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Ben Garside: Whether good or bad, you can build trust with online reviews

Time 5 years ago

FIRST Response Finance can now boast that we have 1,900 five-star ratings on the website reviewcentre.com, with an average of 4.8 across all of our reviews on that website.

We recently launched a Feefo review page as well, which has now given us an average of 4.9 out of five.

Now, I know it’s unusual to start selling in an editorial piece so let me state: I’m not. Yes, I do feel very proud to work for a company with such a great reputation, but that’s not why I’m talking about the reviews.


As you will hopefully have seen, at First Response, we are using the reviews in a positive way within our advertising, informing people that we are a trustworthy company and that they can be sure we will provide them with a great motor finance experience, just like we did for thousands of our previous customers.

We also take the feedback seriously and where possible deliver it in a constructive way to our employees.

We have also made changes to our processes based on some of the past reviews and some comments have even led us to update our website.

As a motor dealer, there are so many negative stories flying around about rogue traders and other bad apples that we need to redirect people to the good that we do.


With the rise of social media sites such as Facebook and the reviews that they carry, we can expect more and more customers to be searching for online feedback, so you need to have them visible.

If you’ve stopped them showing on the social media channels you use, it is almost as bad as having negative reviews so think carefully!

So what do you need to do? Well, to begin with, start asking your customers to contribute a review.

There’s no harm in doing this, just give them a card or send them a hyperlink to your review pages.

However, and this is quite an important point, do not ask them to do it while on your premises. This can seriously affect your ratings and even get you banned due to your local IP address. And you must take action on the negative reviews, please don’t let them just sit there.

If you can respond swiftly, then the next customers to view the review will trust that you are a caring company wanting to do the right thing for your customers.

Start to utilise the negative reviews you receive to formulate training for your staff and make sure you give positive feedback where it’s due! And don’t forget to be compassionate in your responses.

It’s worth remembering that a motor vehicle is usually the second most expensive purchase in a consumer’s life.

This means that when a problem occurs with the vehicle it could feel many times worse to them, than it does to you. So a caring and compassionate approach will be needed to resolve the problem.


Be sure to share the positives! After all, customers like to buy from people they can trust, so make sure that your visitors see what a great company you are by sharing your results and the good things people say.

Consumers are visiting review sites more and more as part of their buying cycle so make sure you don’t miss out on these opportunities.

Who is Ben Garside? Ben is marketing manager for First Response Finance. Call him on 07817 518739 or email [email protected]

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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