Over two thirds of car buyers always check online reviews before visiting a dealer, according to new research.
The survey of car-buying habits and trust in dealerships also revealed that more than a quarter of motorists view a dealer’s online reputation to be the most important factor when choosing a car.
Young buyers, perhaps unsurprisingly, consider online feedback to be a highly important factor, with 91% of 18 to 34-year-olds placing as much trust in online reviews as on word of mouth.
As digital tools proliferate, consumers increasingly taking advantage of the information available to them, meaning that when they do enter a dealership to view a vehicle or take a test drive, it is vital that experience is seamless.
“There’s a wealth of information to support motorists during the buying journey, so when they eventually visit the forecourt, customer service must be outstanding,” said Scott Hamilton-Cooper, Director of Sales and Operations at AX.
“In fact, the test drive is still key and if dealers can offer an extended road test using telemetry to monitor the trip, they can free up time and access vital information to help them close the deal.”
The CarGurus report suggested that dealers should encourage customers to leave feedback while monitoring and responding to reviews – good and bad – wherever possible.
Hamilton-Cooper added: “While there’s some scepticism about online reviews, when people share genuine buying experiences for the benefit of others, this is overwhelmingly a good thing. Reliable and robust sources like Trustpilot and the Net Promotor (NPS) system can give consumers confidence that well-rated companies are likely to be dependable. This is why, as an automotive supplier, we are so proud of our excellent ratings.”