Cadillac, Infiniti, Volkswagen, Subaru, and Toyota lead in internet-leading satisfaction

General Motors’ Cadillac dealers ranked top according to 2023 Pied Piper PSI® Internet Leading Efficiency® (and®) study that measures responses to internet leads through dealership websites. Cadillac is followed by Infiniti, Volkswagen, Subaru, Toyota and Volvo.

“Auto dealerships across the industry are on average faster to respond to their website customers this year,” said Pied Piper CEO Fran O’Hagan. “Dealers understand that they meet most customers online today before someone visits in person, and that dealerships that respond quickly, personally and completely to customer inquiries on the website will simply sell more vehicles.”

Pied Piper submitted mystery shopping customer inquiries through the individual websites of 5,428 dealerships, asking specific questions about vehicles in stock and providing the customer’s name, email address and local phone number. Pied Piper then assessed how dealers responded via email, phone calls and text messages over the next 24 hours.

The brands that have improved the most since last year’s study are Polestar, Rivian, Ford, MINI, Volkswagen, Jaguar and Hyundai. Only six brands fail to improve from 2022 to 2023: Lexus, Mazda, Kia, Lucid, Dodge, and Mercedes-Benz. Industry average performance improved 3 points to 58, a new 13-year high for Pied Piper’s 13-year history of measuring and reporting dealer network response performance.

20 different metrics result in a Dealer ILE score out of 100. On the traditional bell-shaped performance curve, 30% of all auto dealers nationwide scored above 80 (provided a quick and comprehensive personal response), while 29% scored below 40 (failed to personally respond to their website client).

Across the industry, dealers are more likely this year to give reasons to act quickly, as well as reasons to buy from a particular dealer, and they are more likely to offer prices. Despite the huge increase in text message use, from 46% last year to 61% this year, customers are still likely to receive an answer to a question via email (51% of the time) or receive a phone call (56% of the time). “The best-performing dealers use multiple channels to contact customers, and then when customers respond, they follow up using the same channels that customers use,” O’Hagan said.

Responses to customer web inquiries vary by brand and dealership, the following are examples of performance differences across brands:

  • How often do resellers of the brand respond to website customer questions via email or text message within 30 minutes?
    • Average over 50% of the time: Cadillac, Infiniti, Polestar, Volkswagen
    • Average less than 30% of the time: Lucid, Tesla, Rivian, MINI
  • How often do resellers of the brand use text messages to answer website customer inquiries?
    • Average over 30% of the time: Mitsubishi, Ram, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Volvo
    • Average less than 10% of the time: Lucid, Tesla, Rivian, Polestar
  • How often do resellers of the brand respond to website customer inquiries by phone?
    • Average over 70% of the time: Subaru, Acura
    • Average less than 35% of the time: Lucid, Tesla, Rivian, Land Rover, Fiat
  • Although not part of the ILE score, Pied Piper also measures a dealership’s website’s responsiveness to the site’s chat feature, if offered. How often does a “human” answer a customer question within 30 seconds?
    • Average over 90% of the time: Volvo, Genesis, Mercedes-Benz
    • Average less than 50% of the time: Tesla, Rivian, Alfa Romeo

Pied Piper PSI® Internet Leading Efficiency® (and®) has been conducted annually since 2011. The 2023 Pied Piper PSI-ILE Study (U.S. Automobiles) was conducted between July 2022 and January 2023 by submitting website inquiries directly to a national sample of 5,428 dealerships representing all major automobile brands.

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