Captive #1 Award 2009

Financial Calculator– Supporting the drive for Amazing Service

My name is Andy Wee, I am based in Singapore and am responsible for the project & program management team as well as innovation initiatives for Center of Competence (CoC) for Financial Services. I have been an employee of the Daimler organisation for 10 years and have worked for the Finance and Controlling team as well as the IT Management team during my Daimler career. The CoC is supporting the IT needs of Daimler Financial Services in the Africa, Asia & Pacific (AAP) region. The services the team provides include project management, service delivery and service operation expertise.

Financial Calculator, why did we do it?

The Financial Calculator was conceptualised with the main objective of providing amazing service to our customers by attracting and wowing them before they even step into our Dealerships. The web-based solution was customised in-house by CoC Financial Services and integrated into the Mercedes-Benz Automotive and Financial Services websites, thus enabling easy access for potential and existing customers.

The Financial Calculator displays a flexible layout with standardized design elements that establishes a consistent look and feel, thereby enabling strong brand reinforcement. Potential retail customers using the calculator will be presented financing options in a dynamic and innovative way. A key value of the calculator is the potential to ‘up-sell’ higher end models previously thought unattainable, based on the combination of different tenures and payment structures.

In June 2008, the Financial Calculator was successfully piloted to Turkey and Singapore. By March 2009, a total of 5 markets including China, Taiwan and Australia were already enjoying the benefits of the solution. The scope of deployment now spreads beyond AAP with deployments to Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark.

Captive #1 Award, from registration to results

When the CoC Financial Services team was formed, it was an aspiration of the team leader, Mr Felix Rimbach, to be part of a team that can be considered ‘The Dream Team’. The vision of the team is simple; the team should have the highest level of know-how and service orientation, be fun to be part of, and provide innovative ideas. The concept of The Dream Team also supports the Great Place to Work initiative that Daimler Financial Services truly believes in and strives to be.

On June 2nd, we received a mail that invited submissions for the 2009 edition of the Captive #1 Award. Written in the mail was the statement “Satisfied customers and dealers are the foundation of our success at Daimler Financial Services; but our long-term success can be guaranteed only if we offer optimal support for our dealers, attractive services and outstanding products.” Having an IT product that was designed to be customer-centric, had just been deployed to our 5th AAP country in our rollout plan, and with an on-going implementation to our 1st non-AAP country in progress, we felt that it was appropriate that we should submit the Financial Calculator to be considered for the award.

Being the team member tasked to drive the innovation initiatives, I started consolidating the necessary feedback and information that was required for submission, as derived from the Captive #1 competition webpage. To emphasize the value that the Financial Calculator provides to our organisation, a set of presentation slides were created as part of the entry. The first part of the presentation describes the functionalities of the Financial Calculator. The second part of the presentation was a storyline illustrating how potential customers can use the Financial Calculator to explore the various financing options and eventually getting greater value for their money. The emphasis of the storyline is to highlight how a simple IT product can provide the greatest opportunity for creating satisfied customers through amazing service.

The entry was to be submitted for the ‘Customer Satisfaction’ Category and the title of initiative was to be named ‘Customer Front End Services: Financial Calculator’.  The submission was finally completed on June 23rd.

We’ve won!!!

On September 15th, a mail was received notifying us that our Financial Calculator was amongst 9 submissions shortlisted for the award. The news was received with joy and yet anxiety. Looking through the other 8 entries, it was clear that competition was going to be tough. Although the team was happy to have been given recognition, there was also a strong sense of confidence that we could just do it. Finally, the news came.

An announcement by the Board of Management was made on September 18th that the ‘Customer Front End Services: Financial Calculator’ entry is the winner of the 2009 Captive #1 Award. This was followed by a personal mail from the Chairman of Daimler Financial Services Mr Juergen Walker to congratulate Mr Rimbach for the success. In true Dream Team fashion, Mr Rimbach accepted the accolades on behalf of the team and promised to raise the bar for next year.

The Captive #1 Trophy and certificates were finally presented to the team by Mr Alwin Epple during his recent visit to the Singapore office. While winning the award was a great feeling, the biggest satisfaction to the team must be the ability to contribute to the success of Daimler Financial Services.

The Dream Team