Dealers need to respond within an hour to online enquiries

People buying cars online want to receive a dealer's response to an enquiry within an hour, according to new research on online car buying behaviour.

The findings, which were taken from the results of a poll of 1,000 motorists, carried out by Dealerweb, a showroom management system provider, highlighted the importance of a rapid response. Some 49 per cent said they would expect a response within an hour and 25 per cent said that 30 minutes was more their threshold.

If a dealer failed to respond to an enquiry within four hours, 34 per cent of buyers said they would use another dealer.

This kind of study provides a very valuable insight to dealers on how to sell cars online. It takes a lot of attention and hard work to do so successfully. Independent dealers can also enhance their customer service by making sure they have adequate part-time traders insurance.

The study found that men were more inpatient than women when it comes to responses to online enquiries. Some 56 per cent of men said they would be more likely to continue with a purchase if a dealer responded within an hour, compared with 44 per cent of women.

Interestingly, buyers grow more demanding and inpatient with age, with younger buyers being less likely to walk away from a sale if a dealer took more than four hours to respond.

Sales operations director at Dealerweb, Martin Hill, explained: “Dealers operate in a highly competitive online environment and so speedy responses are crucial if they want to maximise the potential of every enquiry.”