Nearly 60% of consumers only pick the phone up when they are ready to make a new car purchase.
According to recent data released by Complete Automotive Solutions (CAS), part of the Manheim Group, these are not timewasting calls either, with 75% of buyers only enquiring about four or less vehicles when sourcing their next car.
The same data from CAS also identified that just 34% of dealer sales executives were able to answer basic enquiries from customers regarding stock availability and vehicle specification.
More than 60% of unanswered callers never ring dealers back.
Mark Hampson, commercial director at CAS, said: “With more people going online to research their next car, it could be suggested that the day of the telephone is almost over.
“However, it couldn’t be further from the truth; the phone remains hugely important and should not be ignored. Although, consumers use the internet to build up their product knowledge, car buyers will tend to pick the phone up to arrange a test drive or find out additional information before they make a purchase.
“As a ‘connected’ society, we are an increasingly demanding population and if we don’t get the desired response straight away, we will look elsewhere. This means that some dealers could be handing over sales to their competition by failing to get the basics right.
“Therefore it is crucial that sales staff have a good knowledge of their stock and are quick to respond to customer enquiries. Customer service remains hugely important to a dealer’s reputation, which can be wiped out in an instant online with a negative review.”