Silent Showrooms: The Alarming Trend of Online Ghosting by Dealerships

by John Greene | Apr 20, 2024

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Pied Piper Exposes Alarming Trend in Online Reponses By Harley-Davidson and Powersports Dealerships


Imagine walking into a showroom, eager and ready to explore, only to find yourself completely ignored by the staff. Frustrating, isn't it? This is exactly what happens online when leads are not promptly attended to. Every unattended online inquiry is a potential customer left wandering your digital showroom without guidance.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common oversight spelling trouble for dealerships in our industry. Pied Piper's recent investigation into how well Powersports dealerships handle online inquiries has revealed a shocking truth: 3 in 10 online leads are met with radio silence.


Unseen, Unheard, Unsold

Online ghosting, where customer leads go unanswered, can have profoundly negative effects on the customer's experience, the reputation of the dealership and ultimately cost the dealership a sale. Leaving a lead out in the cold not only immediately frustrates the potential buyer but also sows seeds of doubt about the dealerships reliability and commitment to their needs. 

In an industry, where a staggering 95% of buyers kickstart their journey online, the level of customer service provided to potential buyers becomes a crucial deciding factor in whom they choose to give their business to. The financial impact of such missed opportunities can be substantial. 


Why is this Happening?

The decline in the industry's average internet lead performance, as highlighted in the recent ILE Reports from Pied Piper, is a concerning trend that cannot be ignored. The hustle and bustle of daily dealership operations are understandable, yet letting digital customers slip through the cracks can't be the norm. So why is it happening?

Some common reasons behind this issue include:

  • Insufficient Staff Training: Employees might not have adequate training on how to handle online inquiries effectively. This lack of knowledge can result in delayed responses or complete oversight of customer queries.

  • Underestimating the Importance of Online Engagement: Some dealerships may not fully recognize the value of engaging with online customers, assuming the customer is not as serious about purchasing as those physically in the store. This leads to a lack of investment in resources needed to manage these interactions properly.

  • Overwhelmed by Volume: High volumes of inquiries can overwhelm staff, especially if there's inadequate manpower or if the team is not equipped with the tools to manage such loads efficiently.

  • Outdated Lead Management Systems: Relying on outdated technology can hinder the efficient tracking and management of leads.
  • Lack of a Defined Process for Handling Online Inquiries: Without clear protocols, inquiries can easily fall through the cracks. A defined process ensures every inquiry is acknowledged and addressed in a timely manner.

Take Action!

In today's digital age, where online interactions play a significant role in customer engagement and sales, failing to prioritize prompt and effective lead communication is simply not acceptable.  Dealerships must recognize the importance of meeting customer inquiries with timely and personalized responses to ensure a positive experience and ultimately secure valuable sales opportunities.

To combat the negative effects of online ghosting, start here:

  1. Reassess Online Engagement Value: Recognize the importance of online interactions with customers and allocate resources accordingly to support this area.
  2. Develop Clear Response Protocols: Create a step-by-step process for handling online inquiries to ensure none are missed.
  3. Review Staffing Levels: Ensure there are enough employees to handle the volume of online inquiries AND the nurture work needed for each lead.
  4. Conduct Staff Training: Train employees on the importance of timely online inquiry responses and how to use digital tools effectively.

  5. Improve Internal Communication: Establish clear communication channels and responsibilities within the team for responding to online inquiries.

  6. Perform Technical Audits: Regularly check the website and contact forms for technical issues that could prevent inquiries from being received.


Addressing the issue of online ghosting is critical for the success of powersports dealerships. Given the high stakes, it is essential for powersports dealerships to take concrete steps towards improving their online lead management practices. We strongly encourage dealerships to read the full report by Pied Piper and take practical steps to transform interactions with the online customer. 

Ready to take the next step? Click here to see how LeadHelm can help you strengthen your online customer connections!


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