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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.


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


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Comment by Tom Gorham on January 6, 2012 at 2:51pm

Hmmm, I have a lot of respect for Larry and Brian. I don't always agree but they are very smart people.  Ryan, my only gripe with DealerRater is the same as Keith's and that has to do with marketing.  But in light of everything else, it's trivial. Otherwise, I have found that we share the same philosophy about reviews. They are meant for good customer experiences and if you can't do that, then suffer the consequenses and shut up.  Done.

Comment by Ryan Leslie on January 6, 2012 at 2:42pm


Maybe we can crash whatever bar Larry and Brian are drinking at and sit at the exact opposite end. ;)

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 6, 2012 at 2:36pm

@Ryan You stated my belief completely with the following:  "Asking for a customer to write a review is not coercion. Asking them to do it at your convenience when you are still in control of their experience more than flirts with coercion. "

Why didn't I say that? It's the God-awful truth.  And everybody knows it whether they like it or not. This is a dealer site.  I am sympathetic to that.  I think I must be since I'm in this business.  I don't work for the customer, I work for the dealer.  But more and more today, that is the same thing.  It's called customer service!

Comment by Philip Zelinger on January 6, 2012 at 2:21pm


Since this is a separate reply I get to add another reason - right?

To inspect what we expect in our sales process to insure that we are maximizing the ROI from every customer and with all of our staff and processes on an individual basis.

Comment by Ryan Leslie on January 6, 2012 at 2:20pm

Whoa Larry, apparently you were offended by something I said? This discussion is lighthearted purely academic for me, nothing personal. I doubt I'll convince you that you are wrong, and DealerRater won't be relaxing the standards that preserve our integrity as a result of this thread. My goal is simply to help dealers understand why we take such a strong stance since the newsletter to our Certified stores was posted here. 

I'm not going to unpack and rebut your post line for line, but I'll address a few things and encourage you to reread this thread and read Blumenthal's articles.

  • If your perception of my age is an obstacle for you, God help ya, I can't. PS. I'm about as old as Larry Page and Sergey Brin, I trust you've heard of them, and I'm older than the guys behind Facebook and YouTube. When I need tech support with an Iphone, I ask a 12 yr old. Age is irrelevant, interest and subject matter experience have much more bearing on understanding. I do get to do this all day, Larry, I know a little bit about this topic and have no problem telling even the old school car guys they can "trust me."
  • How many of the letters in your evidence manual were written by customers at your desk? Did you have special stationary for that? Tom's dead right on this, this is not a consumer friendly practice, it benefits the dealer only.
  • Asking for a customer to write a review is not coercion. Asking them to do it at your convenience when you are still in control of their experience more than flirts with coercion. You appear to be confusing the two.
  • The reason the notion of a customer "being served" in a review process is ridiculous to you is because your purpose for collecting reviews is wrong. Reviews are not solely a marketing tool. If you don't like the visual imagery in the quote, take it up with the well respected author, I think it is fitting, but it's not original to me. He IS an expert, I simply cited him as a source.

Research the impending FTC investigation and take a closer look at Google's ad policy on Places Pages and even Bubble ads. There's plenty of monetization and competitive advertising to go around.

One last thing Larry, take it from a passionate student of the ratings and reviews business that has read a lot of articles and actually watched those Senate hearings, the guy we run away from the fastest is the guy that says "Google cut off 3rd parties from Places because they didn’t trust the content." ;)

Comment by Philip Zelinger on January 6, 2012 at 2:18pm

To earn the customer's continued business and referrals in sales and service vs. having to constantly invest in conquest sales through conventional media.  Word of mouth advertising is the media of the future now that technology has enhanced it and made it scalable.

Comment by Scott Falcone on January 6, 2012 at 2:05pm

Question for anyone- What is the single most important reason you as a dealer would try to obtain a review? Curious to hear the experts chime in.

Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 6, 2012 at 12:49pm

@ Larry:  That comparison of asking for reviews to asking for referrals is very true.  In the case of reviews, if they customer is that unhappy, then they have all the time and the Internet to complain later and likely will.  Catching them at the dealership is a godsend, really, both for the dealership AND for the customer.  You and they have a chance to figure it out.  I saw this for myself on the service drive, for example, and it applies of course even more to sales.  Thanks!

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 6, 2012 at 12:47pm


This is tried and true from the old days

“Mr. / Ms. Customer here at ABC Dealership we rely heavily on repeat and referral business and it’s always a great thing when others can see how customers feel about our services. Would you mind taking a few minutes to write a review here of your experience today? I know it would mean a lot to others who are considering buying from our dealership and to us as well. 

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 6, 2012 at 12:31pm


Don't confuse ratings & reviews with customer feedback those are two very different things. Tom you want a good review you want to be present, you want to have the chance to cure any problem before the review BECASE IT IS PUBILC.

As for customer feedback it is crucial but it is something you take out of the public spectrum never seek to air your dirty laundry in public, ever.

Reviews are not a feedback forum, they are a marketing tool there is a difference. 

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