H-D salespeople top consumer survey

Motorcycle dealers slow to respond to internet or email queries

story by Motorcycle.com Staff, Created Apr. 14, 2008
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According to a recent study which measures how consumers are treated when shopping for a new vehicle, Harley-Davidson dealerships rank first among motorcycle brands.

The 2008 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index U.S. Motorcycle Industry Study, which was conducted between July 2007 and March 2008, evaluated and benchmarked shopping experiences at 830 motorcycle dealerships nationwide, representing all major brands.

Victory, Ducati, Buell and BMW followed Harley-Davidson and all were above the industry average.

Overall performance in the motorcycle industry has changed little from the 2007 study, but seven individual brands gained ground. Ducati, Yamaha and Honda had the largest gains, followed by MV Agusta, Moto Guzzi, Victory and BMW. Triumph, KTM, Aprilia and Suzuki were among eight brands with declining scores.

Though Harley-Davidson retreated slightly from its 2007 score, it still leads all motorcycle brands in more than 40% of the sales process factors evaluated by the study.

“While industry-wide motorcycle retail sales have been declining, there are brands and dealers who are bucking the trend and increasing their sales by measuring, benchmarking and then improving their dealership sales process,” says Fran O’Hagan, president of Pied Piper Management Co., LLC.

The 2008 study marked the first time a shopper’s experience contacting the dealership separately by telephone and by internet or email was measured.

Despite the knowledge that a majority of motorcycle shoppers now claim to research their motorcycle purchase on-line, dealerships were often slow to respond to on-line shopper inquiries. Surprisingly, 70% of the dealers from across all brands failed to respond in any way within 24 hours of being contact by internet or email.

“History smiles on retailers who give the customer what they want, and there is no question that more and more motorcycle customers prefer internet and email communication,” says O’Hagan. “But the most successful retailers will continue to be the ones who differentiate themselves in person and on-line in areas other than just price.”

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