Many dealerships remain slow pokes in responding to Internet leads, says a study.

But the slow goers deserve at least some credit. That’s because the mystery-shopping study indicates 12% of sent leads received no responses at all.

Capgemini, the firm that put 1,300 dealerships to the test, was commissioned by ResponseLogix, a company that offers dealers a software system that automatically sends information-rich emails in response to Internet vehicle-shopping inquiries.

The average response time, including auto-responders, was 4.7 hours, the study says.

The lack of speed and information comprehensiveness falls short and hurts sales prospects, says ResponseLogix CEO Tom Mohr, calling the results “surprising.”

He adds, “Dealers are still in the beginning stages of driving the necessary improvements to Internet sales practices that ensure optimal sales results.”

Previous studies indicate lead conversions can double when a dealership within 20 minutes responds with relevant information, particularly vehicle pricing, which 53% of online shoppers say is most important to them.

Fifty-eight percent of dealers in the study failed to include pricing information in email responses. For the 30% of dealers that did include that, the median time to do so was 1.1 hours, the average time 24.8 hours.

Ideally, a dealership should take within 20 minutes to send a response that includes pricing, details on the vehicle the customer asked about, information on alternative comparable vehicles and updated incentive information, says ResponseLogix. In reality, 1% of responses do that.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com