The Essential Car Dealership Guide to Navigating Customer Reviews and Ratings.

90% of car buyers research online- even before they visit a showroom.
4-Apr-2024 - 4-Apr-2024

93% of users say online reviews had an impact on their buying decisions, particularly for high-ticket items like buying a car. 

Online reviews have the potential to drive foot traffic to your car dealership or divert it to your competitors.

Before committing to a purchase, prospective buyers are increasingly turning to online reviews as a vital part of their decision-making process.

This holds particularly true for all car dealerships, whether single, multiple franchise or independent car dealers.

Reviews and ratings offer invaluable insights into the dealership experience, allowing customers to form an opinion without having to visit in person.

A dealership marred by negative feedback is at a serious disadvantage.

This guide will explore the critical role of ratings and reviews for car dealerships, highlight the primary platforms where potential buyers seek out this information, and provide examples of the types of reviews that can influence customer decisions.

The Importance of Reviews for Car Dealerships. 

Global research by YouGov reveals that reviews on third-party review sites are the second most important influence after speaking to friends and family.

Where to Find Car Dealership Ratings and Reviews. 

For those in the market for a new vehicle, ensuring they are dealing with a reputable dealer is paramount.

Numerous websites compile ratings and reviews of car dealerships, offering an easy way for customers to compare and contrast.

These platforms typically allow filtering by geographical location, helping to narrow the search to nearby options.

Popular Car Dealership Review Sites.

Google Business Profile
Google reviews are critical for boosting a dealership's search visibility and trust with potential buyers. With 71% of all online reviews on Google, it's the top choice for customers starting their search for local dealerships.

Your dealership’s presence on Facebook, through ratings & reviews on your business page, is unavoidable and influential, given that 44.84 million people are active on Facebook.

This platform offers significant exposure and is particularly beneficial if your audience uses Bing, as Bing incorporates Facebook reviews in its local search results.

Trustpilot allows customers to leave detailed feedback and rate dealerships on a 1–5 scale, with scores influenced by various factors. It's a free platform for all users, offering features to display, manage, and analyse reviews, including embedding Trustpilot reviews on your website.

JudgeService is a car-centric review site that car shoppers rely on when buying a car. It not only collects an extensive array of customer feedback but also boasts a strategic advantage through its partnership with Auto Trader.

This unique feature allows dealer reviews to be fed directly through to Auto Trader, significantly enhancing dealership visibility on the UK's leading car sales platform.

Gaining ground in the UK, Feefo collects wide-ranging consumer feedback and, like JudgeService, partners with Auto Trader. This collaboration enhances dealership visibility on a key vehicle marketplace, making Feefo crucial for informed car buying decisions in the UK.

5 Typical Car Dealership Review Examples.

When customers discover a dealership that boasts positive ratings, they often delve into the reviews to understand the experiences of previous buyers. These reviews (and responses) are instrumental in shaping their trust in your vehicles, pricing, aftersales, and customer service.

Here are some examples of car buying & servicing reviews.

1 - Stock Inventory Review.
Having a particular make and model in stock and on-site can win you the sale. Some people will travel from outside their locality for the right make or model.

Stick Inventory

2- Sales Personnel.  
The quality of your sales staff will also be assessed in your reviews. Was the process streamlined and easy, or did the customer feel pressured?

Sales Personnel

3- In-store Experience.
Once car buyers have completed their research online and settled on a car, they don’t want to spend hours at the dealership.

In store experience

4 - Aftersales Service
Given the sheer number of reviews, it's clear that the bulk of dealership feedback comes from current customers bringing in their vehicles for service. This spotlight on your reviews offers a unique opportunity to showcase the excellence of your customer service.


5- Recommendations.
Reviews and recommendations equip car buyers with the knowledge to make more enlightened purchasing decisions, ensuring they are fully informed before finalising their commitment.


The Necessity of Responding to Reviews for Car Dealerships. 


Do not underestimate the importance of responding to all customer reviews, as it is one of the most important in maintaining a positive relationship with your customers.

Here is proof: 88% of consumers are more likely to buy from a dealership if they can see you respond to all reviews. According to The Harvard Business Review, businesses that respond to reviews see 12% more review volume and a star rating incease of 0.12 stars.

Responding to your dealership reviews will:

  • Increase trust.
  • Give you greater online engagement.
  • Improve your Google ranking for local searches.
  • Control your brand's reputation.
  • Increase customer retention.
  • Increase sales.

Is your dealership struggling with prompt and effective responses across multiple review sites? Subscribe to BFN-AI, the review response assistant tailored for car dealerships.

Read this case study how it transformed operations for a dealership using AI-review responses

Be the top dealer in your town, city or UK wide.

A robust review management strategy is essential for maximising visibility and driving sales.

By proactively requesting reviews and managing feedback across multiple platforms, dealerships can enhance their online presence and attract more customers.

Integrating review management with dealership management systems streamlines the process, ensuring that every customer's feedback is acknowledged and acted upon, solidifying the dealership's reputation as a trusted and customer-centric business.

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