Give Customers the Gift of Time
Jeff Beals
| 9 February 2022

Give Customers the Gift of Time

How many people still work the typical 9 to 5? If you’re like many Americans, odds are you’re working more than you’re clocking.

It turns out readily available technology, partnered with a global pandemic, has propelled even the strictest of clock-watchers towards constant email checking, instant responding and perpetual multitasking from dawn until dusk. With our offices in our dining rooms and attached to our hips, we’re inclined to overcommit and underestimate our time.

Businesses are seeing customers demand everything from food to computers and even vehicles be provided faster and hassle-free. They’re often wedging in their shopping between Zoom calls and picking up the kids from school. And since we’re conditioned to have access to anything we want at a moment’s notice, we get frustrated as soon as the smallest roadblock occurs. Evidence suggests that increasing technology increases impatience. One study showed that 50% of people hang up the phone if they’re on hold for one minute or less.

Time is a precious commodity, and no one wants to waste it. And in an era where impatience runs high, customer service teams are finding themselves challenged by people with low tolerance and high tempers.

How can we meet our customers’ needs while still maintaining productivity? The CDK Global Customer Care team is focused on this new sense of urgency and giving our customers what they want most: their time.

Here are a few ways you can give the gift of time to your customers.

Don’t Trip the Trigger

Research from a study by OnePoll shares that “the general population is struggling on a daily basis to remain patient when confronted with any form of delay. They are triggered easily and have a small window of tolerance.”

For many people, entering a dealership for sales or service can raise their normal level of anxiety. You need to be ahead of that ticking window of intolerance that might be under the surface or on full display.

How can you keep the situation calm? Build relationships. Take time in front of every interaction to understand your customer and avoid any triggers that may come along. A rapport with someone allows you to transfer emotion. And should emotions become heated, this connection will help keep everyone on the same friendly page.

Meet the Demand for Instant Results With Empathy

Wakefield Research revealed that 72% of people in its study push an elevator button that is already lit, hoping it will come faster.

Similarly, car buyers want a hassle-free experience, and they want it now. When an issue arises, quickly isolate the problem and try to identify with your customer’s viewpoint. Take a moment to show that you recognize how a problem has caused this person to lose valuable time.

Empathy invites people to lower their walls and facilitates a greater opportunity for mutual resolution. That also allows breathing room for you to use the tools at your disposal to solve the problem. Even if you’ve built a terrific rapport with your customer, you still need to do the job efficiently or they will revert to that place where they want to push the elevator button again.

Be Proactive to Be Productive

In customer service, we often engage with people who are frustrated, annoyed or downright angry, primarily because their daily life is being delayed unexpectedly. After you solve each case, ask yourself, “how could our company solve this issue before it happens to give customers more time back?”

One thing CDK does is provide technological tools and educational resources for our products to improve the ease of use for our customers. For you, perhaps it’s choosing to utilize live-person interactions instead of online chats to truly understand the issue.

You should always examine past interactions to help you identify future problems before they come through the door. With resolutions ready in your toolbox, your team is armed to provide exceptional service.

Make It Right by Them

The biggest destroyer of a relationship is a bad transaction, but a sincere apology can be the best antidote. Accepting that the customer is upset, not taking it personally and apologizing for their inconvenience is a fundamental step towards good customer service.

It's all about how you handle the situation. Use words that express, "I’m sorry you had that experience." Don’t try to explain how or why it happened. That’s not relevant to the other party and comes across like you’re making an excuse. They simply want it made right.

Train your team to take it one step further by asking two more questions: “Did we get your issue handled? Is there anything else we can do for you today?"

When you correct the specific problem quickly and without excuse, you’re telling your customers you respect the time they may have lost while promising they won’t lose more in the future. Time gained means happier people and the hope that they will share their positive experience.

At CDK, we believe it’s all about how fast we can deliver a lifeline to make things more convenient for our dealer customers by tackling their pressing issues. And by getting back that time, you will have more of it to focus on and meet the needs of your own customers.

Jeff Beals
Jeff Beals

Jeff Beals is senior vice president of Customer Delivery at CDK Global.
Jeff and his team focus on consistently delivering high levels of support for dealer and OEM customers through every interaction they have with CDK. He also spent nearly a decade in leadership roles at Elead, an industry-leading customer relationship management (CRM) software with a long history of exceptional service, prior to it becoming a valuable part of CDK’s suite of automotive retail solutions.