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5 Easy Ways to Connect with Customers on Yelp


by Kayla Henricks, Reputation Management Specialist

Have you tried to look for new ways to get connected to the Yelp community?
Of course you’ve already polished up your Yelp listing by adding photos, a business description and maybe even a check-in offer. Now get your staff involved and you will be well on your way to attracting new customers! You simply need a user login on Yelp.com to get started (This is separate from your Business Owner Account you use to log into biz.yelp.com).

Below are five ways you can connect with active Yelpers who do business with your dealership.

1. Yelp Events: Share your dealership events with the Yelp Community
Yelp features a wide assortment of local events in your community. Why not post your dealership’s events on Yelp to share them with a broader audience? Head over to the “Events” tab located on the navigation menu to post your next event or browse the wide variety of events going on in your community. You may want to get involved and perhaps partner with local organizations to get some visibility for your dealership. You can also browse popular Yelp community events and hang out with some of Yelp’s Elite users at outstanding venues!

For example, every year, one of our local Seattle dealerships partners with Seattle Met Magazine to host a Celebrity Steak-Out event. This is a philanthropic event featuring an auction and steak dinner with special celebrity servers. This is a great example of an event that can be featured on Yelp. Posting events that your dealership is hosting or participating in will encourage customers and Yelpers to attend the event. It will also bring a little extra attention to your Yelp Listing getting your dealership some exposure to active members of the Yelp community. These are the folks that are most likely writing Yelp reviews.
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2. Share a Review: Share a dealership review on Facebook, Twitter, or Email it to a friend/customer
Sharing reviews across other dealership social media platforms is a great way to get more activity on your Yelp listing. You can share positive feedback and stories with your followers, and every time they re-share the review it brings even more opportunity to drive traffic back to your Yelp Listing.

Some examples of responses a dealer may want to highlight and share include those from long time and loyal customers, examples of when your dealership went above and beyond to help your customers, or customer mentions of a specific employee or feature of your dealership. Using the “Share Review” feature makes it easy for your dealership to post fresh content from trusted and valued customers in order to keep your pages active.
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3. Compliment: Tell your customer you appreciate their time, story or feedback in their review
If you find a review that is helpful or funny, be sure to keep the positivity going! Let the reviewer know you appreciate them taking the time to share their story by complimenting them. Complimenting reviewers of your dealership is another way to encourage them to keep writing! Check out some of the comments reviewers are leaving for other local businesses – maybe the favorite lunch spot of dealership staff. See something you like? Give them a compliment and let them know if you’re a fan of that local spot too.

4. Send a Message: Build relationships and communicate with customers on Yelp privately
Build relationships with your current customers and initiate conversations with potential customers using Yelp Private Messaging. This feature is a great way for your dealership to:

  • Connect with friends and customers
  • Ask questions or address concerns on specific reviews
  • Get extra tips and tricks on business’ and local events other Yelpers have attended
  • Invite others to your Yelp Events or attend them with you


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Yelp messaging works just like an email. You can read, manage and reply to your messages under the Messages tab in the navigation toolbar.


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5. Follow: Get to Know Your Favorite Customers
Make sure to keep tabs on your dealership’s customers who are active on Yelp. Keeping an eye on customers who have left reviews for your dealership or other local businesses will allow your sales and service staff to encourage them to “check in” or share their story on your listing the next time they visit the dealership. Following reviewers will encourage them to follow you back.

performanceThere are so many ways to get your dealership involved on Yelp. It’s time to start getting connected! Have you tried any of these ideas? Have any more? Let us know!


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About the Author

Kayla Henricks, Cobalt Reputation Management Specialist Kayla Henricks has been a Primary Reputation Management Specialist since 2012. She works with dealerships to improve their customer engagement, overall customer satisfaction, and lead to improving a dealership’s online reputation. She graduated in from Seattle Pacific University in with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. When Kayla isn’t at the gym, cooking or spending time at home with her family in Edmonds, WA you can usually find her rooting on her favorite Seattle sporting teams! Go Seahawks! To this day she is still zipping around in her first car, a black 2005 Jetta GLI! You can reach Kayla directly at kayla.henricks@adp.com.

Learn more about Cobalt's suite of automotive reputation management solutions.

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Tags: Automotive, Best, Dealership, Loyalty, Management, Marketing, Practices, Reputation, Reviews

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Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 4, 2014 at 1:01pm

In regards to asking customers to write reviews, I have debated my friends at Yelp several times about this issue... Their policy reflects the reality that they must avoid the slippery slope of "conditional recommendations" and policies. However, the reality for dealership management teams is that this issue is really more about "How" you request that customers provide dealer feedback, rather than whether or not to do so... Let me explain:

When dealership personnel ask ALL customers to provide feedback and a scaled rating of their experience while doing business with your dealership, without prescreening or filtering out unhappy customers (Like some systems do), then you are acting responsibly and in the best interest of customer service. Furthermore, in order to make this unbiased type of system work, your request for customer reviews must be accompanied by informing the customer that their participation in your dealership's feedback and review process will assist your management team in providing better service to all customers going forward... Asking customers to post reviews is not like an OEM CSI survey process in that it must be done WITHOUT any kind of "please give us 5 Stars, or let me know what I can do to earn a 5 Star review..." or similar conditional statements. ONLY THEN are you not only showing customers that they have a voice, but you are empowering your dealership's reputation management strategy to go beyond just reviews and star ratings to become a customer feedback system that also helps identify points of opportunity for improvement in your dealership's customer experience delivery.

Comment by Kayla Henricks on July 14, 2014 at 7:42am

I have heard varying opinions about solicitation review and several ways to approach soliciting reviews from consumers. At Cobalt we share the same viewpoint as Yelp when it comes to incentivizing current customers to write a review. Offering incentives to leave a business review can be misleading to potential customers and may bring up red flags to third party review sites; potentially damaging your overall online reputation. We suggest that dealers inform their customers that they can leave feedback about their experiences but without any incentives for doing so. Yelp even goes as far as cracking down on business who they feel are inflating reviews. Hope this helps. Thank you!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on July 3, 2014 at 7:57am

Thanks for this article Kayla... I have been an avid Yelper since 2009 and have used Yelp quite effectively with the dealers I have worked with. One thing I really like about Yelp that is not so easily seen is the enthusiasm that Yelpers seem to have for doing business with companies who are effectively present and part of the Yelp community. There seems to be a strong sense of community among Yelpers which means that using the tactics you describe on Yelp may be more effective than if the same things were done elsewhere.

Comment by Tim Clemens on July 2, 2014 at 1:10pm

I've heard that offering your customers an incentive to leave reviews is considered good by some and bad by others.  Thoughts?

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