Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — AutoUSA, a provider of Internet-generated consumer leads to auto dealers nationwide, announced that in a survey of 400 automotive dealerships, over 90 percent of respondents ranked "accuracy of the information" as the most important feature that keeps dealers satisfied with third-party new-car lead providers. According to the survey, additional factors that play a key role in dealer satisfaction with lead providers include the "amount of contact information" (over 86 percent) provided by the lead source, and lead "closing ratio" (nearly 76 percent).

"Providing dealers with a volume of leads that can't be worked because of inaccurate or incomplete information will drive down closing rates," said Phil DuPree, president of AutoUSA. "Lead quality continues to be the overriding factor in achieving high close rates and dealer satisfaction with third party lead providers."

The study was conducted by Gilleard Marketing Research, an independent firm retained by AutoUSA. Completed in early March 2008, it is AutoUSA's second annual client survey covering a variety of issues related to customer service and industry trends.

Similar to the findings in last year's study, a majority of survey respondents are still relying on multiple third party lead provider services for their new-car leads. Most dealerships are receiving leads from three to five lead provider services. Survey results also show that while lead providers are usually dropped due to "poor closing ratio" (nearly 48 percent) and "quality of leads" (over 32 percent), they are often replaced by other lead provider services during the same year. In fact, approximately 16 percent of dealers said they had less lead services than last year, while nearly 29 percent kept the same amount and nearly 47 percent reported increasing the number of lead providers.

"Dealers are looking for the right mix of lead providers that deliver the best coverage for their dealership and a high volume of quality leads," said DuPree. "They're not afraid to switch providers if they aren't seeing results."

In the area of customer satisfaction, AutoUSA dealer clients again gave the company high ratings in the amount of lead contact information provided, speed of delivery of leads, the quantity and quality of leads, responsiveness of customer service and handling of customer service issues. More than half of the customer satisfaction points surveyed showed significant statistical increases over last year's results.

The study's findings continue to validate the overall impact and effectiveness of AutoUSA's "Lead Quality and Service Initiative," which was launched in January 2007. As part of the initiative, AutoUSA increased capital expenditures in advanced filter and scrubbing technology, dedicated efforts to grow and expand its lead source partnerships, and hired experienced and customer-centric oriented employees to service and support its network of more than 4,000 dealerships.

"We've known for a long time that lead quality was a key differentiator in this market," said DuPree. "Our focus has always been in providing dealers with accurate and complete information on qualified buyers, which has resulted in the highest closing ratio of any third party lead provider."