Three Tips in Three Seconds: Speed Matters

The biggest driver of customer satisfaction today is speed.


As many have heard by now, the attention span of goldfish is 9 seconds. Human beings are down to 8 seconds. With smart phones and the associated instant gratification, attention spans are decreasing.


According to Google, customers leave a website if the page does not load within 3 seconds. Facebook advises us to tell our Facebook stories within 3 seconds, without sound, in a vertical orientation to capture the customer’s attention. That’s a lot to do without much time to do it.


The saying used to be "only the strong survive.” When did fast become the new strong?


The longer the wait, the greater the dissatisfaction. Delayed gratification exited stage left, and fast smartphones sit front and center.


What are you to do with this as consumers wait on your showroom floor or sit on your service drive? At the dealer level there are at least three things you could consider doing to speed up your customer experience:


  1. Feed the speed monster. Give your customers a clean Wi-Fi experience. No secret passwords. Then routinely test the download and upload speeds via a free app like Speedtest by Ookla to ensure they are working. Post the scores. Keep pace with your bandwidth utilization.  Entertaining their children with iPads and streaming movies is a big win for parents.
  2. Manage expectations without lowering them. If the customer thinks the oil change will be done in 30 minutes and it takes 45, the experience will be a poor one. CSI surveys as well as reviews will reflect the disconnect.

    Just this morning on a flight from San Francisco, the Starbucks’ barista advised the customer behind me, “The food order could take 9 or 10 minutes.” When the customer got the food back in 5 minutes, he was ecstatic, “Great job! You got the food to me in five minutes!” At first, the barista didn’t understand the customer’s reaction until he repeated, “The food order could take 9 or 10 minutes” and continued expressing his appreciation. Editor’s Note: No! Jim was not the customer.

  3. Track the time. Automotive retailers are operational masterminds, but when was the last time their service drive tracked the time it took for same day repairs? Somewhere short of handing customers stopwatches, we can know better by measuring and then shifting the amount of time it takes.


Start by knowing your daily repair order counts, express and main lane, and sales numbers for used and new. Then look into the hourly impact. Connect this with a quick staffing level assessment to determine if you have the highest staffing levels at peak customer times. You’ll likely find some opportunities for better deployment of your staff, which will help speed your customer through your sales process.


Even after implementing these recommendations for your dealership you’re still likely not moving fast enough for today’s consumer.

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