High-End Networking Improves Customer Satisfaction at Audi

Learn how one luxury automaker stayed relevant in the digital age with IT upgrades to its global network of dealerships.

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Cisco Meraki

In the era of e-commerce, top consumer brands depend on superior customer service to win sales in the store and showroom. In few industries is this more important than automotive, where technology is changing the relationship between consumers and the cars they drive or ride in, offering an expanding array of options for mobility beyond simple ownership.

One carmaker has risen to the challenge with a mix of smart tech and stellar customer service that created one of the most satisfied groups of automotive customers.

The Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index compiles data from mystery shoppers at thousands of US dealerships to rate brands on the most helpful and attentive salespeople. Audi beat out competing brands including BMW, Lexus, Jaguar, and others to take first place.

That ranking is thanks, in part, to an extraordinary in-store experience provided by tablets and secure, reliable, and easy-to-service wireless access points (APs) and other networking gear from Cisco Meraki.

Elevating the showroom experience

Audi, like other successful brands in the digital era, is working to blend the online and brick-and-mortar shopping experience to bring consumers the best of both worlds. That’s why, after a successful test run at select dealerships, Audi leadership decided to roll out digital shopping experiences to more than 2,000 dealerships around the world, including in Los Angeles, Singapore, and Berlin.

Crucial to the effort would be rock-solid Wi-Fi connectivity with robust security and centralized administration capabilities—all to meet the demands of luxury car shoppers expecting seamless, glitch-free digital experiences in the showrooms.

Among the potential new digital features at Audi showrooms was a virtual configurator to let customers outfit 1:1-scale models and see cars that a dealer might not have on the lot. To make it work successfully the dealerships would need hassle-free networks that administrators at Audi’s Germany headquarters could configure and maintain remotely.

Since the current dealer setups needed consistent in-person maintenance by local IT experts, Thomas Bayerl, Audi’s head of Digital Business Infrastructure and Processes, went shopping for new gear to upgrade their system.

Remotely managed connectivity

After less-than-impressive interactions with a number of vendors, Bayerl ordered free trial hardware from Cisco Meraki. A test of the Meraki devices in Audi's in-house IT test lab sold him on the brand.

From there, Bayerl ordered up wireless APs, switches, and security appliances, had his team configure them in the cloud through the Meraki dashboard, and shipped them off to dealerships around the world. Once they arrived, onsite managers simply had to plug them in to receive the appropriate settings and begin working.

That ease of use was exactly what Bayerl was looking for, especially since many dealerships have no IT staff on premises. “All Cisco Meraki products that we used so far just work,” he recalled. “You configure everything, and they run very well.” 

These days, a team of six IT engineers in Ingolstadt, Germany keeps tabs on Meraki Wi-Fi networks at 2,000 dealerships across the globe.

In the showrooms, customers build virtual cars on tablets and watch them come to life on full-size screens, none the wiser about the deceptively simple networks running behind the scenes, bringing their future cars to life.

To learn more, visit meraki.com/worksimple.

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