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LKQ Euro Car Parts goes full throttle with Zendesk as part of customer-first commitment

LKQ Euro Car Parts shares its business transformation journey with Zendesk, detailing how it’s moved away from a transactional customer service approach to develop an integrated support function that’s at the heart of the business.

LKQ Euro Car Parts
“When I first arrived in customer service, it was very transactional. Now it’s a real support function which is used to drive engagement with customers. Our reporting has evolved immensely to help make that happen.”

Tom Robinson

Head of Customer Service at LKQ Euro Car Parts

“We implemented Zendesk five years ago when our email, phone and chat support were all separate. Bringing everything together has been a game changer for us.”

Tom Robinson

Head of Customer Service at LKQ Euro Car Parts

HQ

Tamworth, UK

Founded

1978

Agents

42

60%

reduction in first reply time

56%

reduction in volume YoY

£1M

cost efficiency saving per year

20%

improvement in CSAT

LKQ Euro Car Parts

The start of their journey

When it comes to online customer service, LKQ Euro Car Parts, the market leader in car and commercial vehicle part supply, has been on quite a journey over the last five years.

Tom Robinson became Head of Customer Service for LKQ Euro Car Parts five years ago, after 6 years working in the business’s 280-strong branch network.

Tom joined at a time when the business was starting to look for a new customer service solution that would bring email, phone and chat facilities together onto a single, integrated platform.

“When I first came into the team, it was difficult to see who was doing what, and where individual tasks were up to,” he recalls. “Customer service was really disconnected, especially for a business that was committed to making changes and putting the customer at the heart of its decision making.”

After a brief RFP process, in 2017, Robinson and his team onboarded Zendesk Chat and Support to immediately link their email and chat functions, which proved transformative from day one.

Fast forward a few years, and when Covid hit, it was clear that additional functionality was needed. Tom and his team were put to the ultimate test when enquiries surged from 2,500 to 14,000 per day.

“With huge spikes like that, everything starts to snowball,” Robinson explains. “If we were missing a first call or message, within five minutes we’d have those customers contacting us through the chat function too, which ties multiple agents up with a single issue.

“It was a challenging time, and it was the catalyst for us to start major projects involving Zendesk.”

The journey to self-service

It was time to get under the hood of what the wider Zendesk suite could offer, and to introduce self-service.

Data captured through Zendesk over the previous four years helped the team take its customer support up a gear, with improved FAQs and the use of Help Center to build robust knowledge bases and community forums, with bots built into workflows, so customers could start helping themselves – saving both time and money.

The new self-support function went live in April 2022. “It took about a year, and along the way, we worked with Zendesk to develop the Chat product, make the most of Flow Builder, and create an agent workspace. And great things happened.”

By simply switching on Help Center, the team saw an immediate reduction in contacts of 30%, which has since grown to 41%. And Robinson believes he can shave a further 20% off in the coming months as the team makes tweaks to content and flows.

Given they are now so confident in self-service, the company has removed all phone and email contacts from its website and is directing every customer through Help Center first.

The empathy challenge

Robinson explains how one of the biggest challenges of dealing with customers remotely is showing empathy. “14 years in retail prepares you for anything,” he says. “In-person, you can read a customer’s body language. Some people walk up to you on the shop floor, and you immediately know there’s a problem.”

But adapting in-person empathy for phone and email communication takes skill. “You have to identify the sentiment of the customer very quickly, from a lot of information. That’s why I want all our customers to go through what we built in Flow Builder for our chat bots, so that we know upfront what they want, whether it’s a serious issue or a light chase. Routing them into pots enables me to match the best agents to each individual complaint.”

“We’re only scratching the surface of what we can do with self-service,” adds Robinson, who explains how he is about to migrate the company’s existing phone provider onto Zendesk Talk. Doing so will give the team a completely holistic view of the customer, as well as introducing proactive pop-up help messages on webpages featuring complicated products.

“We’re turning support as a cost centre on its head – we can be a revenue driver if we position it right.”

Internal self-help

The next step is to leverage Zendesk for internal questions. The company has grown at an impressive rate, from 90 to 280 branches in the last 10 years, which has resulted in a lot of change, with staff and their knowledge moving between different geographical locations and business functions.

Business transformation to customer-first

By using Zendesk throughout the business, Robinson believes the customer support team has been a key part of its overall business transformation strategy.

“When I first arrived in customer service, it was very transactional. Now it’s a real support function which is used to drive engagement with customers. Our reporting has evolved immensely to help make that happen.”

He adds: “The business is constantly evolving to be a true customer-first partner. In customer service, we want to be at the heart of that transformation.”

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