Researchers with Pied Piper Management studied dealerships' online replies to their customers. Recently published data cover the last 5 years (since 2008).
"We posted online inquiries the same way as ordinary customers did," Pied Piper president Fran O'Hagan said. Pied Piper personnel typed a city and a car model into the search box and chose the first website listed. Then they opened the website and followed instructions to submit an inquiry and ask questions about a certain car. Each inquiry was sent midweek during business hours.
The results have improved greatly over the last 5 years. In 2008 only 30% of dealerships responded within 24 hours; by 2013 that number has reached 72%. 56% of online responses were automatically generated, 16% were personal responses.
Suzuki dealerships ranked the highest, followed by Triumph, Star, Ducati, BMW and Husqvarna. According to Pied Piper study, the time after which customers can expect to get a reply from a dealership has dropped from 4 hours in 2008 to 30 minutes in 2013.
"Since the customers look for more prompt feedback, the response time really matters now," O'Hagan explained.
The study lasted from September 2012 to April 2013 and covered 1,117 Internet inquires.
Customers expect online replies within half an hour