Responding to customers over the internet is increasingly important some automakers are proving to be better than others.
Both Lexus and Subaru have remained in the top one-third of the rankings every year from 2011 to 2014, though there were other brands that performed admirably this year according to the 2014 Pied Piper’s Internet Lead Effectiveness Benchmarking Study. The top three brands on the 2014 list are Lexus, Porsche and Jaguar, while Scion, Mitsubishi and Lexus are the most improved in 2014. Mitsubishi, Scion and Mini sit at the bottom of the list, while Chevrolet is the largest mass-market brand to sit in the bottom five.
“The days of considering the internet as a separate piece of the car business are gone” said Fran O’Hagan, president and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC. “Today the internet is as much a part of the car business as the showroom.”
The study uses mystery shoppers who score dealerships on their responsiveness to internet queries. While the industry average remained the same over last year, almost 64 percent of brands improved their responsiveness.
A majority of companies uses auto-response software to get back to customers, with 78 percent reporting that their response was automated. Just 15 percent of queries were answered from a personal e-mail, while seven percent of those were greeted with no response at all.
Those non-responses came mostly from Chrysler, Infiniti, Kia, Mazda, MINI, Mitsubishi and Scion, all of which didn’t respond to one in every ten internet queries.
Despite this, specific questions are being answered more by dealerships online, with just 27 percent of questions being answered in 2012 compared with 46 percent in 2014.