The Happy Meal That Wasn’t

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Many manufacturers and dealers use “Stop the clock” to manage first response. It’s understood that a quick response garners a more satisfied consumer. This has been tested and vetted and is an established rule of internet marketing. This constitutes the first half of the internet contact. The second half lies in the consumer experience after the initial contact where, often times, customer abandonment occurs. After the initial contact, the consumer’s expectations are set: they expect the information they requested will be provided in a timely manner and in the manner they prefer. If the dealer fails to follow up, even after successfully stopping the clock in a timely manner, the consumer is more dissatisfied than had they not received a response in the first place.

This is akin to going to a fast-food restaurant drive-up window that is efficient in taking your order and taking your payment but then gets your order wrong. Remember what it’s like to pull away from the window and, instead of getting the double quarter pounder you ordered, you ended up with the Happy Meal with the Pokémon toy instead? Not that happy. But that’s the feeling many salespeople—I would daresay your salespeople—are causing consumers to feel.

This is where the system I work with, the Automated Virtual Assistant by, comes in. AVA is an artificial intelligence solution that will automate your lead engagement and help you keep track of sales performance—making sure the consumer’s expectations are met. For example, when you have your own AVA Artificial Intelligence installed, the AI will ask each consumer that she (or he) engages a simple question: “Did our salesperson Bob get you the information you requested?” That basic question has helped some dealerships that use AVA discover that a whopping 27% of the consumers had not heard from the salesperson a full two days after the request for information was received. Almost a third of the consumers were abandoned after an initial rush to treat them and stop the clock. When abandonment rates are above 40%, closing rates are seen to be below 2.3%. When the abandonment rates are below 20% closing rates are recorded at 8.4%.

By relying on a fast first reply, it’s easy to take for granted that the consumer will be followed up with throughout the sales process, but that is not the case. Instead, manufacturers and dealers would be prudent to explore ways to lower consumer abandonment percentages. Intelligent lead engagement systems like AVA can help, but what it really comes down to is concerted effort from everyone in the sales process. All parts of the sales process need to be in sync. By doing this, we can keep consumer satisfaction expectations at the level we expect in our own lives—double quarter pound burger satisfaction.

Don Crawford is Director of OEM & Dealer Groups at and can be reached at He is a passionate salesperson who embraces tom-foolery at its core. He brings a fresh and bold perspective to dealers looking to move forward with new technology.

Michael Bowen


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