Online Reputation Management for Car Dealers

Consumers have begun using the internet as the most important tool to decide where and when they will make their next purchase. That’s where online reputation comes in and becomes very important. The reputation of a business will influence how internet shoppers make their final decision.

When people look for car dealers online, one of the first things they check is the reviews. A car dealer’s online reputation can be measured by his reviews. Sure, you can create social media accounts, claim your business on Yelp, Google MyBusiness, and other review directories and create a website with top-tier content in it to build your online reputation, but ultimately, it’s the reviews that matter. Don’t get me wrong. Having a strong online presence will definitely help, but no matter how strong your online presence is, if you get dozens of negative reviews, your online reputation will greatly suffer. Get a consistent 4 and 5-star rating and you’re on your way to becoming a car dealer with one of the best online reputation and your business will surely boom.

Car dealers Online Reviews

Modern consumers, especially those who plan to spend thousands of dollars on a product, thoroughly read and investigates online reviews. 85% of online shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and as a car dealer, it’s important to meet your customer’s expectations so you will get a positive review from them.

Unfortunately, the majority of car dealers often ignore online reviews or find responding to them a menial task. If you belong to that kind of car dealers, then you’ve already lost a massive amount of reputation points. In fact, your reputation might even be suffering because of your unresponsiveness.

In this era where it’s easy to contact everyone around the globe, communication is paramount. It’s very important to respond to online reviews. Car dealers that diligently responds to reviews tend to get higher star ratings than those who don’t or seldom does. In addition to that, consumers tend to trust a business more when they often respond to reviews, no matter if the reviews are negative or positive.

Some car dealers, however, only respond to positive reviews. Although responding to positive reviews adds reputation points, responding to negative reviews gives far more, and, if you only respond to positive ones, it looks like you’re avoiding issues and complaints which means you’re not really gaining reputation points at all.

Responding to negative feedback tells customers that the dealer is willing to go extra lengths to correct the mistake or improve a poor customer experience. It shows them that the dealer is willing to improve and make his services better because they truly care about their customers. Now, who wouldn’t want to do business with a car dealer like that? Big points!

Handling Negative Reviews in the Car dealership Industry

Before we begin, I’d like to tell you that responding to negative reviews should be your top priority, but that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore positive reviews.

“They’re satisfied. Why bother?”

You should still respond to them. Let your customers feel that you really appreciate them and that you’re happy to hear that they are satisfied with your service. Not only it will compel the reviewer to recommend you to his or her peers, family members, or relatives, prospects browsing for car dealers will see your responses and you’ll more likely move up in their list of potential car dealers to do business with or even contact you directly!

Now let’s get back to negative reviews. Let’s see how to handle them.

Some of you might be afraid at the thought of getting negative reviews. You shouldn’t. In fact, you should expect it. You can’t please everyone. There will always be someone that’ll complain about your services or about your cars or your pricing – virtually anything about your car dealership business.

Although it might seem scary at first, negative feedback will actually allow you to see which part(s) of your business process needs improvement. Check the common pattern of customer complaints. Are they always complaining about slow processing? Are they complaining about customer support? Once you find a pattern, see what can be done to improve or fix them and you’ll realize that negative reviews actually carry a great amount of information that will help you improve your business.

But how are you actually going to handle negative reviews? Most of them are full of strong and raw emotions and it’ll be easy to get carried away. You might be compelled to reply in a harsh manner especially when a customer starts blatantly attacking your business without a reasonable cause.

You will see phrases and words like “what a disappointment”, “this is so frustrating”, “wasted five hours of my life for nothing”, or “this car dealer only cares about money”. It’s terrifying, isn’t it? Especially that last phrase, it hurts! What should you do? Keep calm and reply to them publicly. Reply to the review directly. Address the issue and ask them to contact you privately so that you can settle it. Tell your side of the story so that the public can see what your say about the matter is. And, although sometimes the customer will have harsh words, keep your replies positive or neutral and professional and don’t forget to apologize. People will even give you kudos for addressing the concern in a professional manner rather than throwing a fit.

Encouraging Customers to Leave a Review

As your online reputation is greatly affected by online reviews, you have to create a way to encourage customers to leave one. Do not attempt to force them to leave a positive review or try to encourage them by giving them “freebies” in exchange for a good review; this is not ethical and it can even backfire as they might (and most certainly will) post your attempts to ask for a positive review in exchange for something online which will tarnish your reputation.

Encouraging customers to leave a review is best done by asking them directly. You might have thought that asking customers to leave a review is not a good idea or that it doesn’t work, but the truth is they are willing to leave a review as long as you ask them nicely and as long as you make it easier for them to leave one. Still not convinced? Bright Local’s survey result shows that 68% of consumers left a review after a local business asked them to. Although it’s not a very high percentage, keep in mind that 26% of consumers in the survey weren’t even asked to leave a review so the actual percentage might even be higher. So, don’t be afraid ask! People will actually be happy to provide a feedback and a kudos for a job well done, especially for businesses that they find very useful and have met their needs and expectations.

Final Thoughts

A car dealer’s online reputation is highly affected by online reviews. It’s crucial to monitor them and ensure that every review, especially negative ones, are properly addressed.