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Dealers Failing to Capture Customers Over the Phone, Marchex Reports

September 23, 2014

SEATTLE — When consumers search for cars, parts or auto services on their mobile phones and call up a dealership, one in six times their call doesn't get answered, according to data released by Marchex, Inc., a mobile advertising technology company.  

The finding was one of many in an in-depth study released today by the Marchex Institute, the data and insights team at Marchex. The white paper, entitled "Mobile Consumers Are Calling: How Inbound Phone Calls Help Auto Dealers Win Customers, Influence Brand Loyalty," is the latest in the Institute's Industry Trends series, which spotlights data in a particular business vertical.

Using call analytics technology to analyze anonymous data based on 1,000 randomly sampled mobile phone calls from consumers to dealerships across the U.S., the Institute found that 16% of customer calls to dealerships go unanswered, and when customers do connect with a dealer representative, 63% of the time there is no attempt to get the customers to make an appointment. Additionally, 66% of the time, representatives do not ask for the customer's contact information.

"What we've learned is critical for the auto industry, especially given that cars, parts and services are what we consider high-margin sales," said Chen Zhao, Director of Analytics at the Institute, and author of the study. "There's no question that becoming more effective at capturing these leads over the phone can have a direct impact on dealers' profitability."

The study also found that 77% of phone calls to dealerships are from new customers and 74% of callers inquire about parts and services. The percentage of customers calling about new or used cars, which are considered the most valuable type of leads, was 14% — substantially smaller than inbound phone calls for parts and services.

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