Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
We have all had moments we wished we could do-over. For anyone who saw Avengers Endgame, you understand the value of "undoing" cannot be overstated. So what do we do when against our best efforts to build a strong customer-centric reputation we end up with poor ratings online?
In a slower market, our online reputation can impact be the difference between making our numbers or not. A recent survey showed that 60% of buyers choose a dealer based on their online reputation. That is a huge number, especially considering that only about a third of dealers are doing any kind of reputation management.
The key to raising your online ratings is volume of reviews. When only passively collecting reviews, meaning there are links customers can find to leave a review if they like, 26% of the reviews will be negative. Conversely, if a dealer actively solicits for reviews, that negative portion drops to 6%. That swing can have a huge impact on not only your ratings but also your SEO.
So how can we amp up the reviews we are getting?
First, make it easy for them to review you! Promote your review sites presence online. Add review widgets to your website, blog and social media sites. You can also just add a simple one liner like "Tell us what you think!" to these places. Don't make it difficult for someone to drop some nice feedback. This is why such a large percentage of reviews are negative if not actively solicited. Only the upset customers are taking the time to seek out a link to review you. Make it very present and easy across your sites to drive more reviews.
Secondly, promote your review sites offline! Many companies like Yelp offer window clings and stickers. Receipts, employee badges and business cards are other good places to encourage feedback on review sites.
You can also reach out to customers directly through email and marketing campaigns. Include a review link in every associate's email signature. Don't forget to ask for reviews within any newsletters you send out.
Increase your Audience for Reviews
Understanding that just under 70% of the people you ask to review you will do so, how can you get the numbers you need to impact your ratings? Include more than those who have already purchased or serviced with you. Your online shoppers are interacting with your dealership every day. Why not ask for their feedback on that experience?
If your digital messaging team is going through the meet and greet, needs analysis and vehicle presentation steps of retailing with your shoppers don't you want to know how that's going? When is it a better time to ask a shopper about their experience? They have spent time thinking about their new vehicle but haven't had the pain of a lengthy F&I experience or perhaps a disappointing delivery of their new vehicle.
Mistakes happen every day. Despite our best efforts to think through the consumer experience in both Fixed and Variable Ops, there will be mishaps, poor timing and pitfalls that are unavoidable. By proactively asking for a review early on in the process we are increasing the audience that can review us and doing so at a comfortable point in the process - before they ever come in to the dealership. How is your online team doing taking time to build that relationship? An online review will give you that additional insight to see how to welcome in more digital shoppers.
Our online reputation is a signal to others in the market that we are the place to buy. What our shoppers and customers say will have influence on others. How we respond to those reviews are our second chance. Responding to reviews gives us the opportunity to speak to those in the market with how the experience was intended while apologizing for any mistake. In a downturn market, the online review can be a silent, very economical hero to help drive prospects and revenue.