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Is An In Store Review Station or iPad a Bad Thing?

A few people today forwarded me the latest DealerRater newsletter which had a very interesting warning to car dealers, as shown below in the red rectangular area:



What is your take on asking a satisfied customer to post a review when they are in the dealership?   Whether it's a review station or an iPad handed to a willing customer, do you think this is bad business?

I'll save my opinions for the comments, so ADM members, time to speak up.


Brian Pasch CEO of PCG


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PCG Digital Marketing
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Brian Pasch

Views: 893

Tags: customer, dealerrater, ipad, review, reviews, stations


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Comment by Bruce Polkes on January 7, 2012 at 4:02pm

@Larry -- appreciate your suggested wording, and all the perspectives on this important topic.  It's a rapidly evolving world!

Comment by Philip Zelinger on January 7, 2012 at 7:19am

Hey Guys,

I have been monitoring the discussion on Google + and the various opinions regarding online reputation management and survey sites but I wasn't sure if we came to a concensus on the initial question posed in this post.  Are customer surveys pushed to Social Networking sites at the time of sale using an iPad or similar process a good idea and should we challenge DealerRater's advice to dealers not to do so?

I am personally invested in the belief that the conversation that is the market starts well before the dealer has a chance to learn from or contribute to it and the point of sale is a great place to jump into the discussion.  Listening and learning from your customer's experiences at your dealership is a time sensitive priority and as long as the solicitation is part of a continuing concern and process to insure their satisfaction I see no need to wait.

What do you think - again, with the assumption that the dealer's agenda is to improve the customer experience, not artificially influence it for a CSI rating.

Comment by David Brondstetter on January 6, 2012 at 7:44pm


Not to insert myself into the intensity of the conversation, but I think your statement "What is it about a Google Review that makes you think it is more of a real opinion than a survey you email a customer? The only difference Tom is one is public and one is not" is off base . Off the top of my head there are numerous differences beyond access. Anonymity being the biggest difference. And, that anonymity becomes the foundation for another key differentiation;  verification of customer status. Is it your customer, your employee or maybe your competitor? Who knows? Timeliness is also an issue. I am sure you've seen the 2 year old review on Googs and Yelp. In my experience, there is very little in common between a Google review and your daily/weekly/monthly CSI Report. How much action can you take with a Google review by someone named "Tank247Rocks!" who says "ABC Motors ripped me off and I will never go back there"? From an internal (fix my process) perspective, nothing! Now, get the same comments from one of your actual customers in a CSI Report and you've got something. Or, a review site that verifies customer status! 

Being in the ratings and review space where our company verifies customer status before we publish a review for our dealerships and independent repair facilities <insert shameless plug for my company here>, I feel like this whole thread is a moot point! Why? Because dealers do a great job overall. At SureCritic, we don't delete bad reviews, we publish the good and the bad, but our clients still manage to average over 4.75 on their star rating. Why? As I said above, dealers do a great job overall and the power of large numbers with the verification of customer status takes care of the few bad reviews. When they get one, they know who it is, they can research the issue, resolve the concern (hopefully) and respond to the review. At the end of the day, regardless of how you get the review/testimonial/feedback/referral or whatever nomenclature you so chose to refer to it as; if you can't verify, it is very difficult to act on it.  There are a lot of review sites out there that have an issue with "who" the reviewer might be...Some have dealers chasing their process improvement tail with little assurance that the review is "real". That said, if there is one thing I am sure of, dealership personnel will figure it out and find a way to make it work. Having worked with dealership personnel for over twenty years, I am not surprised by how well and how quickly they adapt and overcome when faced with the next "latest and greatest" whiz bangy thing that's going to change their professional life.

Bottom line, while many of us pontificate, the dealerships are finding ways to use it to their advantage. If that's marketing great. If it's process improvement great. If it's lead gen from referrals, even better. This much I am sure, when I go to buy a car 20 years from now, I will very likely still be met by a new car salesperson at the door calling "my up"! 

Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 6, 2012 at 6:42pm

@ Tom:  Thank you! 

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 6, 2012 at 6:36pm


What is it about a Google Review that makes you think it is more of a real opinion than a survey you email a customer? The only difference Tom is one is public and one is not and if I am going to get constructive criticism from a customer I would rather get it in private… Tom, anyone would!

It’s definitely not a game Tom, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it.  I don't know about you but I put way too much time in this to not have a good time doing what I do.

“If you can’t smile and have fun at work go get a job driving dynamite truck no one smiles doing that”

Tom GOOD sales hasn’t changed, a good salesperson never had to take control of a customer because the customer wanted to do business with them. That was the same in 1983 when I started and it’s the same now. The internet didn’t change that it’s always been that way.

I don't doubt you are having success your way, I know we have clients having success doing our way. The question isn't right or wrong it’s just what you are comfortable doing. 

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 6, 2012 at 6:26pm

Keith, I wish you a very Happy New Year and I hope it is prosperous for you and yours!

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 6, 2012 at 4:23pm


You confuse strategy with good business, sorry.  Forget about shots across the bow.  For most of us, this is not a game.  I really don't care about customer polls and studies.  I care about reality and real customer opinions.  They don't like being told what to do and when.  You still think in terms of the salesperson taking control.  Forget about it.  That ended long ago with the advent of the Internet.

You are an intelligent person and you have many great things to teach dealers.  Don't water it down by denying that the past is the past.  Can we take control? Yes, but under very different conditions than before. 

Let go!  Do your job.  I have been accused by friends that I have too many good reviews on all sites... google, dealerrater, yahoo, etc.  What's the answer folks?  Should I solicit bad reviews to make it more believable?  That really IS reputation management, isn't it?

No offense, but at that point, I think there must be serious problems with the average dealership.  Do you really have to fake it?  good and bad?

Forget it folks.  It ain't rocket science.  Be a consumer and then remember that when you market.

Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 6, 2012 at 3:51pm

I just realized I didn't answer David Gould!  Sorry David.  

Here's the point of the ten dealers in a different way:  Why should DR get so many dealers with 5 star ratings that participate in their site?  I realize they age reviews, which makes sense, but . . . well, I have to admit something.  I know of a dealer who works the DR site for reviews.  To act like that can't happen because of "IP filtering" . . . ugh.

There's no perfect system.  DR can be beat.  I won't do it for a dealer, but I know of folks who will.  

As to Google and IP:  Google would have no motivation to support worrying about that.  Millions and millions of users and free-roaming mobile devices, IP randomization, etc. make the whole idea ridiculous.  A user writes a review.

When a review site requires proof of a transaction, or attempted transaction, with a business in order to review that busines--that will be a step up.  We won't get there.

Google+ is another effort to provide validated reviewers, but it falls short, too.


Comment by Larry Bruce on January 6, 2012 at 3:31pm


LOL, just putting a shot across your bow ;) but I did want to illustrate the point that review are not new, just the medium by which they are displayed is.

Yes Ryan I asked customers to write their “recommendation letter” right there at my desk and on whatever I had available to me at the time.

I never in 20 years had a customer tell me they were uncomfortable doing, I did have a few that said they preferred not to, to which I usually said  I’m sorry is there anything I can do? If they said no I left it at that.

It’s not the visual imagery, I have no problems with that, hell I spent the bulk of my life in retail auto I have been subject to a lot more disturbing visual images than that. My issue is that review somehow will give the same amount of satisfaction to the customer doing the reviewing as it does the business getting the good review. That notion is simply way off. While there are some people that like to review as they think it gives them some sort of notoriety or satisfaction they are helping that number is miniscule.

Ryan I am not a big fan of sending respondent to Google places page, in fact I will do everything I can to keep a respondent from getting there because of those ads and traffic leaks. At the end of the day Google name is better known and there is some SEO benefit to Google Reviews where with Dealerrater there is not but we use both in landing pages we just don't send respondents to either.

Last thing don't worry about offending me, I don't get offended easily I was just yank’n chain a little with the age thing :)

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 6, 2012 at 3:01pm


We all know the single biggest reason to get a review is that it is almost the equivalent of a referral helping with the social proof to drive conversion. What I don't think we do enough of is using those reviews in selling & closing situations. 

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