Keep It Real: Fake Reviews in 2019

Brogan Huntington

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will have seen that “online retail giant Amazon” has been criticised for displaying FAKE REVIEWS.

Fake Reviews in 2019

A recent article by Which? states that, “Of 12,000 reviews…  the majority (87%) were from unverified purchases.”*

And this is not the first time Amazon sellers have been accused of this.  Last year, an investigation took place that showed Amazon sellers refunding people after leaving a 5* review. Interesting the lengths people will go to for a review!

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Boosting Business Via Partnerships

Brogan Huntington

Over the past year, JudgeService has grown by simply forming key relationships with businesses that share the same target audience as we do.

A few months ago, JudgeService had a breakthrough, a breakthrough that came in the form of Sally, our new sales trainer.

Creative team meeting hands together in line. Young business people are holding hands. Unity and teamwork concept.

She stood at the front of the room and asked us “how many of you ask for referrals?”  Her face did not look surprised at all when we started to stare guiltily at the floor –because this is a look she has seen a 100 times before.

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Dealers Should Exploit Retail Trends


JudgeService advises dealers to look to retail industry for best practice

The retail industry is home to some of the best practice in boosting the customer experience, with brands such as Asda and John Lewis extending relationship building far beyond the shop floor. So, what can car dealers learn from this to enhance their customer service? Dale Woodley, sales director at leading car dealer review site, JudgeService, offers his advice:

“The world of sales and marketing has undergone unprecedented change over the last few years, with consumers taking more and more ownership of the brands and companies they interact with and purchase from. Although many car dealers are investing significantly in developing their digital marketing strategy, there are still several areas which will become increasingly important in retaining a competitive edge.

“The retail sector remains at the forefront of digital marketing and there are many examples of best practice which dealers can learn from and adapt to fit their marketing needs:

  • Social marketing: Customers are increasingly turning to social media as a way of voicing their problems, concerns and questions so lines between marketing, sales and customer service are becoming more blurred. Dealers need to encourage collaboration between departments, sharing the responsibility to respond to social media comments as needed. Marketing teams can liaise with customers via social media when answering straightforward queries but any more detailed questions or complaints should be taken offline and handed directly to the customer service or sales team. I’m sure we’ve all seen the endless Twitter tirades resulting from an inadequate, unhelpful or insensitive response to a customer complaint. One disgruntled American Airlines customer even penned a song detailing his poor experience turning an easily resolved issue into a negative viral video with almost 14 million views!
  • Extending the customer experience beyond the shop floor: Once a customer enters the showroom, it’s highly likely their journey through the business will have already undertaken a number of stages and the physical visit is often the last in the process. Research from JudgeService[1] shows 65% people only ever visit one dealership, and 95% of people only visit two dealerships. Whether it’s reviewing customer comments about their choice of dealer on social media or checking out what servicing options will be available once they purchase their dream car, opinions will already be formed one way or another before they even step foot on the forecourt.  Dealers need to quite literally think outside the box (or showroom) and consider how to enhance every single customer touch point from their initial web search to the day they get behind the wheel of their chosen vehicle.
  • Converting customers to ‘fans’: Retailers have become skilled at turning their customers into advocates, taking their purchasing decision beyond a transaction and encouraging them to share the experience with their peers. Research from BuildASign[2] shows a 7% increase in website conversion rates when visitors see a ‘feed’ of reviews and as a result you’d now be hard pushed to find a retailer website which doesn’t offer customer reviews and ratings for every product. Add to this research from Nielsen[3] which shows 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all other advertising and it’s easy to see how tools such as the eBay feedback model are being replicated across many consumer-facing businesses. Loyal customers will not only return but recommend.
  • Rate and review: Customers are likely to take to social media when complaining about poor service or problems, but how many people consider sharing their positive experiences? Through services like JudgeService, customers are proactively contacted for reviews and so more positive reviews can be captured and used as endorsements. On JudgeService, 94% of all customer reviews[4] highly recommend their dealership. A dealer’s website is often the first point of call for customers, so it’s crucial that the online content must excite and reassure them if it’s to generate enquiries and sales opportunities. If a dealer has four dealerships, with 100 visitors to each website every day and one in each of those 100 visitors is convinced to pick up the phone by reading positive reviews, then that’s potentially four leads secured. Reviews shouldn’t be just a ‘nice to have’, but an essential business tool.
  • Keeping it local and personal: The retail world is seeing a shift back to the high street, with many campaigns to support local retailers and producers, while offering personalised services to shoppers. The supermarket sector is a good example of this, with many now moving to stock locally sourced products depending on their location and providing added value convenience offerings such as ‘Click and Collect’ alongside the ever-developing home delivery options. Although you could argue this doesn’t translate directly to the dealer environment, customers still want to see a personal touch to the service they are offered and appreciate the assurance of knowing exactly where to go and who to speak to if and when they require assistance or advice.
  • Customer satisfaction and its impact on the bottom line: It’s no longer adequate to simply make enough sales to record a profit; dealers need to fully understand customer satisfaction and when they may be failing to deliver, how this has a direct impact on their bottom line.
  • Trust, openness, honesty and integrity: However much the digital world alters the way service is delivered, the core values of trust, openness and honesty will always remain central to keeping customer satisfaction levels high. The real trick is in recognising how these translate to the ever-changing customer journey and making best use of them to convert browsers into buyers.

Launched in 2011, JudgeService ( has received over 100,000 reviews and the service is now used by more than 500 leading dealerships. It is the first customer satisfaction index service developed specifically for the used car sector by those working in the industry. It provides dealers with an end to end customer contact and monitoring tool which not only enables groups to assess used car sales and satisfaction across different dealerships, marques and sales teams, but also encourage and promote positive customer testimonials online and via social media.



For more information please contact Carys Samuel or Rebecca Jackson at Acceleris on 0845 456 7251 or email


[1] JudgeService research across 1,007 car buyers, 2013

[2], 2013

[3] Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report, 2012

[4] Research taken from sample of 100,000 customer reviews generated by JudgeService on behalf of dealers, 2013

What is social proofing?


We all strive to make less mistakes, and one of the ways we can improve on many of life’s smaller and larger decisions is by social proofing.

Social proofing occurs when we rely on a friend or relative to recommend a product or service and it is becoming increasingly prevalent on websites such as Facebook and Trip Advisor. In fact, websites which fail to offer a comprehensive ‘reviews’ section will more often than not lose favour with those buyers who are looking to purchase items or enter into an experience.

The degree to which we buy into social proofing is affected by three major components, the number of people who are performing the behaviour, how similar we perceive these people to be to ourselves (this can be measured by asking the reviewer to include simple information such as their gender and age), and the level of ambiguity or difficulty the decision has caused.

It is a known fact the more people that recommend a product or service, the more likely it is that people will buy into it and recently this has become increasingly obvious within the automotive industry. In fact, in some cases customers will actually enter dealerships, ask for a specific salesman then buy a car from them all because of social proofing.

That is why it is so important for your sales people to perform their jobs to the best of their ability on every single sale that they make – if one customer leaves happy in the knowledge they have received a gold service, more often than not they will go away and tell their friends about it. Those friends will be eager to experience the same level of service, so will perhaps think twice about heading to their local dealership and travel the extra miles to yours.

The advantage of visiting a website like Judge Service is that all the reviews are laid out in one place. We’ve done the work for you so that all your customers need to do is find their nearest dealership with the best recommendation for customer service. Judge Service is a customer satisfaction service designed to help new and used car dealers and car specialists improve their customer satisfaction ratings by generating testimonials and reviews.

Satisfied customers now have a platform where they can share testimonials, provide car dealers reviews and suggest recommended, good and reliable car dealers. In turn, through social proofing, these positive referrals will help you to grow your car sales business and turn satisfied customers into loyal friends.


This article was provided by Duncan Colman, digital advisor for

Getting Good Online Reviews for Your Business

There are two ways to get reviews for your business or products online. A right way and a wrong way.  In 2009 the State of New York collected $300,000 from Lifestyle Lift, a plastic surgery company after it emerged that their employees had written reviews of their products without stating their connection to the company.

So, not wanting to follow in their footsteps, what can you do to ensure that your customers are going to leave reviews for your business that will help enhance your online reputation?

Ask for one. A rather obvious starting point but if you don’t ask you don’t get. Many of your customers will be more than happy to leave a review and there’s no harm in politely asking them to add one. What is important here is that you ask for a review in the right way. Tell you customer that you take their opinions very seriously and they you’re continually checking for feedback and ways to improve. Don’t just hand them a survey after every transaction and request they fill it out.

Make it easy. There’s little surprise that those sites who actively promote feedback are the ones that get the most reviews.  You can add icons to your site that enable your customers to leave feedback, suggest additional features or to have their reviews submitted directly to a review site.

Be prompt. Be sure to contact your customers sooner rather than later. Striking while the iron is hot has been shown to increase your chance of a positive review. The longer you leave it from the time of service to making contact with your customer the less likely they are to leave a review.

Use social media. People may be more willing to send a positive tweet in your direction or post a few good words on your Facebook page than actually completing a review on your site or on a review site. The outcome is that you’ll gain positive mentions of your brand name, services and products in an environment known for its sharing and the more people that share it the better for your business.

Don’t offer incentives. Despite what you may think this can have the adverse effect. You’ll find that if your customers are pleased with your service they’ll happily write you a review. Offering incentives to people who are already fond of you can have diminishing returns and reduce their enthusiasm in your brand.

By implementing the above points you’ll be able to strengthen your online and offline reputation and be in a better position to increase the number of reviews your business receives.

3 Effective Ways To Inspire Customer Confidence

With continual uncertainty surrounding the economy, established businesses going into administration and reduced consumer spending, there is more need now than ever before for businesses to do all they can to inspire confidence in their customers.

Naturally, with so many companies out there competing for your business, creating confidence is easier said than done. So, what exactly can you be doing to ensure that people are going to spend their money with you?

Provide reasonable guarantees. Guarantees can often make the difference between someone deciding to buy from you or from your competitors. By offering a no questions asked, money back guarantee people are far more likely to buy from you than someone only willing to offer store credit or an exchange providing you return your purchase in seven days. Create a guarantee that will give your customers every reason to buy from you and stick to it.

Make it easier for your customers to complain. Many companies do the exact opposite. How many times have you had to search high and low to find the right contact from on a website that allows you to lodge a complaint? Or how many times have you been transferred from one operator to the next when trying to ask for your money back? The harder it is to make a complaint the more irritated the customer will become and the more irritated they become the more people they will tell about the problems they’ve experienced. There is nothing worse than making an already unhappy customer even unhappier.

Be truthful. This may sound a little obvious but many companies are often a little economical with the truth. Some offers seem too good to be true and this is usually the case. If you’re going to create an offer for a product priced at £25 don’t include additional terms and conditions in the small print that requires the customer to make extra purchases. There’s nothing more frustrating for customer than thinking they’ve found a produce they like at a price they’d be happy to pay only for there to be hidden extras.  This is exactly the sort of thing that will put people off doing business with you in the future.

Inspiring customer confidence is all about reducing the risk associated with buying and removing the hassle when it comes to complaining or contacting a business. Think of the things that irk you as a customer and if you can remove them from your business you’re far more likely to give customers the confidence they need to buy from you.

Why Listening To Your Customers Goes Beyond Hearing What They Have To Say

Earlier this year American computer giant Apple topped the American Customer Service Index for the eighth year running achieving a total score that was nearly ten points higher than its closest competitor.

There is no doubting Apple’s brilliance when it comes to technological innovations and the pioneering work of the late Steve Jobs. Apple can rightly be seen as one of the most influential companies in the world, a company capable of created unparalleled interest in everything they do as each new product is met with more hysteria than the last.

What is it then that Apple are doing to achieve such consistently high levels of customer satisfaction when their own customers’ expectations are already sky-high?

Apple embodies the ethos that the user is at the very centre of the design process. All of their products are geared entirely towards the user. Think of the last time you saw an Apple advert, it’s completely user centred almost to the extent that nothing else matters other than the users experience.

Their customer service is no difference. They put their customers at the heart of their service as they aim to build long term relationships that will generate huge profits for the business.

Granted, you might not be too surprised to see Apple sitting at the top of this list as you’d expect them to deliver a first class service but that’s not what this is about. It’s not about which companies deliver near perfect customer service but what they’re doing to get there.

By genuinely caring for your customers and by making them the most important part of what you do you’ll see the positive impact that this can have on your business.

How Customer Service Can Grow Your Business

Establishing a reputation for quality customer service can do wonders for your business. By providing a quality service, your reputation will be enhanced as friends, family and work colleagues of satisfied customers become aware of the standard of service that you provide. With countless review sites and various social media platforms, word of mouth has the potential to reach new audiences and bring new customers to your business.

If, on the other hand, you fail to offer the levels of service your customers expect, the exact opposite will happen. Instead of pleasing one customer and gaining many more in the process, you’ll do the one thing that no business can afford to do: lose customers.

Research has shown that people are influenced by what they hear from their friends and family when it comes to doing business with a particular company.  So, what can your business do to ensure that you consistently deliver the standard of service that will grow your customer base?

While automated facilities have their uses, they’re still incapable of providing whole satisfactory answers to many of your customer enquiries. Providing live representatives who can respond to your customers’ queries gives your business a more human face and provides your customers with a level of personal service.

Having the ability to empathise with your customers is essential. As a customer service representative, you’re the first point of contact for people with a wide range of questions and concerns. You may have to deal with emotionally charged individuals who are incredibly angry or upset with your company, so being able to fully understand their frustrations and empathise with them is vital.

One way to offer superior quality service and something which is often employed by leading businesses is to pair customers with representatives. This way your business can catalogue every action from your client and record it in a database. This is a great way for you to build relationships with your clients and provide them with a managed service instead of just one off customer support.

Providing better quality customer service is all about being proactive and going the extra yard. Look in detail at every call you receive: are there patterns emerging that could suggest there is a bigger issue which needs resolving? If so, act straight away to address the problem before it turns in to a bigger one. Be sure to follow up on your customers once you’ve dealt with their query to assure them you’re doing your upmost to ensure that they’re happy with your service.

Providing customer service isn’t just about answering people’s phone calls and replying to their emails. It’s about developing a successful relationship with people who you want to turn into repeat customer, people who will recommend you to others and people who will help your business grow.

Managing Your Online Reputation

The rapid growth of review sites and social media in recent years has had a major effect on the reputations of many businesses. These sites give your business more exposure than ever before, they allow new customers find you and old ones to criticise you.

The very thought of businesses appearing on review sites with people free to write what they like about them may be a terrifying prospect for most business owners. There is, however, a flip side. Consider how much new business could be sent your way from customer referrals and by developing a positive social media presence.

Many people think that by having a Facebook page or Twitter profile, they’re ‘doing social media’. They’re very much mistaken. Simply posting updates on Facebook, and Tweeting from time to time won’t cut it. You need to monitor the online conversation and actively engage with your customers.

Perform a vanity search now for your business and ask yourself: What’s the first impression of your business? If you were a prospective customer, would any of the reviews influence your purchasing decision? Try and see your business through the eyes of your customers.

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Knowing What to Look For When Buying a Used Car

Considering how the economy has taken a turn for the worse in recent years, it’s not at all surprising that more and more people are looking into the possibility of selling their existing car and buying a used car.

This decision, which many have taken in light of the recent recession, has proven to be wise one. Unfortunately, it’s not just a case of heading to your closest used car dealer and buying the first car you see. There are a number of factors to consider first.

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