Recent study results have revelled the motor trade industry should brace itself for a period of high customer demand post lockdown now business and consumers start to see light at the end of the tunnel. One of the leading industry service suppliers reported an upsurge in new enquiries for motor trade dealers and service centres after previous lockdown periods.
Moneypenny is a leading industry service provider, they generally handle over 500,000 customer calls and online chats for motor dealers and service centres throughout the UK, their figures show that during previous lockdowns the number of customer enquiries fell by over 20%, however, in the weeks following lockdown, on average, there was a significant upturn in consumer interest and demand.
Following the initial lockdown, the level of customer enquiries was over 65% up compared to pre lockdown levels, this was a 30% increase compared to the same period in the previous year (2019). In the initial stages following the second UK lockdown, although on average the number of enquiries dropped off by around 5% comparing to the previous year, the final quarter of 2020 saw over a 20% increase in calls compared to 2019.
Since the start of 2021 they have already seen a 25% increase in the number of motor trade industry businesses using live chat through their websites, which suggests the sector is using all the digital tools available to stay in touch with their customers, produce new sales leads, while supporting any vehicle click and collect orders placed during lockdown.
This predicted upturn in customer interest will hopefully ripple through the whole industry in no time at all, also increasing enquiries for businesses like motor trade insurance services and roadside recovery companies.
Stephanie Vaughan-Jones, from Moneypenny who released this latest report, said: “While it’s not surprising that lockdown created pent up demand, it’s encouraging to see that it’s not just for the first few days outside of lockdown – but for a sustained period of four to seven weeks. Now that the Prime Minister’s Roadmap has been published and the end of lockdown three is in sight, there is much more hope and certainty which should translate into increased consumer confidence and spending.”
“Being able to meet predicted demand and answer a significantly increased volume of telephone calls is critical to the sector’s recovery. With dealers not due to open until April 12th they must use the coming weeks to prepare and put the necessary resource and support in place to meet demand.”
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This statement by Stephanie Vaughan-Jones should be taken as good advice, earlier this year it was reported around 85% of UK consumers believed some businesses had been using Covid-19 as an excuse for poor customer service levels, which included unacceptable call waiting times and not supplying enough support to deal with appointments, enquiries, and complaints.
Vaughan-Jones added “There’s just no excuse for this, particularly not almost a year into the pandemic. Consumers expect businesses across all sectors to have adapted by now. Long call and live chat waiting times are essentially saying to customers they are not important, which will lead to lost car sales and aftercare. Ensuring a positive, timely, professional and efficient first impression is imperative to dealer performance and getting the sector through the worst slump in new car sales in recent years.”
Now the UK population have a clear roadmap in place for the end of this latest lockdown, we can only hope it will be a smooth transition back for everyone, including businesses once they start opening their doors to welcome customers back again safely.