A new 2022 Pied Piper PSI Internet Lead Effectiveness (ILE) Study measured dealership responsiveness to Internet leads coming through their websites.
Napleton Auto Group topped the ranking, followed by Penske Automotive Group in the second spot, and Berkshire Hathaway Automotive in the third.
Though Pied Piper PSI has measured and ranked ILE performance for all major auto brands since 2011, this year the organization applied the same criteria to measure and rank national dealer groups.
All three top national dealer groups achieved higher ILE average scores than the best-ranked auto brand, and 12 of the 15 national dealer groups scored higher ILE average scores than the auto industry average score.
Pied Piper president Fran O’Hagan noted, “Our measurements show that dealers who respond quickly, personally, and completely to website customer inquiries on average sell 50% more vehicles to the same quantity of website customers as opposed to dealers who fail to respond.”
“We also found that customers of a top performing dealer group were three times more likely to get a speedy reply to their website inquiry than customers of a poor performer,” he continued.
Pied Piper conducted its research in June through August by submitting mystery-shopper customer inquiries through the individual websites of 1,631 dealerships, representing 15 dealer groups. These shoppers asked a specific question about a vehicle in inventory, and provided a customer name, email address and local telephone number.
The organization then evaluated how the dealerships responded by email, telephone and text message over the next 24 hours. Pied Piper evaluated all 15 dealer groups, except for Automotive Management Services, for which they evaluated a sample of its 50 dealerships.
Pied Piper used 20 different measurements to generate dealership ILE scores, which ranged from 0 to 100. The dealerships scoring above 80 responded quickly and thoroughly with a personalized response via email, phone and often text. But dealerships that scored below 40 failed to personally respond at all to website customers.
Sixty-three percent of Napleton Auto Group’s dealerships scored above 80, while just 11% fell under 40.
Overall, just 26% of dealerships scored above 80 but 35% scored under 40.
Responses varied by dealer group. For example, when Pied Piper evaluated how often company dealerships emailed or texted an answer to a website customer’s question within 30 minutes, they found:
Napleton, Penske, Morgan and Serra responded this quickly over 50% of the time.
Ken Garff, AutoNation, Lithia, Victory responded this quickly less than 35% of the time.
Most dealerships used text messages far less than other means of communication. Asbury, Automotive Management Services, Napleton, Morgan responded by text over 35% of the time. While Ken Garff, Penske, Greenway, Berkshire Hathaway, Victory, replied by text less than 20% of the time.
An evaluation of how often company’s dealerships phoned web customer within 60 minutes showed Napleton did so over 75% of the time. In contrast, Victory and Greenway responded this quickly less than 30% of the time.
Pied Piper also measured dealer-website responsiveness to a site’s chat function, though not part of the ILE scoring. At Berkshire Hathaway, Sonic, and Penske, a human responded within 30 seconds over 80% of the time. At Napleton, however, this occurred less than 40% of the time.