Dealer Internet lead response falls short of consumer expectations

Feb 10, 2011

A new study, The 2010 ResponseLogix Mystery Shopping Study, shows that significant shortfalls remain in the speed and comprehensiveness of dealer responses to Internet leads.

Said Tom Mohr, ResponseLogix CEO, “The surprising results of this study indicate dealers are still in the beginning stages of driving the necessary improvements to Internet sales practices that ensure optimal sales results.”

The study, performed inOctober, 2010, analyzed the responses of more than 1,300 dealerships across the United States. It confirmed that the significant majority of Internet replies fell well short of the minimum standard consumers expect, as indicated in past consumer studies carried out by CapGemini, J.D. Power and others.

Past studies show that conversion can double when a consumer receives a response within 20 minutes. Consumers want a price quote, not a generic non-quote response. They seek vehicle details in the quote, and want to see multiple vehicle alternatives. Yet the 2010 Mystery Shopping Study revealed that less than 1% of responses gave the consumer a multi-vehicle price quote, with full pricing and incentive information, with vehicle details, arriving in 20 minutes or less.

“The fact that so few lead responses meet the consumer’s expectation presents an enormous challenge and opportunity to the auto dealer community,” Mohr said. “The dealer that masters these best practices will gain a decisive advantage over his competitors.”

The study showed that 12% of leads received no response at all, 58% of responses did not include the price and that 30% of the responses had price quotes. The median response time was 3 minutes, mostly driven by automatic “auto-responders” triggered by the dealership’s CRM system. For price quotes, however, the median response time was 1.1 hours. 70% of the price quote responses included just one vehicle. Only 2% of the price quotes included multiple vehicles, with vehicle details and incentive information included. The percentage of price quotes received in under 20 minutes that included this level of detail was below 1%.

“The arrival of a lead is the ‘Moment of Truth,’” Mohr said. “The consumer has put three to four dealers on trial. The dealer who can respond with a multi-vehicle price quote right away, showing full vehicle detail and accurate pricing and incentive information, will establish the customer’s trust and win the day. Dealers who bring together the tools and processes necessary to execute successfully on this key success factor will outperform the dealers who don’t.”