In one of the busiest plate change months of recent years, 61% of Motors.co.uk dealers were hot on their email response times, compared with 47% in 2012.
These results come from a campaign which saw 100 sales queries sent to a random selection of independent and franchised retailers around the UK.
Not only did the research show that dealers are improving in their management of email enquiries, the response times were also significantly quicker. 98% of those who sent a response did so within the crucial 24hours after receiving the initial enquiry, while the four hour time frame was achieved by over two thirds (69%). 38% hit reply within just one hour of receiving the email.
Managing director of Motors.co.uk Andy Coulthurst said: “We’re really pleased to see that there has been such a marked improvement in the number of dealers who are recognising the importance of engaging with customers via the channels which suit them, including email. In addition, more than two thirds of the dealers who replied to our challenge delivered a good or excellent response, which is incredibly positive news for the motor retail sector.
“Today’s consumer is technology rich and time poor. Whatever the product or service in question, we are all looking to get a useful response from retailers in an appropriate time frame and through a convenient channel in order to allow us to get on and make a decision. Increasingly, consumers will go elsewhere if the customer service they receive is not on a par with their expectations, which means dealers could be missing out on valuable leads if they don’t hit the reply button.
“Not only does an enthusiastic buyer expect a good response, but they also want it quickly. Our latest consumer research shows 59% of interested buyers would expect a response within four hours of contacting a dealership. Taking this into account, dealers should be mindful that their sales teams are also fully equipped to handle queries promptly.”
Of the 61 dealers who responded to the sales enquiry emails, 70% of the replies were good or excellent. This means that the dealer typically introduced themselves, provided contact details and answered the consumer’s questions, either letting them know about availability or offering to source an alternative vehicle. The top performing dealers went even further and personalised their response, asked about part exchange and finance options, or included photos or video of the car in question.