Customer success

Cox Automotive uses Pendo to steer its business forward with fast, reliable product data


Increased activity in the product by 39%

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With the mission of making buying, selling, owning, and using cars easier for everyone, Cox Automotive—a family of brands that includes Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book—touches nearly every aspect of the automobile industry. If you’ve ever bought or sold a car, chances are you interacted with one of Cox Automotive’s products or services. 

While their operating model historically included both an in-person and digital presence, the pandemic shifted all operations to digital tools nearly overnight. Although many of their physical locations have since reopened, Cox Automotive remains focused on ensuring their digital experience is top of the line.

“Digital is such an important aspect of business now, and we need to help our clients be successful on our digital platforms,” said Chuck Konfrst, director of user experience at Cox Automotive. The company started leveraging Pendo in 2022 to do just that.

Getting product data and insights at record speed

Pendo is installed on multiple products in the Cox Automotive suite, including Manheim, the largest wholesale auto marketplace in the world. Most notably, Pendo helps Konfrst and team quickly and easily surface product data. “The most exciting thing for us is the speed at which we can get information,” shared Konfrst. “I can be in a meeting with product and engineering and within fifteen minutes, we get data from Pendo to answer our question and help us make a decision.”

“We can be faster, we can be more nimble, we can be more innovative because we get the information faster [with Pendo].”

Chuck Konfrst | Director of User Experience, Cox Automotive

Konfrst explained that in the past, if a product area or feature wasn’t tagged in their web analytics platform, they’d have to tag it and then wait weeks for the data to come in. “The fact that I can go into Pendo, tag a page, and within ten minutes get all the data from a year back is incredible.”

Cox Automotive is also benefiting from Pendo’s ease of use. Konfrst shared that the platform feels approachable and intuitive for product management, engineering, and UX teams without requiring any previous analytics training. “It’s been a game changer for us that we can get data so quickly and with such precision,” said Konfrst. “From a company standpoint, Pendo gives us the ability to make faster decisions.”

Fueling success with targeted in-app messaging

In addition to understanding user behavior, the Cox Automotive team is constantly working to make dealers more effective and efficient on their digital platforms. As Konfrst put it, “If you build it, they will not necessarily come. We need to help [users] understand the tools we’ve built for them so they can buy and sell cars effectively—and Pendo empowers all of that.”

In the past, Cox Automotive had static tours of new capabilities in their product. Since the tours were generic, they often didn’t resonate with clients. For example, the vehicle displayed in a tour might not be a vehicle that a particular dealer would use or buy.

With Pendo, Konfrst and team can use data about their customers—including metadata and behavioral data—to personalize these in-app communications. “If they’re a Ford dealer and they see a Chevy, it could be confusing. If they’re a Ford dealer and see a Ford, they understand it and can move forward,” Konfrst explained. “The power of Pendo in-app messaging is the targeting, and the data that we can use to guide our dealers.”

“Pendo gives us the ability to talk directly to our customers in a way we’ve never been able to before.”

Chuck Konfrst | Director of User Experience, Cox Automotive

Cox Automotive is using Pendo In-app Guides for a variety of purposes across the business, including running marketing campaigns, increasing product engagement, announcing new features, communicating outages, and providing in-product education. No matter the use cases, Konfrst noted the importance of targeting these messages to the right audience.

In another instance, the company had a new product that was available to pilot across many locations. “We were able to target our messaging to just the clients who would be most interested in the product,” Konfrst said. “And we were able to significantly increase adoption of the product and ongoing usage.” As a result of these in-app guides, Konfrst and team increased bidding activity by 39% and drove over 40 net-new bidders on the product in a small (and new) market.

Driving cross-functional Pendo governance

Konfrst also noted that the success of Cox Automotive’s use of Pendo is very much a team effort. They have a cross-functional team—including marketing, operations, user experience, product management, and engineering—that first evaluated multiple tools and chose Pendo. Now, this group serves as the governance team and meets regularly to discuss current processes and any changes that need to be made so they can best leverage Pendo.

“It’s not the tools. It’s how you use the tools that’s important,” Konfrst noted. He went on to say that bringing the right people together and putting a dedicated focus on how the organization can get the most out of Pendo—and what processes they need—has been key. “There is so much opportunity to help customers use the digital tools we provide to them, and Pendo gives us that capability [in a way] that we never had before.”

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