Vehicle service and MoT outlets are at increased risk of losing business if they fail to respond rapidly to online aftersales enquiries, according to new independent research commissioned by GForces.
After submitting an enquiry online, almost a quarter (24%) of the 2,000 survey respondents said they would only be willing to wait for up to two hours for an answer before they took their business elsewhere.
A further 18% said they would wait between two and four hours. Only 16% said they would be willing to wait more than 24 hours.
In terms of age of respondent, least patient are those over 55 (30% only willing to wait up to two hours), most patient are those under 24 years (13%).
The results are published in the second stage in a series of GForces aftersales surveys carried out by independent specialist research organisation, OnePoll.
The survey examines car owners’ behaviours and preferences when it comes to researching and transacting vehicle service and maintenance work.
“Expectations are extremely high for rapid response rates to online enquiries, and with so much competition in the aftersales sector, motor retailers clearly can’t afford to keep their customers and prospects waiting,” said Tim Smith, group strategy director at GForces.
The survey also reveals the factors influencing motorists’ choice of aftersales outlet.
Price proved to be the most important factor, with a third of respondents identifying it as the biggest single issue governing their choice of outlet to carry out service and MoT work on their car.
Those aged 25-34 are the most price-sensitive (it is the most important factor for 44% of them).
Those over 55 are the most likely age group to choose the outlet based on it specialising in their brand of car (26%, contrasting with just 9% for those aged 25 to 34), as well as having previous positive customer experience (36%, compared to just 20% of those 25 to 34 years old).
Location is identified as the single most important factor in choice of service outlet by only 15% of respondents.
“Identifying the preferences of consumers is invaluable for delivering the best possible customer service,” added Smith. “For example, we have also discovered that the morning is the most popular time for consumers to make contact to schedule a service or MoT, favoured by over half of respondents to our survey.
"Mapping patterns like this helps dealers better prepare for peak periods in inbound enquiries and avoid business going elsewhere.”
Regarding favoured times for making an aftersales enquiry, there are significant differences for different age groups. 60% of those aged 45 to 54, and 75% of those over 55 years prefer making a booking in the morning, whereas this is just 33% for those under 24.
Lunchtime is the period favoured most by the under 24s (34%).