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3 ways to build trust through shopper reviews: Top Rated Dealer 2020

Posted by Sarah Pekala on March 17, 2020

Buying a car in 2020 looks very different than it did 10 years ago. Thanks to the overload of options, car shoppers are uncertain about key decisions, such as where to buy. According to our 2019 Buyer Insight Report, most buyers (73%) research and compare exhaustively. Even after all that research, 72% of buyers report that they were uncertain or changed their mind about the dealership they bought their vehicle from.

The decision to choose one dealership over another is influenced by several factors—one of the most important being transparency. Dealer reviews provide the transparency shoppers need to make informed an informed decision about where to buy. Transparent dealers are trusted dealers—they’re our Top Rated Dealers. Here are three quick ways to manage your reputation and build trust in your dealership:

1. Treat negative reviews as an opportunity to right a wrong

A thoughtful response to a negative review shows consumers that you’re paying attention to their feedback and that you care about providing excellent customer service. In your response you should own it, identify a solution, and make it up:

  • Recognize and own up to the issue
  • Explain your solution and how you plan to learn from the customer’s negative experience
  • Finally, extend some kind of offer to try and make up for the issue, such as a discount, refund, or free service.

2. Proactively seek out reviews

Car buyers are paying close attention to your dealer reviews. In our Buyer Insight Report, over a quarter of shoppers read reviews. You can build a pipeline of reviews by encouraging your sales team to seek them out during the buying process. It shows your customers that you value their point of view and are open to feedback.

If you’re not a CarGurus Top Rated Dealer quite yet, consider creating and handing out physical cards that encourage shoppers to leave a review about their experience with your dealership on CarGurus.

3. Respond to positive reviews to build your referral network

You wouldn’t ignore a compliment you receive in person, so don’t ignore positive online reviews. Replying with a “thank you” will reinforce your dealership’s commitment to customer service and will have a lasting impact—it may even encourage repeat business.

Every review provides an opportunity to engage with your customers and build trust. To learn more about how to manage your online reputation, download our 2020 Reputation Management ebook.


The most trusted dealers are among CarGurus’ 2020 Top Rated Dealers. This annual award celebrates an exclusive group of car dealers for their exceptional service and commitment to customer satisfaction. We launched this award four years ago because we believe that transparency and trust is at the core of the car business. Dealers are named a Top Rated Dealer based on real customer reviews—regardless if they’re a paying CarGurus customer or not. That transparency builds trust not only with dealers, but with shoppers who are searching for a dealership to purchase from.


Topics: CarGurus news, reputation management, Top Rated Dealer