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Trusted information at buyers’ fingertips

Time 4:51 pm, November 1, 2019

In this sponsored post, Trustpilot describes why it is the go-to customer review platform for dealers.

IN TODAY’S fast-paced online world, it’s important for car dealers to have the edge in converting browsers into buyers – and nothing plays a bigger part in doing that than reviews.

Customers want information at their fingertips and there’s certainly plenty of it around. So it’s just as important that they can trust that information – which is why Trustpilot is the go-to customer review platform for dealers.

As founder and chief executive Peter Holten Mühlmann says, ‘More than just a rating, Trustpilot stars signify that a company has nothing to hide, loves its customers and shares our mission to create ever-improving experiences for everyone.’

Expanding on the theme, Neil Bayton, Trustpilot’s head of partnerships UK, said: ‘We’re very proud of our reputation and the quality of the reviews held on the platform, and that’s one of our main selling points. Customers recognise us as the best place they can get authentic opinions of over 300,000 businesses globally.’

So, what are the benefits of Trustpilot for dealers? What can it offer them and why should they sign up? ‘Online car sales are increasing and consumers are now online researching their next car purchase. All this happens before they even set foot in a physical dealership,’ said Bayton.

Neil Bayton

‘Trustpilot provides a place for customers to see the great service you offer through the trusted eyes of other consumers.

‘Reviews are a great way to show that you care about your customers and that you’re actively listening and engaging with them. The more trusted you are, the more you’re likely to sell.

‘Trustpilot allows people who might be buying their next car to quickly understand the quality of the experience they’ll be getting from others who have already been through the process. People really trust and value this social proof. It saves time when they’re trying to get the best possible deal, a better product, or a better service.’

It’s therefore a quick and easy way to get customers into showrooms and buying cars.

Online reviews are certainly becoming increasingly important. ‘We’ve done some research that shows that in 10 years’ time, 20 per cent of millennials will be happy to buy a car completely online. That’s a lot of people and means that reviews – real people’s opinions and real experiences – are only going to become more important,’ Bayton pointed out.

The way people buy cars and research buying cars has changed massively, so dealers need to get their reputation where people can find them and Trustpilot – as the UK’s 29th most visited website – is one of the most important platforms imaginable, with its reviews a fundamental part of that decision-making process.

Fake reviews are a sad fact of life, but Trustpilot works extremely hard to safeguard against them and has top advice for dealing with criticism and poor feedback too.

‘The number one piece of advice I’d give to car dealers on managing their online reputation is to respond to negative reviews,’ said Bayton.

‘We recommend that all businesses engage with their clients. Who better to learn from and improve your business than your existing clients? Even though three stars is ambivalent, we’d still recommend that you respond to a three-star, a two-star and a one-star review.’

Do it quickly, too. ‘The more responsive you are the better. The expectation from the consumers is to get a response within 48 hours, but the quicker you are, the more opportunity you have to beat your customer’s expectations and always keep the conversation constructive and positive.

‘We encourage businesses to be as transparent as possible, especially when you receive a negative review. Every business has the ability to respond to reviews openly on Trustpilot. Nobody is completely perfect, and consumers don’t expect you to be, but what they do want to see when they’re looking at your negative reviews, is that you’ve tried to help to fix the issue.

Fantastic reputation

‘The more potential customers can see that you’re acting genuinely and are doing the best you can, the more you’ll be seen as a trusted dealership to do business with.’

Established in 2007, Trustpilot has grown to become the world’s most powerful review platform with a fantastic reputation – and there’s a very good reason for that: its rigorous and robust approach to openness and transparency.

There’s a lot of talk these days about fake news, but Trustpilot safeguards against that. ‘Upholding the integrity of Trustpilot is vitally important to us and we work extremely hard and invest heavily to combat any misuse of our review platform. We have lots of different measures to ensure that the reviews posted on our platform reflect genuine buying or service experiences,’ said Bayton.

That includes specialist software to identify and remove fakes, as well as a dedicated team of experts who investigate and uphold the platform – but Trustpilot’s community ethos is the very heartbeat of the platform, emphasising the probity of the reviews that it carries.

‘We know that 92 per cent of people read reviews before making a purchase,’ said Bayton. ‘It influences their decision, and we take that very seriously. That’s why on the consumer side they need to know that our reviews are real and that they can trust them, and they can part with their money based upon the reviews that they read.

‘It’s also important on the car dealer’s side. The real value of Trustpilot is the fact that we’re a consumer brand and we don’t sit within one vertical, especially with buying a car. You might only buy a car every three to five years, but consumers are familiar with the Trustpilot brand through various touchpoints and services they use every day. Having a recognised and familiar symbol next to your car dealership provides greater credibility and trust in your business.’

Strength of numbers also makes a compelling case for signing up with Trustpilot. ‘Trustpilot is a destination site for consumers,’ said Bayton. ‘But I’m not going to pretend that all of our traffic comes from people going direct to Trustpilot.

‘What typically happens is a brand search in Google. Now, with Trustpilot being the 29th most-visited site in the UK, we get a lot of ‘‘Google juice’’ – for want of a better expression – so car dealers’ profile pages on Trustpilot are very highly ranked. Their Trustpilot profile page will be ranked higher than their own site, so typically what we’re seeing is their Trustpilot reviews are very prominent in the new way people are researching to buy a car.’

Bayton continues: ‘Take the example of a customer looking to purchase a Ford Focus. They have found two different cars in different locations. One is five miles away and the other is six miles away. They’re both around the same price, but one is showcasing 300 Trustpilot reviews – and they’re not all five stars, some are three stars – and the other one just shows maybe one or two reviews from elsewhere.

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‘The social-proof element of the 300 reviews is going to be what convinces that person to visit that car dealer. Other people have been on that buying journey and it convinces the customer that you have a great reputation.’

Nowadays, people will, on average, visit 1.2 dealerships rather than the five or so that they used to before the internet came along. With Trustpilot on your side, you can help make sure it’s yours they end up in.

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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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