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Reputation and trust depend on a consistent online approach, says

Peter Watts

Excellent customer service means a smooth transition between online and face-to-face relationships with customers, have stated.

Following the publication of the online marketing tool’s latest insight into the customer buying journey, Peter Watts, director of dealer insight at, said that “reputation remains key” across the board and urged dealerships to deliver a consistent level of service.

Peter Watts, director of dealer insight at, explains: “Our data reaffirms that consumers will have conducted extensive research before they set foot in a dealership, so a dealer needs to bear this in mind when speaking to a customer in person.

“For all retailers, it is important to listen to the demands of their customer base and this will lead to an increase in trust and excellent customer service.

“Interestingly, two of the UK’s top three ranked businesses for service in the recent report from the Institute of Customer Service are online organisations, Amazon and First Direct, with John Lewis knocked off the top spot and out of the top three for the first time in seven years.

“This demonstrates the power of online businesses and how consumers are valuing excellent customer service despite not having face-to-face contact with a brand. For the motor industry, which is operating both on and offline, this reiterates the importance of ensuring customers have a consistent, smooth transition between the two channels.”’s latest findings showed that the most important source of research for consumers looking for a new or used vehicle are car search websites, followed by car review websites. Car dealership websites were ranked closely behind in third place.

A further 11% of consumers use social media to research their next purchase.

Recommendations are still a significant influencer on the car buying process, however, with over a quarter (28%) of people turning to friends and family for information.

Previous insight from showed that 36% of people said whether they had heard of the dealer and whether it had been recommended by other car buyers was also important.

Watts said: “Reputation remains key and dealers who can align different elements of the consumer car buying journey and leave customers feeling happy and secure with their service will take the lead.”

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