Customer engagement lies at the heart of EASI’R, a provider of a customer relations management platform for the automotive industry. We caught up with co-founder and CEO Mikael Moeslund.
Mikael Moeslund has lived and breathed cars all his life. Whether it’s selling vehicles, working for automotive importers, or studying the economics of the industry, he has worked in the sector ever since leaving college in his native Denmark.
In fact it was during a foreign exchange programme with a dealership in Germany while on that economics course that he first struck upon the ideas that would propel his own business. As he explains: “I was studying a particular dealership that was doing really well with very high customer satisfaction rates. I set out to find out why, and the lessons I learnt have stayed with me ever since.”
Moeslund went on to work for another dealership in Denmark where he started to understand how he might improve that company through applying best business practice and providing consultancy services. “In those early days I spent several years travelling around Scandinavia working with dealers and helping clients understand how customer expectations needed to be delivered. What we then found was that clients were finding it hard to put these ideas into practice so we started thinking about how we could move from providing consultancy to developing software.”
Move to SaaS model
In 2006 Moeslund began selling his software to Toyota, writing a code that was customised for the company. “After a few years other companies such as VW, Audi and Fiat also became interested in what we were doing. We took the source codes that we had developed for Toyota and then made them fi t these other companies on a separate system.”
However, Moeslund began to realise that this model of running different systems was unsustainable and inefficient given the power of cloud technologies and changing consumer habits.
“In 2014 we sat down and asked ourselves some testing questions. Was the technology that we had really what the market required? How could we respond to the ever-increasing amounts of data available? How could we react to the fact that consumers were increasingly moving online to do their buying research and that there was far greater interaction with dealers earlier in the buying process? We realised that we needed to take everything we had learnt and build a new enterprise as a SaaS model from scratch.”
The result was the creation of a fully customised generic software product called EASI’R which enables dealers to connect with customers – and potential customers – far more effectively. “New data tools are required to provide the insights and engagement that dealers need today,” he adds. “They want to engage with customers more, increase conversion rates, and close deals faster.”
So was the change successful? “Absolutely. After developing EASI’R the likes of Skoda in Germany, Jaguar in the Nordics, and BMW in Denmark came on board. We also converted Toyota to the new platform and now have 7% market share with dealers of new car sales contracts in Germany, and 15% market share in Denmark.”
Window of opportunity
Moeslund says there is now an exciting window of opportunity over the next five to ten years to significantly increase the scale of the business through a concerted sales and marketing drive.
“Our growth plan over the next 30 months is that we will be in all key markets across Europe and established with sales people and project consultants. To fund that growth we are also looking at our strategic options as a business.”
He says with the rise of electrification and automation, the automotive industry is at a critical juncture and this will be one of the most exciting industries to be in over the next five to ten years.
“Dealers are going to play an absolutely critical role in this transition. For instance, if you are buying an electric car for the first time you will want to see how it functions. Although buying decisions will increasingly be made online, dealers will still play a key role in making consumers prepared to accept the technology.”
He adds that AI will also play a crucial role by providing dealers with the information they need to interact with customers effectively. “The idea is that the platform takes away the manual guesswork from the whole sales operation. The data will effectively tell the dealer what to do. So if the dealer needs to have a more face to face relationship with the buyer then the data will tell them that. It will tell them whether they need to take the customer out for a coffee. AI is an enabler to treat customers differently. No human being would be able to work out exactly what every customer wants and how they are likely to behave.”
Has Moeslund considered applying his technology to other industries? “We have looked at other industries and had interest from other sectors but our strategy firmly remains the automotive industry. This is a huge market, there is massive potential for us, and it’s where we have 16 years of expertise.”