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Has Siri Changed Your Online Review Process?

I've had a lot of dealers ask me about Siri, especially how it is connected to Yelp and Google. As I've fielded a lot of these questions I've become so immersed into the BUSINESS side of Siri, that I didn't test it out myself as the CONSUMER.

So I did some tests.

First, I tried looking for a Toyota dealership nearby. Siri led me to Monmouth Toyota.

Okay. So that was the closest Toyota dealer to me. But only 1 review? Since I don't have the Yelp app I can't read the review. *Big note here! If the consumer doesn't have the Yelp app, they can ONLY see the star count!* When I click on the dealer's name to see more, it takes me straight to Google Maps.

Let me try looking for a top rated Toyota dealer. *Disclaimer! I'm not sure how many consumers would actually search for this, but for the sake of research let's see what comes up.*

Turns out that Toyota dealers in the area are not looking at their reviews because even though Monmouth only has 1 review it still is 1 more than most of the competitors on Yelp.

Ouch. Monmouth has no visible reviews on Google at a glance, but the other dealers aren't exactly "top rated" here either.

Double ouch.

Let's go back to the start and see what Siri gives me if I search for oil change.

They have 0 reviews and since I don't have the Yelp app, again, I can't read the reviews. Instead I am directed to their Google Maps. You'll see that when you try to read more in Google Maps you CAN NOT READ REVIEWS. Yes, I have the Google Maps app and the Google Places app but I can't see Google star counts or read reviews. 

I wanted to see how they knew Sears Auto Center should come up for an oil change service, since they do not have that category in Google. And when I searched for an oil change center in my town on Yelp, they still didn't come up in my direct search (strange enough, after the first 5 listings they started to give me Italian restaurants).

I did find the Sears Auto Center page. Funny thing is, there's a Sears Auto Center down the road from me. The one Siri is saying is close by is actually not that close. But their listing is claimed and marked "oil change station" in Yelp which gives them a leg up.

Here's what I learned from this:

1. If you don't have the Yelp app, Siri turns ratings into a numbers game. You want a lot of reviews with high star counts. 

2. Even if you have the Yelp app, Siri still turns ratings into a numbers game since you can't read Google reviews.

3. As a user there are a lot of frustrations with Siri. You have to speak slowly and clearly - nearly robotic. Whenever I'm in the car or in a store I can't use Siri because of the background noise. This takes away the idea that Siri is for "on the go." If I'm in a quiet place, wouldn't I just type in what I need for a more accurate, and faster, result? 

4. There is no back button on Siri, so once you click out, you're out. As a consumer, this is extremely frustrating so I only use Siri if I already know what I'm looking for.

5. Is there any way for dealers to know how often Siri is used and for what purpose? Am I looking for a dealership when I've already made an appointment and need directions or am I using Siri during that crucial research phase?

All in all, dealers can't turn a blind eye from Siri but as a Siri user I say the focus is still on Google reviews with Yelp coming in a close second. 

How is Siri changing YOUR review process? Do you have the same frustrations that other users are having?

Views: 268

Tags: google, iphone, marketing, mobile, reviews, siri, yelp


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Comment by Tom Gorham on December 7, 2011 at 10:38am

Hmmm, I have to admit that I was really excited by the news of Siri (oh, I want to meet her so much, but I don't own an iPhone).  I really think it's something to consider.  Although the impact may be small right now, it could also be a sign of things to come.  I'm always telling myself to pay attention and not let things slip out of my radar.  This is one.

Comment by Ryan Leslie on December 5, 2011 at 12:16pm

hmm... I'll repost, but only if Ralph gets to razz you a bit. It will look better coming from him ;)

My comment was simply to be a master of the simple before you chase the shiny.

Siri has all the makings of a shiny novelty item that wears off quickly and I don't want dealers to dramatically change course because of it. Ralph got at the heart of my concern when he mentioned Yelp's filtering. I just don't want to see a dealer throw a bunch of effort into chasing Yelp reviews that are going to get filtered in order to impact Siri. Chase Yelp reviews from Yelpers.

No doubt it's sold a few Iphones, but I don't think Siri is any more lasting in consumer behavior than voice commands for the radio in a car. Fun, but not overly functional.

Comment by Christine Rochelle on December 5, 2011 at 11:19am

@Ryan - I agree it has been a novelty that has worn off for me

@Ralph - I definitely understand your position because I'm in the same spot. We are pushing reviews across all sites because you never know what will get pulled in where in the future. The one piece that frustrates me the most is that it depends on how the user's phone is set up so figuring out an issue with Siri can be much more complicated than some of the things I tried above. Either way, we can all agree we need REVIEWS, REVIEWS, REVIEWS!

Comment by Christine Rochelle on December 5, 2011 at 11:16am

Ryan that was me! I was so excited trying to reply I deleted it. Can you repost? Thanks!

Comment by Ryan Leslie on December 5, 2011 at 11:11am

Guilty I suppose, but "Excellent at multitasking" looks much better on a resume than "Adult ADD." ;)

Ralph, Did I get distracted and delete my own post?

Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 5, 2011 at 10:29am

I like Ryan Leslie's comment... It is certainly a sentiment worth considering, but for me and my clients it is not an option.  When the dealer principal (who is my client) asks Siri "Who is the best Honda dealer in Boston?" and Siri responds with the only 1 out of 5 Honda dealers that this dealer does not already own, then i MUST learn how to better manage Siri results by getting my client's Honda dealerships their enhanced Yelp Profiles, then seeking out active Yelp users who have done business with any one of the four Boston area Honda dealers that my client owns... Then simply asking them to do a yelp review on their experience at the Honda dealership.  We learned early on that asking customers who are not already yelp users to post reviews on Yelp by creating a new profile is a waste of time and a waste of a perfectly good customer review because yelp filters those reviews out. (see )

So, if you work for a dealer who use Siri like so many customers do, you probably should learn how to get some reviews that aren't filtered on Yelp... Besides that, just because Ryan Leslie has a short attention span, does not mean that every car buyer does as well! (just razzing you, relax!)

Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 5, 2011 at 9:42am

Christine - Thank you for a great look at how consumers may use Siri and what the impact on dealers is likely to be... I published an article that was intent on stating the case for dealers to look at Siri as a component of their Reputation Management strategy at which further corroborates and supports the position you state and the conclusions you have come to in regards to dealer use of Siri.

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