Why are (some) retailers still so bad?

  31 October 2016

On Wednesday we will launch our 2017 Website Report, with the key findings being revealed at our Digital Marketing Conference (there may be a few last minute places available if you call Ros on 01572 724687). I can pretty much guarantee the most controversial part of the report will be the ‘enquiry response speed’ rankings.

All the evidence shows that, the faster you respond to a sales enquiry, the more likely you are to win the sale. And yet, year after year, our research reveals there are many major auto retail groups who just don’t hit our basic target of a tailored e-mail response or phone call within an hour. 

Of course, there are groups who dispute the results. But it’s based on solid evidence from real world testing (by our colleagues at Mediahawk) and my own personal experience this week backs it up.

For the first time for a few years I’ve been in the market for a new (used) car. A Sunday afternoon of browsing Auto Trader brought matters down to a short list of two and so, on Monday morning, I rang both retailers – each part of a major national chain.

Retailer A could not have been more helpful. Yes, the car was still available; yes, they understood the kind of money I was willing to pay; yes, they were interested in my part exchange. Yes, they’d get back to me by e-mail with a considered proposal.

Retailer B was a different experience. The phone was answered by a cheerful sounding receptionist but “there was nobody available in sales” (at 11am on a Monday morning) and she took my number, promising a ring-back.

Well, it’s now Wednesday morning and I’m still waiting for the call. Meanwhile, retailer A has got back to me with the offer, haggled a bit over part-ex value, agreed a final deal, e-mailed me an order form and their bank details, and taken a deposit. I’m picking the car up on Friday.

I realise lots of things could have gone wrong at retailer B, which is why I’m not naming names. But the bottom line is: they lost the sale – and they’ll go on losing sales if they can’t get their systems sorted.

Speaking as a customer, response time matters and no response at all just makes a mockery of the whole industry.

Rupert Saunders

Managing Director

Auto Retail Network

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