How many of you have been in the industry for more than a decade? If you are raising your hand, then you remember the pure and fierce focus on lead response time. There were entire products created to help dealers be the first to respond to each and every lead, and the OEMs were watching and measuring progress. GM specifically had a strong focus on a timely response, with incentives to support dealers responding in 30 minutes or less.
Fast-forward 10 years and many of us have taken our eyes off the clock. Lead response times have dipped to well over an hour on average with many stores, with the national average for GM stores at 60% responded to in 30 minutes or less. 40% of your customers are staring at their phones waiting for a response, and you may not be the first to reach them.
According to a study completed by Podium, 50% of leads go with the business that responds first. Looking back to our averages, that means 40% of your leads will most likely shop elsewhere if you are not the first to respond.
Why are we talking about leads again?
With the digital nature of the automotive industry and the increasing online shopping habits of our customers, we need to react with speed any time someone reaches out. There are new expectations of quick and quality responses that we need to meet, and if we don’t, that is when customers shop our competitors.
Podium stated again, “If there are two identical businesses using Podium, but one responds to all their messages in an hour and one responds to all their messages in five minutes or less, we would expect the second business to convert 25% more of its leads to paying customers.”
The Harvard Business Review is in line with this thinking and published this article 10 years ago discussing the same scenarios that we are facing today.
Conversely, they found that responding to a lead after 5 minutes reduces the likelihood of converting the lead by 80%! This is definitely an area we need to refocus on, and GM agrees.
How to Fix the Problem
You may have been down this road before, and know what worked and what did not. But in the past two years, certain leads have become even more important than ever (like Digital Retailing Leads). With the changes in leads, volume, and the information requested, there are a few things you need to do.
The information stated earlier demonstrates the importance of getting to these leads quickly. Customers today are used to lightning-fast responses, texts, and instant messaging on social platforms. If they have to wait, they will look somewhere else. Brand loyalty has been declining for years, and it is up to you and your team to beat the competition and provide the requested information to the customer.
Answer the Questions
Provide the requested information in the first response. If they ask for a price, at least provide a range. If the customer wants to know if the car comes with a heads-up display, address the question. That means that autoresponders will not always work, and honestly, they tend to do more harm than good for your relationship with customers. No one wants to be told to wait, and that is what the autoresponder is doing.
When responding, provide a genuine, real response that either answers or addresses the customer’s questions and concerns. That may seem like an impossible task when leads come in at all hours, but if you do not have a team who can respond, Better Car People can help.
Better Car People’s Overnight BDC™ is the flagship of our products, initially created solely for General Motors dealerships to help with quick, quality first responses. We have since branched out to all OEMs, but work closely with GM to ensure our dealers are responding to the initial lead with a fast, informative response.
And with GM dealerships who partner with Better Car People boasting a 96.6% response rate in 30 minutes or less, we will make sure your leads are answered by local representatives, 24/7/365. And since we are iMR turnkey, it is easier than ever to reach every customer quickly, answer every lead, and meet the GM lead criteria.