and three innovative concepts were selected as the winners. The crowdsourcing concept, the first-of-its-kind for the company, was itself, the top idea submitted by a team of employees during the company's annual global innovation competition.
"Fostering innovation and giving our employees the tools to put great ideas into action is the cornerstone of creating exceptional experiences for our customers," said Geoff Robinson, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Vice-President of Marketing. "But to exceed customer expectations, we have to understand what they are looking for. Our employees’ idea to leverage the current crowdsourcing trend allowed us to do just that."
Through the social media-based contest hosted on Facebook, the company was seeking big ideas, submitted in video or written form, in one of the following three categories:
> Digital Customer Contact: What should digital customer interactions (e.g. personalized/tailored online finance offers, electronic documents/signatures, electronic communications, etc.) and mobility (e.g. connected car, mobile device coverage, etc.) look like by 2020?
> Dealer Finance Experience: Once the perfect vehicle is selected, what would the ideal financing experience look like?
> Future Services: Mercedes-Benz Financial Services currently offers its customers financial, mobility and insurance services. What other services could the company provide customers to enhance their experiences in the future?
First prize: Mercedes-Benz CLA 24-month Lease (value US$ 9,100)
Winner: Praad Kikkeri, Highlands Ranch, CO
Idea: A digital sales concept; via a smartphone application and in-store services, the process of leasing a new vehicle would be completed in an hour or less
Second prize: Mercedes-Benz CLA 13-month Lease (value US$ 6,300)
Winner: Saad Alayyoubi, San Francisco, CA
Idea: A mobile phone app that would make leasing a new Mercedes-Benz as easy as buying a book online
Third prize: Mercedes-Benz Prepaid Visa Card (value US$ 3,000)
Winner: Nicole Rowley, Missouri City, TX
Idea: An automated program that would allow customers to view and purchase recommended vehicles they are pre-approved for in 30 minutes or less