Fewer than one in 10 dealer websites feature live chat which is one way of dealer staff reacting quickly to customer enquiries.
According to the new survey from web marketing company GForces, only 19 out of the 200 largest UK dealer groups have websites that offer visitors this form of interactive communication.
Tim Smith, GForces commercial director, said: “You need to be able to talk with potential customers immediately these days. Any delay or unanswered questions about a car, part, accessory or service booking will lead to people clicking away from your site faster than you might think.
“People who engage with a business through live chat are more likely to convert than visitors who don’t. This is thanks largely to the speed with which they can have their questions answered.”
However, Smith warned that simply putting live chat on your site isn’t enough, dealers need to dedicate resource to it too. There needs to be a qualified individual on hand to deal with the enquiries as they come in.
One dealer doing that is Peter Vardy in Glasgow. It added live chat to its website and hired new staff to deal with the online questions generated.
Smith said: “Any edge in service you have over your competitors can make the difference in whether you gain or lose a sale. In this world of automated touch-tone systems, having a human being available to help a customer any time of day or night will give your dealership an advantage over the competition.”