More than two thirds of all car buyers choose a dealership based on testimonials, Facebook reviews and online endorsements, according to research from JudgeService.
The research, which surveyed 1,000 motorists on their use of technology when buying a car, showed 65% were more likely to visit a dealership with positive independent reviews on its website and social media channels. This shows the rising importance of online reviews in gaining customer trust as many turn to the internet to research their dealership of choice before stepping foot on the forecourt.
More than half of drivers aged 55 and over stated they would be more likely to visit a forecourt with positive reviews, while Audi and Jaguar drivers were the most likely to visit a dealership with positive independent reviews.
Sales director at JudgeService Dale Woodley said: “In the past some would view online reviews as an added extra or ‘nice to have’ but these survey results demonstrate that they are an essential sales and marketing tool which cannot be ignored.
“The latest figures show 72% of the UK population now own a smartphone, providing 24/7 social media and web access so it’s important dealers remain proactive in not only monitoring and responding to comments and reviews but also in actively seeking these endorsements which can mean the difference between a sale or missed opportunity.
“Positive customer reviews are quickly becoming a gatekeeper to today’s savvy consumers who spend a lot of time completing online research before even considering making a trip to the showroom.”
More than 750 dealers now use JudgeService to help them understand their customers’ experience and improve satisfaction and in turn increase sales, as well as encouraging and promoting positive customer testimonials online and via social media.