Whether it’s checking out reviews before we head for a new restaurant or researching before a major purchase, more of us are looking online for information and suggestions from fellow consumers.
Consumer feedback about car shopping and vehicle maintenance is a relatively new concept. Cars.com launched its service in 2011. It was once viewed with a bit of skepticism, but now Cars.com says that seven out of 10 consumers shopping for a dealership look at online reviews.
Cars.com recently recorded its one millionth review and that review was about the Moritz Chevrolet, Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge dealership in Fort Worth.
Jim Hardick, Moritz general manager, said that his dealership has partnered with Cars.com practically from the beginning, but admits that Moritz checked out the concept thoroughly before signing on. “We wanted to make sure it was a reputable service, good for us and good for the customer. We wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do.”
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It’s been a great partnership, says Hardick, as it alerts Moritz to a potential problem and the good reviews are passed on to the appropriate employees and departments.
Customers in all age groups, all genders, do online research before coming to a dealership says Hardick. “It may have started with millennials, but baby boomers tell me they first read the brief car descriptions in the newspaper, then Google us online to find out more about our selection. Our wide selection gets them into our show room, but they praise us on our customer service – no hassle, no pressure.”
“From the vehicle maintenance side, our customers like that we greet everybody on our service driveway and the ease of getting the vehicle maintenance addressed.”
Whether it’s from the dealership side or vehicle maintenance, Hardick says “that the good reviews always point out the things Moritz values. What we always thought was true, is true, and upholding those ideals is how we train our employees. It’s purely accidental, but it’s nice that that the one millionth review was us.”
“Cars.com has a trust factor and objective viewpoint about the car shopping experience,” said Diane Hickman, director of channel development for Cars.com. “Because the majority of car buyers look at online reviews, car dealerships see that a good report helps sell cars. And since 40 percent of new car purchasers think about service after the sale – and the dealership is the usual place to take it – the service review is also important.”
From the consumer’s perspective, anyone can get the same car, it is the level of service that varies. “Car buyers want to know who is going to treat them well, get them through the car buying process, good price and service on the backend after the purchase,” Hickman added.
Cars.com recently has rolled out new enhancements that transition easily across all electronic devices from home computers, to tablets and mobile phones. “Fifty percent of the Cars.com traffic is from mobile devices, so we created updates to provide a seamless experience regardless of screen size or device,” said Hickman.