CDK Global Research Reveals Impacts of Customer Experience Roles in Automotive Retail Industry


CDK Global announced new research findings on the evolving Customer Experience (CX) Manager role in dealerships, specifically how women are finding success in such roles and the overall impact of CX roles on customer retention and dealer success.

For the past several years, CDK has researched key topics influencing women in automotive from both consumer and industry perspectives to surface insights that drive the industry forward.

In response to these findings, CDK undertook both qualitative and quantitative research efforts to better understand how dealerships are actively investing in CX, why women may be drawn to and succeed in this type of role and how CX investments impact customer retention and ultimately dealer success.

These studies conducted by CDK provide material support for the expansion of CX roles within dealerships, the value of hiring women into them and the illumination of a CX growth path that can translate to big wins for dealers, their customers and women in automotive.

“Combined, these studies tell a compelling story about why women are natural leaders within the CX organization and how mature CX organizations greatly impact customer retention and satisfaction within the dealership,” said John Hickey, executive vice-president, North America Customer Experience, CDK. “Based on the research, there’s no question that the automotive retail industry benefits from the expanded role of women and their masterful influence in CX.”

Through in-depth qualitative interviews with women in dealership CX roles (How Women are Evolving Dealership Customer ExperiencesCDK found:

  • CX managers serve as cross-functional resources, responsible for resolving customer problems, gathering and understanding customer data, personalizing experiences and making customers feel comfortable.
  • The female CX managers interviewed attributed their success in the role to certain leadership traits and behaviors, such as compassion, empathy and communication, including deep customer listening.
  • CX roles vary by dealership CX maturity. From tactical and operational roles to leaders and strategic partners, illuminating a potential career trajectory for women.

Through a large scale quantitative survey with dealership customers (Dealership Customer Experience Survey), CDK also found:

  • Customers who interacted with a CX manager were significantly more likely to recommend a dealership than those who did not. (Measured using Net Promoter Score (NPS), ultimately resulting in +18 points).
  • This impact is magnified for female customers (+25 NPS) compared to male customers (+12 NPS).
  • Of those interacting with a CX manager, nearly all found the role to be very or extremely important (94 per cent) and reported high likelihood of repeating business with the store visited in the future (97 per cent).
  • There is a significant opportunity to expand the number of CX manager roles generally and to expand the number of women in these roles.
  • Only 33 per cent of respondents reported interacting with a CX manager.
  • Two-thirds of respondents who had interacted with a CX manager reported that the person in this role was male.

CDK is conducting ongoing research to learn how dealers can make a twofold investment in women and their customers through the growth and development of CX roles.

“This research helps demonstrate how dealerships, their customers and women in automotive benefit, which is a clear win for the industry,” said Kathy Gilbert, director, customer success, CDK. “Proving relevance through research allows dealers to make data-driven decisions and take actions that improve profitability.