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Guest opinion: The importance of being honest

Dale Woodley, Sales Director at car dealer review site JudgeService, discusses the importance of delivering genuine customer reviews

Any research that encourages the discussion of online reviews and transparency in the industry should be welcomed.

Without doubt, the recent Competition and Markets Authority investigation into businesses that may be paying for endorsements in blogs and other online articles is important, not only in acknowledging the role of online reviews on customer spending, but on the trusting relationship between consumer and dealer.

The research shows the overwhelming importance of online reviews on consumer spending. Some 54 per cent of UK adults use online reviews to inform their buying decision and £23billion a year of consumer spending is influenced by online reviews.

Here at JudgeService we carried out our own research, which revealed that 65 per cent of consumers are more likely to visit a dealership with positive independent reviews on its website and social media channels (based on a survey of 1,000 motorists) – demonstrating just how important it is to have genuine, transparent content in customer reviews.

Customers place a great deal of trust in the reviews they read online and providers should take every step to ensure these are honest. At JudgeService, we contact individuals who have provided their details or dealt with car dealers and can therefore be transparent about customers and their feedback. Those who are surveyed have the option to remain anonymous and we always post dealer feedback, regardless of whether it is positive or negative.

JudgeService is the industry’s first used car customer satisfaction index developed by those working in the industry and we provide a vital tool in not only informing consumers and would-be buyers about the service they received, but also ensuring dealers can fully assess what customers and potential buyers are saying about them.

This is vital for dealers who use customer feedback to assess their customer service offering and train their sales team and front of house staff in line with customer feedback – from honing sales techniques to implementing social media strategies.

The authenticity of our reviews is not only critical to buyers but also to the more than 800 dealers we count as customers of JudgeService. As such, online reviews are a significant and useful by-product of the customer satisfaction service we offer.

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