Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura dealerships ranked highest in the 2012 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index® (PSI®) Internet Lead Effectiveness(™) (ILE™) Benchmarking Study, which measured auto dealership responsiveness to customer inquiries received over the internet. Study rankings by brand were determined by the Pied Piper PSI process, which ties "mystery shopping" measurement and scoring to actual industry sales success.
Industry-wide performance improved substantially from 2011 to 2012, with two-thirds of the 34 auto brands recording higher scores. In 2011, dealerships on average responded to customer inquiries within 24 hours 64% of the time, improving to 78% of the time on average in 2012.
Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Group LLC brands showed the most improvement from the previous year, with Ford, Lincoln, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealerships improving the most, along with Kia dealerships.
Today most auto dealerships rely on "Auto Responder" software to generate an automatic email reply to customer inquiries based upon information gleaned from the customer inquiry. The study showed that 72% of customer inquiries were initially answered using an auto responder, while the first response was a personal email 18% of the time, and there was no dealership reply of any kind 10% of the time.
The study measured 37 different combinations of dealership replies relying on automated and/or personal responses. The most common dealership reply, occurring 16% of the time, was a simple auto response promising that a salesperson would be in touch soon, followed by a personal email from a salesperson. Dealerships that follow this "simple" process on average achieved a PSI-ILE score of 66; higher than any current brand average score. Other effective dealership processes included both a "rich" auto response promoting the dealership and specific vehicles, as well as a personal response to answer questions and encourage next steps.
What do you think? When you’ve submitted an internet request to one of our dealers, how long did it take them to respond to you with a personal response? Were all of your questions answered in a timely manner? Let us know in the comments box below!