Continuing its special reports into the service, maintenance and repair market WhoCanFixMyCar.com begins 2015 with a look back at dealer performance, as judged by consumers, in 2014.
Since being founded in 2011, WhoCanFixMyCar.com has helped drivers find a great local garage for service or repair work.
Motorists tell it what’s wrong with their car (and where they live) and local garages and specialists (franchised and independent) provide a quote.
Alex Rose, WhoCanFixMyCar.com marketing director, said: "Once a garage has been chosen, and the repair is completed, drivers leave a review for the garage. Great performers get the fanfare they deserve, while others can address any criticisms they receive. It’s a virtuous circle - and we’re lifting the lid on the facts."
The data here is based on more than 30,000 jobs posted on the site in 2014 for almost 5,500 garages registered on WhoCanFixMyCar.com.
How good are repairers?
- The average score (out of 10) in 2014 was 9.2, and 96% of customers would recommend the garage they used.
- Garages’ reviews got better throughout the year, as negative feedback was quickly addressed and garages went the extra mile (see below).
What do customers say?
Most popular words - positive reviews, 96% of total:
Most popular words - negative reviews, 4% of total:
"The common themes here are fascinating. Glowing reviews reference service, recommending, helpful, experience, honest, quickly time and time again. Negative reviews, however, will focus on delays, prices, and not being kept in the loop."
The importance of reviews to customers
They’re essential, said Rose. "Our own customers tell us us they’re 2.5x more important than price when it comes to choosing a great local garage, with Google’s ‘Gearshift’ survey (2013) states recommendation as the most influential factor, even ahead of face-to-face treatment at the garage itself.
Meanwhile a recent Nielsen study says that 27% more of us trust online reviews than did four years ago - so they are only becoming more influential over time.
What does this mean for businesses?
"In short, the playing field - if not level - is getting flatter.
"For generations, well-known brand names were bywords for certain attributes (value, speed, quality, reliability), creating emotional connections between brand and customer. Smaller, independent businesses couldn’t hope to compete with the brand strength of their high-street competitors.
"However, now that it’s simple to compare products and services online - irrespective of brand strength - so smaller players with good offerings have begun eating away at their better-known competitors (witness the rise of Kia and Hyundai at the expense of mainstream European brands, for example.)
We see exactly the same effect amongst our garages. Very quickly, little-known local specialists begin building great reputations on WhoCanFixMyCar.com. There’s a direct correlation between great reviews and new customers - just as it should be."