Business processes failing to keep pace with social media and online opportunities risk valuable sales

Dublin, Wednesday, 11th April 2012 – For the last three years BearingPoint has conducted a survey to test how effectively major car brands respond to online test drive requests. The results make depressing reading for the automotive industry.

This year’s survey shows that brands have not improved their lead management processes, leaving 59 percent of test drive requests unanswered within four days – and 50 percent not contacted at all (no response within the 14 day period of the survey). These results are disappointingly similar to the findings from previous years. The survey gave brands up to 14 days to respond (to enable comparison between previous years' findings.) The expectation of consumers is far higher – with internet shoppers experiencing same or next day response from other industries.
Commenting on the implications of the findings for Irish business, Peter Minogue, managing partner, BearingPoint Ireland said, “While these findings relate to the automotive industry, there are lessons here for all sectors. Irish businesses that fail to keep pace with social media and online opportunities risk sacrificing valuable and hard earned sales.”

“When you consider the increasing importance of digital channels in the sales cycle and that, on average, one in three to four test drives result in a sale, it is very concerning that the automotive industry isn’t addressing this inherent weakness in their lead management process”, added James Rodger, Automotive Partner at BearingPoint.

During December 2011 BearingPoint repeated their comprehensive survey of car brands’ response to online sales enquiries. It revealed that, despite the fragile economic recovery, there is still universal failure to act upon online test drive requests. It raises questions over the ability of manufacturers to maintain or grow their market share against a market background of weak demand across Europe and increasing customer expectations in respect to brand responsiveness.

The pan-European survey covered 19 brands in six countries and involved researchers attempting to make more than 2200 test drive requests via car brand web sites. The survey included traditional and emerging high volume markets and brands right across the price spectrum.

James Rodger concludes: “The consistent message of this survey over the past three years is that all car manufacturers, whether volume or premium brands, are missing the opportunity to convert leads generated from their websites. As digital channels become, for many, an integral part of the buying process the automotive industry must address this issue and, based on our research, there is definitely a first mover advantage in doing so. Manufacturers need to take a more holistic approach to lead management embracing their systems, processes and channels to ensure a seamless and efficient experience for prospective car buyers.”

For more information, please contact:
Peter Minogue
Partner at BearingPoint, responsible for BearingPoint Ireland