Customer service speed can make or break a dealership’s brand loyalty and long-term growth. On this episode of Inside Automotive, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Jay Baer, speaker, business growth and customer experience research and New York Times Best Selling Author, to explore service efficiency and whether companies can ever be too fast when helping customers in-store or online.
Baer’s findings on customer service speed have been compiled into a small but handy book called “The Time to Win: How to Exceed Your Customers’ Need for Speed,” currently available on Amazon. While researching the book, Baer discovered that buyers have drastically changed in terms of what they prioritize in their shopping experience. Consumers now care much more about their time and how it is spent than ever before. In fact, when it comes to shopping for products and services, two-thirds of all customers surveyed by Baer said speed was just as important as price. “So if you’re thinking about where to rank speed on your list of business priorities,” Baer remarks, “it needs to be towards the top because it’s already towards the top of the priorities of your customers.”
This newfound emphasis on speed has naturally led to changes in consumer preference and what buyers expect from dealership customer service departments. Whereas before, shoppers would spend more time researching deals and products, 50% today will purchase from whoever contacts them first or returns their call regardless of price. The reason behind this statistic, explains Baer, is the relationship between speed and perceived respect. “Today, we are in an environment where we interpret speed as caring,” he notes. “When a business is faster and more responsive, we take that to mean that they care about us, our money and our wellbeing more, and we vote accordingly with our money.”
Speaking broadly, the more time a dealership frees up for a client, the more likely they are to receive that client’s business. The opposite is also true: the more time companies spend taking care of their consumers, the less business they are likely to earn. But while car dealers should take this notion to heart and begin searching for ways to boost customer service efficiency, Baer warns that there are exceptions to this rule. Indeed, there are circumstances where businesses can be too fast when responding to a client. For example, many chatbots are programmed to wait several seconds before responding to customers, even though most platforms are capable of generating instantaneous responses. This is because web users will become suspicious if a chatbot responds too quickly and feel that their questions are not being taken seriously. In other words, when customer service speed is increased for the sake of the brand rather than the buyer experience, clients are likely to notice and feel resentment.
However, even though car dealers should carefully consider its customer service touch points and how speed can affect the consumer experience, most will see more loyalty from buyers if they show respect for their time. As technology continues to alter the relationship between buyer and dealership, Baer notes that responsiveness and efficiency will remain crucial for business success in the future.