The 2012 Pied Piper Propsect Satisfaction Index (PSI) Internet Lead Effectiveness (ILE) benchmarking study compares industry sales success with its own “mystery shopping” results, and the good news is that from 2011 to 2012, two-thirds of the 34 automotive industry brands that were tested showed higher scores, with an average response time to customer e-mails of within 24 hours, 78% of the time.
Most companies now rely on auto-responder systems to initially answer customers, with 78% of first customer contact coming from an auto-responder, and just 18% of replies coming from a real human being. Ten percent of the time customers report that they get no response at all. On the other side of this issue, companies like Mercedes-Benz respond to its customer by way of a phone call 74% of the time.
A personalized touch is what people are seeking now a days when buying a car, because “Simply responding to all customer internet inquiries is the first step,” says Fran O’Hagan the President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC. “Include an auto response to promote the dealership and add a salesperson’s personal touch, and today a dealership will outperform three out of four competitors.”
The Chrysler group and Ford Motor Company showed the most improvement from last year, obviously feeling the heat their Japanese competitors have put on the American companies to take a more personalized approach when dealing with questions and concerns from the public.