Trust has always been a crucial factor for businesses. The last 12 months has seen a 2% rise in trust amongst UK consumers in business, government and media, however trust in the automotive industry has fallen significantly – over 6% globally. Trust in the used car industry makes for even worse reading!

According to the latest market report from Autotrader, only 7% of British consumers say they trust used car dealerships, ranking it as the least-trusted industry in the country, behind property, finance and mobile services. In a survey of 5,000 consumers, the used car dealer market was trusted 11% less than the financial sector and 4% less than estate agents – a sign of just how bad the reputation of the industry has become!

However, more than two-thirds of those surveyed said they had a significant level of trust in the dealer they bought their last car from, suggesting that the fears of the industry are much worse than the reality. Autotrader’s operations director, Nathan Coe, insisted that the problem was one of perception rather than reality. He said: “Despite most consumers having positive experiences at the dealership, the industry still suffers with a lack of trustworthiness which resonates strongly with consumers. “Changing these perceptions will be a challenge but the reward could be substantial for the industry.”

Three quarters of consumers said transparency was the most important factor in the car buying process and partly to blame for the continued poor perception of the industry. Customer behaviour is evolving at a rapid rate and the expectations of today’s savvy car buyer are on the rise. The average car buyer spends 11 hours online researching their purchase and the availability of clear information and pricing is therefore key. However, just 22% said they fully trusted dealerships’ websites. The report found that a fifth of car buyers claimed to have found vague or misleading information regarding the buying process and 42% said that this had made the whole process more stressful. More than a third (36%) said that a lack of transparency had actually put them off buying a car altogether.

In today’s digital age, consumers are no longer prepared to work hard to find the information they need to influence their purchasing decision. Wider transparency at a time and place that is most convenient to them will help to increase consumer confidence and trust in the used car dealer market.  So, how do used car dealers go about achieving this?

Personalised customer videos have a significant role to play. Through their effective use, the customer has the chance to see the car in action alongside its retail price, learn about its key features and see the true condition of the car; something a photograph can all too easily hide.  The dealer also benefits through the opportunity to build a personal relationship with the customer and get across their brand culture and personality – helping them stand out from the crowd.

A whitepaper report created by customer intelligence consulting firm Walker, reports that customer experience will overtake price and product as the top business differentiator by 2020!  57% of consumers say that receiving a personalised customer video makes them more confident in completing their purchase. The confidence gained from watching a personalised customer video extends to a greater level of trust in the dealer. Since we live in a digital age, viewers of personalised customer videos say they are 1.2 times more likely to think highly of those dealerships that provide them as part of their customer centric approach.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said: “Now more than ever, the majority of customers will ensure they have taken into account every single detail before committing to a big purchase. Having clear, accurate and honest information is vital in today’s market. “A more transparent approach would help improve perceptions and benefit both consumers and businesses.”

Now is the time for used car dealers to embrace the shift from a product driven to a customer-centric approach in order to drive customer loyalty and trust as well as adapt to changing customer behaviour and expectations.

Through our My Sales Trust product, personalised customer videos are now available to used car dealers across the UK at an affordable price. Sign up and take advantage of our FREE 30-day no-obligation trial today!