Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders

Loading... Be Patient!

Study after study finds that word-of-mouth is the single greatest influencer when it comes to marketing.
Providing a consistently excellent customer experience, then having those customers go out and tell their family and friends about it is the marketer’s holy grail. According to many, it’s perhaps the easiest and least expensive way to acquire new customers while also retaining those you already have.


While word-of-mouth is certainly an influencing factor, some tend to focus too much on purely positive word of mouth. What do I mean by that? Think about the plethora of sites and organizations where your customers can leave feedback about you for others to see. Everyone high fives each other when a five star or glowing review comes around; and goes into damage control mode when customers say bad things. For many, the strategy behind damage control is simple, get more great reviews to bury any negative ones. That will work, right?


Not quite. Here’s why:


While it’s generally true that consumers trust reviews from others, they are increasingly more interested in negative reviews than positive ones. For today’s savvy consumers, while those positive reviews will tell them how great the product or service is, what they really want to know is two-fold: what people who didn’t have a great experience have to say and how the company handled it.


Aside from the obvious natural cynicism many feel when seeing a product or service with tons of positive reviews – and the potential for some or many of those reviews to be manufactured – all they want to know is whether the product or service solves the problem they are looking to rectify, and does the company stand behind its offering.


Why do you think it’s so difficult to get customers to leave positive reviews? Because they EXPECT that customer experience and, when they get it, there is no motivation to publicly scream that company’s greatness. Think about that last great meal you had. Did you immediately go into Yelp, Google or any other review site and tell the world? No, you probably didn’t. At the very most, you may have told your friends or family how great the meal was which could drive incremental business for the restaurant.


It’s much easier – and more likely– for a person with a negative experience to leave a review because they are frustrated about their negative experience. Think about the last time you went to a restaurant and had a horrible experience. Maybe you waited forever to get acknowledged. Perhaps the food was sub-par. Whatever the reasoning, you are much more likely to tell the world about this type of experience because you are feeling emotionally wronged.


While it’s great to get good reviews, the real tell-tale sign of how a business is really treating its customers is how they respond to and handle negative reviews. Think about it: No business in the universe is going to fake negative reviews. And that’s why consumers trust negative reviews more than positive ones. Have you ever seen a news story where a company was accused of paying or planting negative reviews about themselves? Chances are slim that that it has ever happened.


So, is word of mouth important?
Yes. Negative word or mouth, however, carries much more weight when the company handles it correctly and consumers can see how passionate the company is about setting things right and providing a good customer experience.


Companies that pay close attention to negative reviews, publicly acknowledge them and make a concerted (and public) effort to rectify the consumer’s problems, will find that consumers are much more likely to forgive them when reading those reviews -- If they can see that the business cares and will help them should something go wrong.


That’s all anyone really wants, right? Few people expect perfection from any business. The only way to overcome negative word-of-mouth is by paying as much attention to how those negative comments are handled as you do the positive reviews.


Make damage control more of a priority along with your drive for positive reviews and you could find that those negative comments and word-of-mouth transform into value proposition statements that consumers trust.


Views: 213

Tags: automotive, content, customer, dealership, leads, marketing, media, profit, revenue, reviews, More…sales, social


Oops... You need to stop "Lurking" on ADM and become a more genuine Automotive Professional by completing your membership registration. As a registered ADM Member, you can post comments, publish your own articles (be a star!) and start Forum discussions. Stop being an online "Peeping Tom" and JOIN ADM RIGHT NOW!

Join Automotive Digital Marketing

Comment by sara callahan on April 23, 2018 at 4:05am

Thanks Ralph, yup it certainly is the reality of today's marketplace:)

Comment by Ralph Paglia on April 22, 2018 at 11:17pm

Great post Sara! Right on target and very much the reality of today's marketplace...

Automotive Professional Network and Resource Exchange for Car Dealers, Managers, OEM and Marketing Practitioners seeking Best Practices.

ADM Sponsor

William B. Terry
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...

ADM Badge


Based On Your Interests...

ADM Consulting, LLC

Onsite/Offsite Combination ADM Consulting, LLC Professional Services
Select the maximum monthly investment you plan to make
Sign up for

Automotive Marketing Tools

Get ADM Toolbar

Click here to take the ADM Member Survey

Getting too many emails from ADM? Click mailbox below to control which types of alerts and updates you are sent......



ADM Professional Services
Phone Consultation
Topic or Issue:

Top Automotive Marketing Forum Discussions

1. BDC or Virtual BDC

Posted by Peter Stratton on February 26, 2020

Share the Best Content w/AutoMarketing Community

© 2020   Created by Ralph Paglia.   Powered by

ADM Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service