Auto dealerships are faster than other businesses in following up online leads, but there's room for improvement, a new study shows.
The study found that 70 percent of dealerships that responded to leads did so within an hour, while 96 percent of responding dealerships did so within 24 hours. The study was commissioned by Conversica, a lead-engagement software provider with an artificial intelligence technology that responds to leads.
In contrast, 42 percent of other industries took more than a day to respond to online inquiries and only 26 percent responded within an hour. The study looked at industries including automotive, real estate, mortgage lending, insurance, education and brokerage.
Conversica, in August and September, had a secret shopper submit website inquiries or email requests to "contact us" addresses. Responses were tracked and graded on an A to F scale. Conversica rated the results on promptness, persistence, personalization and performance.
Of the 327 companies, including 30 dealerships, that were secret shopped, only one -- Anderson Subaru in Pensacola, Fla. -- received an A in all four categories, said Carl Landers, senior vice president of Conversica.
"Auto dealers were quite good on promptness, persistence and personalization," he told Automotive News.
Although auto dealerships performed well overall, the industry can be even stronger.
For instance, 23 percent of dealerships didn't respond to the secret shoppers at all. And only 9 percent of auto dealerships responded within the five-minute "best-practice window."