GM Launches Dealer Sales Email Lead ProgramOn April, 9, 2018, GM launched the Dealer Sales Email Lead Program aimed at decreasing dealer response times to customer inquiries.
“Time is important,” according to Michael Bojarczyk, GM Senior Manager of Marketing Support. “You’ve got to make sure that you address the customers’ questions, answer those questions and provide value back to the customer,” he said.
According to Bojarczyk, more than half of dealer email inquiries are received while dealerships are closed. This can be a huge problem in a fast-paced, online world where consumers expect immediate answers.
To address the issue. GM has mobilized a dedicated chat solutions team that currently consists of 50 “highly educated” employees who have writing experience. More personnel will be added as needed. This team will be available 24/7 to aid dealers in responding to customer emails.
Response Time is Critical
The issue of customer inquiry response time is not a new one. With the prevalence of social media, smart phones, and constant communication, consumers expect answers quickly.
Recent studies have shown that 47% of customers expect companies to respond to their inquiries within one hour (according to Spider Marketing), while 84% expect to wait no more than 24 hours. These are high expectations, but are understandable in the current online environment. Unfortunately, many businesses, including auto dealers, fall short in meeting these expectations.
According to superoffice.com, the average response time to handle a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes, while email management provider Boomerang claims the average response times on their service is 23 hours.
Boomerang, however, offers a disclaimer that this number does not tell the entire story. It seems that at least 50% of these emails had a response time of 2 hours or less, but the average is skewed due to a high number of emails that never receive a response, or that take a very long time.
Praise for GM’s Email Program
Over the past year, GM has been conducting a pilot program for the Dealer Sales Email Lead Program. Carl Black Automotive Group has been part of this pilot program. According to Mike Bowsher, head of the Chevrolet National Dealer Council and owner of Carl Black Automotive Group, the program is an extension of his current business.
“We’re missing a lot of those opportunities,” he said. “After hours, there’s always someone there. We can’t staff 24 hours a day. GM can.”
While many dealers already hire a third-party company to help with customer inquiries, Scott Bell, Chevrolet Director of Sales Operations insists his program is “more than competitive” while offering better-informed responses.
“I would argue that our solution has a much better quality of response and activity, which drives a better turn rate for a dealer for that investment,” Bell said.
GM currently offers a chat solution for dealers that launched in 2016, in addition to the new email service. The two services are separate options and are available to dealers of GM brands through GM’s Global Connect system.