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Your Online Reputation Is Hurting Your Customer Retention: 6 Tips To Create Customer Loyalty and Maintain Your Online Reputation

Statistics show that a customer who has a good experience will tell 4 to 5 people. However, a customer who has a bad experience will tell more than 20. In addition, they will usually leave a negative review to go with that word of mouth to leave a permanent finger pointed at your dealership in a bad way.

 

Maintaining your online reputation is crucial to new customers and previous customers deciding whether to make you their choice. If you don’t manage complaints and deal with them effectively, you are losing what could be a loyal customer and preventing prospects from ever becoming loyal customers.

 

But maintaining that reputation doesn’t start online, it starts at your dealership with each and every customer.

 

Here are 6 Tips to Maintaining a Great Online Reputation:

         1.    Have someone assigned to monitoring your review sites.

It is important to know what is being said about you in the digital world. By knowing when a negative review is posted, you can have someone handle the complaint immediately, and hopefully have the customer revise their complaint into a compliment, (preferably BEFORE anyone sees the complaint).

 

        2.    Know How to Handle Complaints.

Everyone in your dealership should be able to “manage” their own complaints. If you are the only one equipped to handle complaints, this may monopolize your time, thus eliminating the time needed for planning, strategizing and development your department and your dealership.

 

        3.    Prevent Negative Reviews with Great Follow-Up.

A follow-up phone call should be made to each and every customer 24 hours after their purchase or service visit to make sure that they are completely satisfied. It is important that the person making these calls have the authority and knowledge to handle complaints and who to assign a customer to should they need to return. Having a minimum wage college student handle this for you may actually cause more miscommunication and dissatisfaction in the long run. Put someone in place that understands how a dealership runs and has a strict guideline for how to handle a complaint.

 

       4.    Give Great Customer Service.

I know this one should be a given, but I want to emphasize that great customer service includes knowledge, honesty, quality and sincerity. You can’t just put a smile on your face and expect people to worship you. You have to know your product so that you can answer their questions and gain their trust. Be sincere and let them know that you are there to help them, not rip them off. When you are not sincere, it shows and makes the customer leery.

 

        5.    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for a Positive Review.

A lot of customers don’t even know that you have a review site or even think to post a review unless they are upset. Asking a satisfied customer to post a quick comment about why they love your dealership will give your online reputation a huge boost. Whoever you have making your follow-up calls could request this, or if you have a follow-up email created to go out to customers you could include a link in the email to make it easier for the customer. But it is important that if you include this in an email that you give the customer the option to voice a complaint. This can be a link that will allow them to submit a complaint to the General Manager. Otherwise, only having a link to POST a review could lead to more damage.

 

         6.    Know How to Handle a Negative Review.

When a negative review is posted, you need to do damage control and FAST. Before you contact the customer, do your research.

  • Who was the advisor and technician or salesperson?
  • What did they purchase or what service did they have done?
  • Will they need to return to the dealership?
  • How long have they been a customer?

 

When you contact the customer you should know and anticipate what they will say, want and need. Your ONLY goal should be to please that customer, not defend your dealership.

 

In conclusion, by preparing for complaints and negative reviews and knowing what to do to prevent negative reviews and unsatisfied customers, you will be able to proactively manage and build your online reputation to secure a life long supply of loyal customers.

 

We would like to know what strategies you have in place to build your online reputation and what you would recommend to our followers. What have you done to build your online reputation?

Views: 854

Tags: automotive, customer, loyalty, negative, online, positive, reputation, review, service

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Comment by Mike Gorun on March 7, 2013 at 4:25pm

Michal, I completely agree that "a dealership's reputation cannot effectively be outsourced". I have found that really understanding the customer and doing the research beforehand lets them know how much you value them. You are then able to turn them into a loyal customer.

Comment by Mike Gorun on March 7, 2013 at 4:18pm

Thanks, Jason! I actually wrote an article in September about How To Turn an Angry Customer Into a Loyal One, which is an expanded version of Step 2.  

Comment by Michal Lusk on March 7, 2013 at 8:21am

Excellent advice, Mike! The truth is that a dealership's reputation cannot effectively be outsourced. Your customers' experiences, follow up, perceptions, and comments need to be addressed by a knowledgeable person or persons at your dealership. Having someone who can properly handle customer interactions and follow up, who can handle most complaints without escalating them, who also understands both the perils and benefits of having online transparency, and can give a personal, human touch to online responses, will give a dealership a great advantage.

Comment by Jason Mickelson on March 7, 2013 at 7:48am

Great post and filled with good tips.  Another great topic would be an expanded version of Step #2.  Step 1 and Step 6 are super important!  Thanks Mike


Jason Mickelson

Comment by Alexander Lau on March 7, 2013 at 5:24am
  • In your opinion, what are the top 5 mistakes dealers make when replying, or not replying to online customer reviews?
  1. Replying with a catholic, impersonal message.
  2. Misunderstanding the problem or issue and failing to rectify the issue.
  3. Failing to define an internal owner or champion for the reply process, thereby allowing dissimilar responses, which can cause a lack of uniformity or clear cut message.
  4. Inability to track down the culprits behind the issue for a thorough explanation in a timely manner.
  5. Not replying in an amply timed manner.

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