Partnering with a software provider is a marriage of sorts: It’s not the romance that nurtures a long-term relationship but the consistently proving a “you over me” submission, good listening skills, the rare gift of knowing when to ask the right questions — and trust that each has the other’s back.
For almost any product a car dealer is asked to buy, romance is promised — it will make your life easier and your business more profitable.
Who keeps this romance alive? That would be the nurturing your software partner’s customer support team provides.
It’s incredible how poor customer support will damage buyer satisfaction and retention. On average, support data tells us that satisfaction drops by 15% every time a customer calls back about the same issue. Exceptional support is rare. For those able to deliver it, that efficiency and resolution rate helps a business like a car dealer — or the providers that support them — lead their industries.
For auto groups like the Swickard Auto Group, exceptional support is fundamental to the Swickard culture and success — both by providing it and receiving. The group runs dealerships in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Texas.
Matt Hubiak, the director of preowned operations, explains:
“To deliver the best customer experience, we partner with companies who want to battle alongside us. I want to take their product — along with my employees, technology and my expectations of what hospitality is — to deliver our promise to our customers,” he says.
So not only must a partner’s product work as promised, but it must also be beneficial for a company to use it. “There must be a cost/benefit relationship where the benefit outweighs the cost. And Rapid Recon does that through its time-to-line reconditioning speed promise,” Hubiak adds.
Helping Hubiak manage Swickard dealerships to these expectations are Greg Gunter, asset and reconditioning manager for the group’s stores throughout the Northwest Region and Texas, and Ryan Wetstein, asset and reconditioning manager for its California stores. Swickard operates four stores in Oregon, seven in Washington, 14 in California, two in Alaska and two in Texas, with two more dealerships to be added by year-end.
This hospitality works best where critical partners see themselves as hospitality consignors themselves. The key performance indicator here is the metric Fixed First Time, also known as First Call Resolution, for any support need.
“Many companies promise that, but Rapid Recon has been able to back that up 100% every single time. That commitment by this company and its management has been essential to our ability to deliver on our hospitality promise,” Hubiak says.
Surveys by customer service platform provider SQM note that the industry average first call resolution rate is 70% and 80% as “world-class.” According to customer support data from over 2,000 users of its reconditioning workflow software, Rapid Recon has a consistent Fixed-First-Time rate of 88.4%.
“You quickly find out what’s true about a vendor’s support services because we’re all looking for instant gratification, and an automated reply to keep the customer quiet isn’t,” says Jennifer Moore, director of customer support for Rapid Recon. She previously held roles as a warranty administrator and Master Service Advisor for a Jaguar-Land Rover dealership.
“Rapid Recon has the core understanding of how to take care of their customers, and if we want a change in how we want them to help with our business, the response is always yes. They have great customer support,” Hubiak says.
Auto dealers say fast response to mission-critical questions keeps them working and focused. A support request may be as ordinary as a password reset or a complex steps workflow restructure. For whatever reason, no one wants to wait when a customer calls about a problem.
Jeff Bezos, executive chair of Amazon, echoes Swickard’s strong and continued hospitality inclination. “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts,” Bezos is quoted as having said. “It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
According to HubSpot Research, 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as essential or “very important” when they have a question.
“Nobody else’s support team gets back to me in eight minutes, much less having the request resolved,” says Mike Davis, the general manager for Colorado’s The Faricy Boys Chrysler Jeep, about his relationship with Rapid Recon.
“Their tech support is prompt, responsive and top-notch. Thank you for making my job much easier,” says Chris Bryan, used vehicle sales manager for Beach Ford, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Prompt, courteous and exceptional customer support has always been the DNA of the company Dennis McGinn founded in 2010. “If we were to be known and accepted for anything in this industry, we would be deadly serious about how we supported our users. That’s why dealers continue to tell us we lead the reconditioning market,” McGinn says.
Rapid Recon customer support director Moore understands this passion well: “I want answers, and I want them now; as a team, we put ourselves in the position of the dealer — what kind of response and enthusiasm for solving an issue would I want to receive?” she says. “That’s why, even for a small support team like ours, we strive to make every interaction with customers personal, professional and on fire to resolve issues.”