As the economy opens up, call volumes into automotive dealers are up 104%

Monthly call volumes in the automotive industry increased a staggering 104% in May, according to Australia’s leading call tracking and analytics company, WildJar. Based on call volumes on over 600 dealers, WildJar experienced the largest monthly call volume ever recorded across its automotive clients. On a year-on-year comparison, call volumes increased 156%.

In today’s age of digital marketing, the car buying journey of customers has evolved. Dealers have come to accept that customers are no longer coming into the showroom to start their purchasing journey. Instead, customers are doing most of their research (and decision-making) online, long before they enter a dealership.

“The increase in call volumes reflects this transition with customers and dealers moving to e-commerce based solutions and with the onset of COVID-19, this transition has been fast-tracked with dealers’ websites and their ability to handle customer calls being more important than ever.” says WildJar CEO, James O’Neill. “The focus should be on enhancing the customer’s online and call experience, and giving the customer the tools they need to seamlessly make a decision and ultimately purchase a vehicle," continued O’Neill.

“We have always championed data around the customer’s buying journey, where consumers do all their research online and then they purchase offline. There is definitely a paradigm shift in the acceptance to purchase online,” continued O’Neill.

Through its call tracking analytics, WildJar has discovered a large blind spot for dealers when a customer transacts with them on their websites.

“For dealers that are already tracking their inbound phone calls, we are seeing a large number of customers abandoning the ‘cart’ at purchase or deposit point and calling the dealership to complete the purchase over the phone,” stated O’Neill.

WildJar’s technology provides the ability for dealers to ‘attribute’ offline phone calls to the customer’s online journey and help improve (and further prove) the strength of the e-commerce model, by showing that the ‘offline’ phone transaction started on the dealer’s website e-commerce channel.

Similar trends can also be seen in other digital platforms, with automotive classifieds and dealer websites also recording all-time-high audiences in May. These sizeable increases in research and online activity comes at a time when social distancing measures have been eased and many buyers are re-evaluating their transport preferences.

Local search enquiry call volume is also a major contributor to volume increases, with 67% of volume being generated by local search listings and Google My Business.

“This confirms and reinforces our data that there is a genuine intent to purchase, with consumers working from home and spending more time online researching,” says O’Neill.

“We are only recording around 2 percent of consumers calling multiple dealerships for sales related enquiry,” continues O’Neill. “Giving each customer a fantastic and memorable first impression over the phone is now more important than ever, as these consumers who are calling you are ready to buy.”

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