How to build a trustworthy reputation in the motor industry

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UK consumers are going through a crisis of confidence when it comes to trusting the motor trade. In a national survey, more than half of respondents said they find the industry “untrustworthy” compared with just one in five (19%) believing they would get good service from used car dealers.
 
Only two in every 100 people across the UK said they trust sellers to give them a good deal on a second-hand car, and just one in 12 people feel they can rely on a dealership to give them clear and unbiased information.
 
Commenting on the Select Car Leasing survey, the firm’s director Mark Tongue said: “The reputation of so-called dodgy wheeler-dealers is incredibly old-fashioned and the majority of people buying new or used vehicles have a positive experience.
 
“The industry must act to improve this unjustified image,” he added.
 
So, where do you start trying to earn the trust of untrusting consumers?
 
It’s not going to happen overnight, but with a bit of legwork you could build a positive reputation for your motor trade business. Here are some tips on how to start cultivating a reputation that makes you more appealing to customers:
 

1. Claim your listings

The first thing to do is to make it easy for your customers to find out relevant information about your business online. When what they see online tallies with reality, it starts to create an impression of a firm that can be relied upon.
 
The obvious starting point is the big four: Google, Facebook, Yelp and Yell. Ensure that all the details – address, telephone number, opening times, service offering – are present and correct. When a business gives the impression that they’re ‘off grid’ by not claiming their listings, it can leave customers wondering why.
 
It also pays to be active and up to date on respected industry websites such as The Good Garage Scheme, which is ‘neutral ground’ in customers’ eyes therefore likely to paint an accurate picture of the business in question.
 

2. Encourage customer reviews

Customer reviews are important to all businesses in this day and age – motor trade firms are no different.
 
Customer reviews give your business credibility and act as social proof that your company is every bit as you claim it to be. According to BrightLocal, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses; reading an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.
 
Not only do you need to ensure you’re building up your bank of testimonials, you need to keep them coming regularly – 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past two weeks.
 
So, when you’ve provided a customer with a first-class service, ask them if they would mind going online – customers can leave reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp and Yell – to give your business a star rating and perhaps a small comment to accompany it.
 

3. Work on your website

 

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Not only should you ensure your online presence on third-party websites is having the desired effective on customers, your own site could do with a bit of work, too.
 
But if you really want to stand out above the competition and gain the trust of more customers, it’s well worth your time ensuring visitors to your website can easily find the information they’re looking for, whether they’re browsing on their desktop computer or smartphone.
 
Things to include when developing your website:
 
·         An ‘About us’ section which discloses the history of your business (customers like longevity and authenticity)
·         A place where customers can view and submit reviews (you might be able to pull them through from third-party websites)
·         Imagery of your garage and profiles of staff (people want to put a name to a face)

 
As well as taking full advantage of your website, make the most of social media. Posting regularly on Facebook, in particular, on topics that are relevant to what you do, creates an impression of authority and trustworthiness.

ittle and often is key to social media – just remember to check in regularly to answer any questions submitted by customers via Facebook Messenger.
 

4. Keep communication channels open

There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than poor communication. Honesty and openness is key.
 
If you’ve told a customer that their car is going to be repaired and ready the next day, but then delays mean that you’re not going to be able to meet that verbal promise, let them know at the earliest opportunity.
 
While they might be disappointed, by calling them in advance they can make alternative arrangements for getting to and from work, for example.
 
Providing you can give them a good reason why you’re having to keep hold of their car longer than expected, or the bill is going to be more expensive than you had originally quoted them, they’ll likely be more accepting and understanding of it; trusting that you’re doing everything you can to work as quickly as possible.
 

5. Take out comprehensive cover

It can take a lot of trust for customers to put their car in your hands – knowing that you have motor trade insurance that acts as cover in the event of anything going wrong provides an assurance to them.
 
Motor trade insurance policies are typically designed for vehicle traders who work from business premises. As well as road risk cover (covering you to drive your own vehicles, plus those that aren’t yours for the purpose of carrying out your job), these policies typically come with a bespoke range of cover options that you can tailor to your specific needs.
 
Motor trade insurance from Insurance Choice can include:
 
·           Car deal at-home policy
·           Minder insurance policies for trades including repairers, repossession agents and valeters
·           Road risk only cover
·           Full trader policies for car dealers at premises, and vehicle importers and exporters
·           Cover for traders specialising in sports, prestige and imported cars

 
We supply cover for motor traders over 25 years old and will consider past criminal convictions.
 
Protect your business and your livelihood with competitively-priced motor trade insurance from Insurance Choice. Get a quote today!

 

Frequently asked questions

 

How can I encourage my customers to leave reviews for my garage business?

Encouraging your customers to leave reviews for your garage business can be as simple as providing exceptional service that they'll want to shout about! Consider asking for feedback directly after a positive interaction or service completion. A friendly reminder via email or text, with a direct link to your review platform, can make it easy for them to share their thoughts. You might also offer a small incentive, such as a discount on their next service or entry into a prize draw, to show appreciation for their time. Remember, exceptional customer service and expressing the value of their opinion can go a long way in fostering a community of loyal customers eager to support your business with glowing reviews.

 

How can I improve customer satisfaction within my garage business?

Improving customer satisfaction in your garage business is key to driving repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. Start by ensuring your team provides honest, transparent services and clear communication about repairs and costs. Implement a reliable booking system to minimise wait times, and consider a comfortable waiting area with amenities like Wi-Fi and complimentary beverages.

Additionally, follow up with customers post-service to gather feedback and show that you value their opinions. Remember, a satisfied customer is not just a one-time visitor but potentially a lifelong patron and advocate for your business. Keep them coming back with exceptional service that goes beyond the nuts and bolts!

 

How can I improve my online reputation for my garage business?

Boosting your online reputation for your garage business can be a game-changer in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. Start by encouraging satisfied clients to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google My Business and social media. Ensure your website is sleek, mobile-friendly, and reflects the professionalism of your services.

Engage with your audience by sharing helpful car maintenance tips, showcasing before-and-after work, and responding promptly to inquiries and feedback. Additionally, consider creating loyalty programs or exclusive online offers to foster a community of returning customers. By actively managing your online presence, you'll drive the right kind of traffic into your garage doors!

 

How can I deal with negative reviews of my garage business?

Dealing with negative reviews of your garage business can be disheartening, but it's also an opportunity for growth. Firstly, take a moment to assess the feedback objectively – is there a valid point raised that you can address and improve upon? Responding professionally and courteously to the review is crucial. Acknowledge the customer's concerns, offer an apology if appropriate, and suggest a solution or compensation if necessary.

This shows potential customers that you value client satisfaction and are proactive in resolving issues. Additionally, use negative feedback as a tool to refine your services – sometimes the most critical reviews can lead to the most significant improvements in your business. Remember, every review is a chance to enhance your reputation and customer experience.

 

Does brand reputation impact businesses within the motor trade?

Brand reputation plays a pivotal role in the success of businesses within the motor trade. It's the engine that drives customer trust and loyalty, powering sales and fuelling growth. A sterling reputation can accelerate a brand to pole position, making it the go-to choice for consumers seeking quality and reliability.

Conversely, a few knocks and dents in public perception can be costly, stalling potential deals and steering customers towards competitors. In an industry revved up by fierce competition, a solid brand reputation isn't just desirable—it's the vehicle for long-term success, ensuring businesses stay on track and ahead of the pack.

 

How to build a trustworthy reputation in the motor industry?

Building a trustworthy reputation in the motor industry hinges on unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction and service quality. Start by ensuring that your business provides honest and transparent services. Be upfront about costs, avoid hidden charges, and deliver on your promises. Invest in trained and courteous staff who are passionate about cars and customer service.

Encourage customer feedback and respond promptly to any concerns or complaints. Moreover, keep abreast of the latest automotive technologies and trends to offer knowledgeable advice and services. A reputation for reliability is not built overnight, but through consistent positive interactions, your motor industry business can become a trusted name on everyone's lips.