(This is an excerpt from our 2015 Mystery Shop Study which provides lots of free best practices and other great advice for dealers.)

OEMs, dealer groups and even Dealer Principals expect much more from their internet sales efforts today than they did just a few years ago – especially when it comes to generating a quick response to an e-lead.

Speed of response – critical in most cases to landing the deal – has unfortunately become the be-all, end-all for those with little time or patience to conduct a true assessment of their internet sales efforts. The honorable, though misguided, efforts by those at the top to focus so heavily on response time – instead of ensuring a quality response – has led to the phenomenon known as “Stopping The Clock” (sending an incomplete email response or falsifying a phone call to game the store’s real response time).

In fact, for many of the internet teams we observe, it has now become more important to fake a quick response (to satisfy the OEM or to make the Dealer Principal look good at his/her next 20 Group meeting) than to actually initiate a well-planned, structured phone call that might actually lead to an appointment that shows and buys.

Given the actions we detailed above and our reasoning discussed on Page 8 of the study, we chose to count only voicemail responses when judging overall lead response times. We weren’t interested in how quickly a team could Stop The Clock, only in how quickly they made a legitimate phone call to a prospect who provided a valid, working phone number. For the 237 dealers (58%) who met these requirements, their average Real Response Time was a very good 34 minutes. 

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Comment by steven chessin on July 13, 2015 at 12:50pm

Steve  - Workers will find work-arounds to protect themselves from mid-level managers threatening their jobs sometimes with disastrous results. They call it "risk-assessment". Speed-up production - cut-costs -  show better stats - stay on schedule etc etc.  The problems come when keeping on schedule results in a crash and when cutting-costs results in product failure - recalls or worse. Anyone interested in this should Google Dr.Demming - and specifically his influence on the auto industry and the importance of quality for safety, reliability, and ultimately business success.     

Comment by Steve Stauning on July 11, 2015 at 8:19pm

You're right Steve. The need to cheat has become so great that many stores make no calls; but when you check the CRM they show a 5-minute response time where the salesperson merely "clicked" that they had called. 

Comment by steven chessin on July 11, 2015 at 7:15pm

Absolutely - Steve - Cheating the system for this or a better CSI is like hitting a foul-ball and trying to call it a homerun. I have heard stores claim less than 5 minute response but when you look deeper and listen to calls and read emails they don't meet spec. Just go to the "Instant Replay". 

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