The data, taken from Motors.co.uk’s response tracking software, suggests that ‘around 27 per cent’ of sales leads are being lost – simply due to phone calls going unanswered.
Motors.co.uk’s managing director Andy Coulthurst – who himself was a sales director at dealer group JCT600 – called for dealers to put a higher value on the importance of phone calls.
‘Customer service is vital. In an age where a reputation can be wiped out by a negative review online in seconds, it is important to provide customers with as near to immediate response as possible,’ he said.
‘As a society, we are increasingly impatient and when we don’t get the desired response straight away, we look elsewhere. It is no different in the motor industry. If customers don’t get a quick response from a dealer about the availability of an advertised vehicle, they will move on to their next choice without a second thought.’
While dealers may feel calls are somewhat insignificant, said Coulthurst, the reality is that every missed call is a missed opportunity.
‘Perhaps there is an assumption amongst sales staff that the phone ringing is not the number one priority; perhaps they expect the customer will call back. Our January 2013 data suggests strongly otherwise, with 48 per cent of callers not receiving an answer first time of asking never calling that dealer back.’