A third of potential customers who start their buying journey with an online enquiry will take their business elsewhere if they do not garner a response within four hours, according to a consumer survey conducted by Dealerweb.
The showroom management system provider polled 1,000 motorists across the UK on their expectations of the vehicle buying process after initiating the buying process with an online enquiry and found that a speedy response was key to a dealer’s success.
A third of buyers (34%) said that they would take their enquiry elsewhere if the dealer did not respond in under four hours and 10% of prospective buyers would walk away after just one hour without a response, according to Dealerweb’s findings
Dealerweb’s research suggests that 49% of potential customers expect a response to an online enquiry from a dealer within one hour.
Half of these – 25% of all vehicle buyers – expect the dealer to respond in under 30 minutes.
James Hill, sales operations director at Dealerweb, said: “Dealers operate in a highly competitive online environment and so speedy responses are crucial if they want to maximise the potential of every enquiry.
“The research clearly suggests that the initial dealer response to an online enquiry sets the tone for the for the customer’s ongoing perception of the dealer and brand.
“A robust online enquiry response process is therefore essential and will lead to an increase in sales conversion.
“Without a fast response, buyers are increasingly inclined to take their custom elsewhere.”
Men are more likely to reward faster dealer responses than women, the research found, with 56% of men and 44% of women saying they would be more likely to follow through with a purchase if their chosen dealer responded to an enquiry in under one hour.
After four hours without a response, 38% of men and 30% of women will take their vehicle enquiry elsewhere.
There was also a clear disparity was found between buyers of volume and premium brand models, with 42% of premium brand buyers suggesting they would take their enquiry to another dealership after four hours without a response, compared to 32% of those enquiring about volume brand products.
And 54% of premium brand prospects admitted they would be more likely to see through a purchase if a dealer responds in under one hour, compared with 48% for volume brand prospects.
The perception that younger, more digitally aware customers expect faster online responses was challenged by the research.
Of those aged 18 and 24-years-old who were surveyed, 23% would look elsewhere if their initial enquiry wasn’t responded to in under four hours. This rises steadily as buyers get older, with the 43% of buyers over the age of 55 likely to turn their back on a dealer taking longer than four hours to respond.