LSH Auto Taps 8×8 To Transform Customer Experience

This syndicated post originally appeared at No Jitter.

UK-based Mercedes-Benz dealer LSH Auto recently revamped its customer service operations by implementing 8×8’s contact center solution. Here are some details on the fruits of their labors.

While business priorities ebb and flow year over year, improving customer experience (CX) comes up again year after year. Through a pandemic, social changes, climate issues, and more, CX initiatives seem to bubble to the top of every IT leader’s to-do list. This is because CX has been the top brand differentiator for the better part of a decade. Brands that nail CX become market leaders and those that do not go the way of Radio Shack, Toys R Us, and other notable companies that forgot about the importance of the customer.

UK-based Mercedes-Benz dealer LSH Auto recently revamped its customer service operations by implementing 8×8’s contact center solution. This change was driven by the need to overcome challenges with the company’s legacy on-premise systems and multiple vendors. The two companies held a joint webinar which shared the details of how they partnered to accelerate LSH’s customer experiences in retail.

Evaluating Vendors

Like many companies, LSH Auto juggled multiple separate telecom vendors, nine in this case, leading to disjointed communications and minimal platform integration. The systems, mostly on-prem, were outdated and lacked analytics. In search of a new contact center solution, LSH Auto was clear about their needs: reporting capabilities, a unified platform, and access to advanced features that were missing in their previous setup. The dealer also wanted third-party integrations, aiming to future-proof its operations.

“We used to have different solutions from many different vendors, and because this was before the age of open application programming interfaces (APIs), they weren’t able to communicate with each other,” said Chris Gensmantel, LSH Auto’s chief information officer, during the webinar.

After evaluating several vendors, LSH Auto chose 8×8 for its strong market presence in the UK and its suite of features that met the above criteria. But what set 8×8 apart was the professionalism and adaptability of its team, which resonated with the dealer’s values. This “partnership approach” was crucial in customizing the solution to the unique needs of the automotive retail business, according to Gensmantel.

Planning and Stakeholder Engagement

When implementing the 8×8 contact center solution, LSH Auto focused on internal planning and stakeholder engagement. LSH Auto worked closely with 8×8’s project management and professional services teams to test and refine the solution during the buildout phase. This allowed the dealer to get the solution up and running quickly.

“In the mid-90s, you’d need a degree with NASA to program a phone system. The great thing about 8×8’s solution is it’s logical, it’s self-explanatory. It’s the first system that my technical engineers and I have worked with where we feel in control,” said Gensmantel.

Improve Operations and Develop New Insights

The results were immediate and significant. One of the most notable improvements was the increase in call answer rates, which jumped from 60 percent to nearly 90 percent, even during peak times. This was attributed to the LSH Auto contact center’s improved call routing capabilities and enhanced performance measurement. The 8×8 solution helped LSH Auto understand how calls were being handled and how much staff was needed, enabling the dealer to allocate resources more effectively and respond to customers quickly.

The 8×8 system also allowed LSH Auto to delve into telecom data analysis, an area the dealer previously had little insight into. LSH Auto was able to set performance goals and get a better handle on employee-customer interactions. Interestingly, the dealer observed decreased inbound traffic due to more efficient call handling. The team proactively made outbound calls, providing customers with information they needed before those customers called the dealer. This approach has further reduced incoming calls, which has had a positive outcome.

The changes didn’t stop there. LSH Auto formed a new engagement team comprising stakeholders from various departments. This team actively experiments with call routing methods, using the 8×8 solution to implement and assess changes quickly. Gensmantel shared an example of the dealer’s new customer experience manager who observed a significant improvement in metrics.

“One of these is the wait time for customers, which has decreased by 50 percent. Her target is to decrease that by another 50 percent. We have not added additional people. We just keep refining and refining and finding better ways to deal with our customers in a shorter period,” said Gensmantel.

Integrating with Third-party Systems

As the automotive retail industry undergoes digital transformation, LSH Auto recognizes the importance of adopting artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Although AI has been met with skepticism, Gensmantel believes it’s an important tool that enhances productivity rather than replaces human intelligence. In contact centers, early AI applications are already demonstrating their ability to alleviate initial customer service bottlenecks by handling preliminary inquiries and freeing agents to handle more complex issues.

“The automotive industry in the UK has been stuck in the dark ages. It’s very difficult to integrate with third-party systems. We are seeing that changing now that new CRM systems are being developed and have open API integrations,” said Gensmantel.

While Gensmantel didn’t specify reasons for not adopting AI, his comment on skepticism would indicate the executives of LSH Auto might not feel comfortable being an early adopter. If this is the case, it’s consistent with my discussions with other IT leaders where business leaders are interested but would like to be fast followers versus being on the cutting edge.

Seamless integration with CRM systems means retailers like LSH Auto can now link customer calls to digital interactions, providing a comprehensive view of the customer journey. This is crucial for understanding the impact of marketing efforts on revenue generation, a key factor for remaining profitable in the future.

Want to know more?

Earlier this year, 8×8 rolled out several new AI-powered features like Intelligent Customer Assistant and Supervisor Workspace and a platform-wide integration with OpenAI. Both Intelligent Customer Assistant and Supervisor Workspace have built-in analytics and seamlessly integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.