It's kind of like the mothership, receiving messages from the car and sending them to the app. That s just one use case for cloud computing, which is paving the way for enhanced voicecommand functionality in cars and next-gen functions like IoT and conversational commerce. What will this convergence of functions look like down the road? I see it as a car perceived as a smart being. It s smart enough to know it needs an oil change or that a window s open on a rainy day, DMI s Blake Almstead says. It's going to be more like an assistant that speaks directly to a driver whenever and wherever it s needed. CX in Automotive 5

7 Driving a Better Customer Experience Ultimately, enhancing customer experience in the auto sector is about intuitively understanding what drivers want and delivering it to them when and where they expect it. That builds a sense of gratitude that cements trust between a driver and a manufacturer. You want that moment where the car s technology anticipates a driver s need and satisfies it without having to be asked. As DMI s Mike Austin puts it, It s like your car knows what to do, and you don't have to do anything. Tips for Building Driver-Centric Experiences Empathy is the core of driver-centered design. You have to put yourself in the shoes of the driver and try to get other people especially those who make the decisions to put themselves in those shoes and ask, Would you really do that? Would you really want that? DMI s Chelsea Wrobel says. Staying driver-centered applies across the CX spectrum, from development to testing to deployment. DMI s Mike Austin, a veteran ios developer, shared these development tips: Stay fast and flexible: Listen closely to what the customer wants and make sure you can adapt to changes quickly. Make code easy to change. Write your code so it can be modified quickly. Tightly coupled code will be harder to modify, and you want to reduce the pain when making changes. Test thoroughly. Everybody on the development team should see what the driver would see. They should test every action as the driver would do it. Overall, you want to keep everything as simple as possible. Screen-based tools tend to throw too much at users. Keeping functions off the screen can reduce information overload. CX in Automotive 6

8 DMI INSIGHTS Additional CX Resources Learn more about trends in customer experience and how you can bring transformation to your business. READ NOW > READ NOW > CX in Automotive 7

9 2,500 EMPLOYEES 3,000+ MOBILE SITES & APPS CREATED 1.5M+ DEVICES UNDER MANAGEMENT 1B+ IOT CONNECTIONS MADE MEET DMI. At DMI, we help our clients navigate this revolution by taking a human-centric, mobile-first approach to disrupt their markets and evolve their business models. We re a new breed of partner that brings together the design-thinking of a digital agency with the rapid and iterative delivery of a modern IT services partner. With 21 offices worldwide, we ve been continually recognized by both Gartner and Forrester as a leader in mobile IT services. MOBILIZING FOR A CONNECTED WORLD P Learn more at DMInc.com Copyright 2018 Digital Management, LLC (DMI)