More Than Half of Car Buyers Choose a Dealer Based on Reputation

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Most people know that a good way to find the right car is to read car reviews. Owners might recommend a certain car or warn you to stay away from ones with problems.
A lot of these types of reviews can impact a brand’s reputation, but does that change people’s shopping habits? According to Reputation.com, a brand’s reputation might influence customer behavior.
Four wooden stars in a row and one wooden heart at the end
Reputation.com says brand reputation has a strong impact on car sales.

What is the Automotive Reputation Report?

The Automotive Reputation Report was created in 2019, and it was the first report of its kind. It attempted to gauge the online reputation and customer service of car dealerships.
This meant collecting information on written customer responses for about 16,000 dealerships and 28 of the largest car manufacturers. They got this information using AI, machine learning, and customer sentiment analysis to examine social media sites and online reviews.
From what they gathered, they created a Reputation Score for each dealership, manufacturer, dealer group, and OEM brand. The scores let them rank the businesses and create a list of the top 100 brands with the best reputation. They also provided tips on how best to use reputation and customer engagement to increase sales.

Does brand reputation influence sales?

According to the report, a high Reputation Score led to more sales. Sales went up by around 1% for every 30 to 40 point increase in their score.
A positive brand reputation even influenced whether or not people decided to walk into a dealership. A survey found that 54% of people thought a dealership’s reputation was the most important factor when deciding where to buy a car.
It isn’t surprising that there was more than a 10% difference in sales volumes between dealerships that managed their reputations well and those that didn’t.
They also found that a company’s Reputation Score was heavily influenced by how they interacted with customers, especially those that posted negative reviews online. The report shows that negative reviews could be turned into positive reviews 33% of the time just by companies responding to the complaints.
It seems auto dealers are aware of this. They are already better than other industries at responding to negative online reviews. Their response rate to online sentiment is 69%, and the industry as a whole had an average Reputation Score of 607 out of 1,000.
Good customer service in general also has a big impact on brand reputation and sales. The report said 54% of consumers would buy from a dealership that gave them a pleasant experience, even if the cars weren’t cheap. Another 47.6% of people in the study said they make a point to shop where they know salespeople are friendly.

What can brands do to improve their reputation?

The main way to improve a company’s reputation to boost sales would be to encourage good customer service tactics. This includes responding to customer complaints quickly and politely. Customer experience is an important factor in brand reputation, as it has a heavy influence on customer opinion and satisfaction.
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