An Interview with Richard Counihan, Enprecis Founder and CEO
Richard Counihan has more than a decade of experience in both the retail and manufacturing sides of the automotive industry. His program design experience includes the overall strategic responsibility for Ford’s award-winning, web-based internet sales training program, L2E (Learn to Earn).
Richard also served as a senior executive at Percepta, a joint venture between Ford and Teletech that handled global customer service for Ford.
His involvement with Enprecis grew out of a customized Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) program that improved quality scores for a major Japanese automaker by ten positions, demonstrating the power of highly specialized approaches to measuring customer satisfaction.
Enprecis received the 2012 Washington State Emerging Trader of the Year Award from the World Trade Club. What does your company do?
Founded in 2006, Enprecis is an emerging data services provider for the global automotive industry.
Our product line helps connects vehicle owners and manufacturers across multiple feedback channels throughout the stages of vehicle purchase, initial ownership, ongoing service, and repurchase evaluation.
Enprecis Continuous Quality Insight (CQI) technology makes it possible to identify issues, improve satisfaction, and design better vehicles faster than ever before.
What is a key principle of your company’s success?
A. Enprecis’ success has stemmed from our unwavering focus on the customer. Because building cars is a highly expensive, complex, and competitive endeavor, it can be easy for automakers to focus on developments and challenges in design, manufacturing, and technology – instead of on the customer.
We offer customer-focused educational materials that correspond directly to problems that customers report through our surveys. Our global focus, with our survey and reporting platforms available in multiple languages and used in more than 10 countries, has been critical to bringing a deep understanding of the customer to multiple automotive markets.
Is there a recent breakthrough that makes you proud?
A. We are making considerable progress with machine translation, which rapidly translates global vehicle owners’ comment into the language(s) used by the manufacturer’s automotive engineers and quality executives.
This breaks the language barrier and allows engineers in any market to develop a relationship with customers around the world. Car parts may be somewhat standardized between countries, but customer opinions are not, and we have found striking variation in the features that consumers value most between different markets, even within the same country.
Do you see opportunities for your business in China or other parts of Asia?
A. China is our largest market outside of the United States, as well as the largest market for global auto sales and manufacturing. We see significant additional opportunity in South Korea, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. As cars become more common and more desired in emerging markets, automakers need to develop a deep understanding of the customer experience.
What suggestions would you offer to businesses in China that might want to do more business with the United States?
A. Three suggestions:
- The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll understand what needs to be done to be successful.
- Take advantage of existing industry connections and local business organizations to get started, then build your business based on the relationships you establish and the information you gather.
- Recognize that consumer needs will be different in different markets, and that what has already worked for your company in the past or in a specific market may or may not work elsewhere.
Is there some obstacle that you overcame in doing business in China?
A. There are many challenges to doing business in China, but there are also just as many (if not more) opportunities. If you are committed to the market, then you’ll find out how to be successful. Enprecis has benefited from the input of many dedicated employees as well as the determination of local staff to understand and cater to the Chinese market.
What are you most proud of, in terms of your work at Enprecis?
A. I am proud to have assembled a team of hardworking and knowledgeable individuals who are committed to combining technological innovation with a focus on the customer. The Enprecis journey began with pilot programs in 2004 and it’s gratifying to see years of hard work pay off not only for the company, but also for our clients and their vehicle-owning customers.
Where can we learn more about Enprecis?
A. Visit http://www.enprecis.com/. Download a PDF of the Enprecis Success Story and learn how support from the Washington State Department of Commerce helped this automotive research provider get a foothold in China.