By Kayla Arp, Client Support Director at Dealertrack DMS
When 2020 began, my team did what most teams did—we quickly transitioned to working from home with an expectation that we would hunker down for a few weeks until things sorted themselves out. As the weeks turned to months, we saw that we didn’t need to worry about our ability to take care of our dealership partners, but we weren’t prepared for the coming nationwide shift in work habits and expectations. As the leader of DMS Support, watching the world transition to a long-term remote model totally changed the way I look at work, my team members, and, in turn, the way I look at customer and technical support. If people can work from anywhere, why can’t support meet our clients wherever they are?
Today, far removed from the beginnings of the virtual work revolution, we all understand that business doesn’t just happen in one place and my team quickly realized that support doesn’t have to either. The wisdom in shifting support to align with the new way of doing business quickly became clear. We developed and continue to evolve a new sense of urgency and flexibility around helping our dealer clients through their challenges and doing it through their preferred channels.
Strengthening Traditional Support Channels
Even in the midst of economy-wide changes, there are many dealers that prefer to receive product and technical support through traditional channels, and Dealertrack DMS is more than happy to oblige. We’ve always had the reputation of being a proactive partner with a very favorable dealer-to-support-agent ratio. With multiple direct support lines and a large force of product-savvy agents, our dealer partners can feel confident in their ability to reach live help without any trouble. When we are resolving issues through the phone, we make it a priority to meet our client’s where they are with screen sharing when needed to help us troubleshoot or providing training on complex issues. When we are resolving issues outside of the phone channel but it is becoming too complex for that channel, we reach out via phone to expedite the resolution. By leaning into flexibility and embracing the mindset of removing effort from the client whenever possible, we are evolving how we have looked at single channel resolutions in the past.
“Year to date, we’ve had over 4,000 discussions with our clients on DMS360 and there have been more than 18,000 articles viewed by clients. Many of those consuming content on the site never have to open a support ticket or reach out through another channel, which indicates that they’re finding answers to their questions quickly and through their preferred channel.” – Kayla Arp, Director of technical client services for Dealertrack DMS
Bolstering Our Virtual Support Business
As a leading technology provider, we’ve always empowered dealers to get help online, but the massive digital shifts of 2020 and 2021 made virtual options all the more important. Our online support community, known as DMS360, truly sets us apart and is a great illustration of our dedication to being a great partner. DMS360 allows us to share content that walks dealers through DMS functionality. Best of all, my team and its content aren’t the only resources available through DMS360—the platform also encourages dealers to ask questions of each other and to share experiences in the discussion forums.
Of course, DMS360 makes it easy to submit support cases, but its purpose goes beyond solving immediate problems. The idea of training users and developing product experts is central to our culture at Dealertrack DMS. We aren’t content to just solve the issue that a client is experiencing today. We want to prevent future problems and product challenges. That’s why the platform features training videos for every department and virtually every role within the dealership.
Year to date, we’ve had over 4,000 discussions with our clients on DMS360 and there have been more than 18,000 articles viewed by clients. Many of those consuming content on the site never have to open a support ticket or reach out through another channel, which indicates that they’re finding answers to their questions quickly and through their preferred channel.
Extending In-Person Support
Making online and other remote support options more friendly doesn’t mean giving up on person-to-person support, especially for a company that values partnership as much as we do. In fact, the unique challenges of this year have presented exciting opportunities for us to meet with clients and to help them work through the rapidly shifting landscape of consumer expectations. For example, we had a team on site with a dealer group to help them move to an entirely paperless process for the first time. And along with our in-person support, we invested our time and expertise to develop additional videos and knowledge articles about the topic, which now live on DMS360.
Enhancing Our Omnichannel Support
With any luck, business and society will soon return to some form of normalcy. As they do, we are looking forward to defining a new normal for product and technical support, rather than returning to the way we used to do things. We’re now focused on offering omnichannel support so that our dealer partners can find answers and solutions anytime and through their preferred channels. Our shift in thinking has already produced clear results. Year to date, 97% of our dealer clients say that DMS support made it easy to resolve their issues. We’re excited for a future omnichannel support and we’ll keep striving to enhance, improve, and offer the level of support we’ve always been known for.
About Kayla Arp
Kayla Arp is the director of technical client services for Dealertrack DMS. She has been at Cox Automotive for nine years, with experience in client operations and support for various brands, including Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. Prior to coming to Cox Automotive, she spent a decade managing contact centers for a large portfolio of clients across the retail and food industries. Kayla has a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership, a Green and Yellow Belt in Lean Six Sigma, and is working toward a Master of Business Administration. Along with her husband Gage and her dog Vida, she loves hiking, mountain biking, and exploring national parks in her RV.