Direct Connect Secret Shopper – Lead Response times for Automotive Dealerships
Direct Connect conducted a comprehensive study to measure the average lead response time for automotive dealerships across Australia and New Zealand.
The study was designed to analyse the speed to lead response times for dealerships to respond to online leads.
The data set consisted of over 600 dealerships and represented 42 different automotive vehicle brands.
From speaking with hundreds of automotive industry stakeholders – which include dealer principals, sales managers, and marketing managers – the industry response standard is quoted to be approximately 1-2 hours. We set out to measure how accurate that was, and report on our findings.
THE FOCUS OF THE STUDY
The study aimed to benchmark the actual time it takes for dealerships to respond to online leads that are submitted through various channels, at different times of the day.
Potential customers that submit leads to various dealerships expect a swift response. Long response times can be frustrating for consumers, and they might choose to opt-out of their decision to purchase. This represents a lost opportunity for the dealership, and a poor user experience for the customer.
During the course of this study, we tracked responses across various channels, namely: phone, email, and SMS.
Given its significance to relationship building, our primary interest resided in tracking phone calls to measure the lead response times of each dealership.
LEADS CATEGORISED BY TIME
In order to establish a benchmark for a ‘fair and reasonable’ market average for lead response times, three leads were sent to each dealership. To avoid time bias, each lead was sent at a different time of the day, and at least 24 hours apart.
The leads were sent out within the following bands:
- 1 lead was submitted in the morning business hours (9 AM – 12 PM)
- 1 lead was submitted in the afternoon business hours (2 PM – 5 PM)
- 1 lead was submitted after-business hours (7 PM – 8 AM)
LEADS CATEGORISED BY ENQUIRY TYPE
In order to solicit a response, the leads were submitted through high-value channels online. These were the communications channels used:
- ‘Book A Test Drive’ pages on dealer websites or their custom ‘Enquiry Forms’ on specific stock listing pages
- Industry-leading automotive live chat provider: Drive Chat
- Third-party aggregate websites, such as GumTree and Autotrader and Facebook.
For clients that did not have DriveChat and/or were not found on AutoTrader or GumTree, additional leads were sent through the dealership website so that a total of 3 leads per dealership was sent.
When the results were accumulated, over 1,800 leads had been submitted to more than 600 dealerships across Australia and New Zealand.
The Results – Lead Response Times for Automotive Dealerships
The lead response time audit revealed a severe discrepancy in the automotive dealership market. As opposed to the industry quoted ‘1-2 hour’ response time, the actual results presented a very different story.
The survey results show:
The average response time to online leads is 12hrs and 45mins (calendar hours)
The average response time to online leads is 4hrs and 42mins (business hours)
Astonishingly only 33% of leads submitted received a phone call within seven days.
This means that 67% of online leads do not receive a phone call within seven days.
HOW PROMPT WERE THE PHONE CALL RESPONSES?
In a hyper-competitive industry, it is imperative for automotive dealerships to be proactive in how leads are handled and responded to. Speed to Lead is becoming more of a focus for Dealerships, and it’s easy to see why/
According to a study by Inside Sales:
50% of the customers buy from the company that responds first.
Of the 1,800 leads submitted to Australian Automotive Dealerships, only 118 leads received a response by phone within a 30-minute window.
For a dealership to be able to provide exemplary customer service, it is important that leads are responded to immediately.
THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND “TOP 10” BRANDS BASED ON RESPONSE RATE
The response rate can be described as the percentage of leads that received a phone call. Brands in the Top 10 are the ones that actually responded to submitted queries.
Here’s the complete list for the Top 10* brands, listed in order of highest lead response rates:
- HSV had a lead response rate of 66.00%
- Volvo had a lead response rate of 53.33%
- Honda had a lead response rate of 50.00%
- Porsche had a lead response rate of 48.48%
- Audi had a lead response rate of 46.67%
- Ford had a lead response rate of 44.83%
- Toyota had a lead response rate of 44.79%
- Mazda had a lead response rate of 42.42%
- BMW had a lead response rate of 41.67%
- Alfa Romeo had a lead response rate of 40.00%
THE AUSTRALIAN “TOP 10” BRANDS FOR LEAD RESPONSE TIME
The list of brands that featured the quickest average lead response time by phone call.
- Hino had an average lead response time of 16 minutes and 30 seconds
- SsangYong had an average lead response time of 1 hour and 20 minutes
- Fuso had an average lead response time of 1 hour and 46 minutes
- Nissan had an average lead response time of 2 hours and 39 minutes
- Holden and HSV had an average lead response time of 5 hours and 36 minutes
- Audi had an average lead response time of 6 hours and 3 minutes
- MG had an average lead response time of 8 hours and 15 minutes
- Mazda had an average lead response time of 9 hours and 28 minutes
- Volkswagen had an average lead response time of 9 hours and 56 minutes
- Volvo had an average lead response time of 10 hours and 24 minutes
LEAD RESPONSES RECEIVED BY CHANNEL
The lead response time was tracked and measured through phone calls, email, and SMS. Out of all the leads that were responded to, the dealerships most common method of lead response was a phone call, followed by email and then SMS responses.
Some leads received contact attempts from multiple channels.
Here is a breakdown of the responses received by the communication channel:
527 leads were responded to by phone call
427 leads were responded to by email
274 leads were responded to by SMS
From 1800 leads, there was 427 leads that did not receive any response at all.
About Direct Connect
Direct Connect is lead conversion software that allows automotive dealerships to improve their speed to lead by converting online leads into inbound phone calls.
When a potential customer submits an online form, Direct Connect converts the information on the form into an immediate phone call to the business.
Using a “digital whisper,” the system will read that information out to the salesperson and invite them to “press 1” to be connected to the customer.
For the potential customer, it means they no longer have to wait for an average of 12 hours and 45 minutes for the dealership to respond to their lead inquiry (if they are the one in three who receives a call at all).
With Direct Connect, the dealership can be calling the potential customer within 60 seconds to answer their questions, provide assistance, or offer them a test drive.
The impact that this has on conversion rates is significant!
Interested in more information? Contact us now!