Today, more than ever, online reviews can make or break your month selling vehicles. We can search for online reputation management companies and we will get hundreds if not thousands of opinions on how to manipulate the system of posting positive reviews. Many of these companies state that they have a secret to help your dealership look like they are flawless. This is done utilizing a lot of smoke and mirrors.
Studies by consumer behavior and search experts say that 7 out of 10 consumers trust online reviews just as much as they do recommendations from friends and family members. Four out of five consumers have changed their minds after reading a bad review. These are facts that no business can disregard, so every dealership must take notice and action.
Reviews are available 24 hours a day 100% of the time. Sites like Yahoo!Local, Google Plus, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Merchant Circle, City Search, Super Pages and many more have a tremendous impact on local business. However, there is a right way and of course a wrong way to utilize these sites for the advantage of your dealership.
Building a dealerships online reputation is a lot like someone building their personal credit history. Everyone has seen the companies preying on people with poor credit. These companies tout that they can “fix” bad credit within 72 hours. That is complete nonsense! The only “real” way to fix bad credit is to pay your bills on time, reduce your debt, and control your spending. For those with bad credit, you can send me a check for this advice.
The same is true for dealerships online reputation. The best way to build your reputation online is to provide a great product, deliver outstanding customer service, and then postulate a medium for your customers to share their experience with the online community.
Having your employees, friends, or family post “fake” reviews will be viewed as just that…FAKE! Hiring a company to post “fake” reviews for you will only hurt your dealership in the long run. As a matter of fact, the local search engines are changing algorithms daily where they are identifying dealerships that are practicing this deceitful practice.
You have sacrificed a lot of time and energy to build your dealership, but not as much time as people spend being a customer. No business is perfect and everyone knows this. However, more people are likely to spend time giving a bad review versus a good one. This tilts the scale out of dealerships favor with online reviews. With this information, a dealership has to have the following:
- Plan of Action: Reviews of your dealership will happen. They will also happen on multiple sites. Knowing how you are going to react to both positive and negative reviews as well as knowing where they are being posted before the fact is imperative to having a good plan.
- Turning a bad review into a positive: Dealerships have the right to respond and can respond to negative reviews. Some sites allow a business to edit negative reviews, and other sites are perfect for correcting the issue in a public forum. This practice will let the public know that your dealership cares and wants to do what is right for the consumer. You will not be able to satisfy every customer, but you will be able to let consumers know that you WANT to satisfy every customer.
- Learn from negative reviews: A negative review can be gold for your dealership. Often management finds out too late that some employees may not share their same vision or passion for great customer service. Negative reviews will allow you to coach employees up or out of your dealership. You want to make sure that negative reviews are the exception and not the norm.
- Maximize Positive Reviews: Positive reviews will help you sell more vehicles and obtain more customers. That is why there is such a huge business in obtaining “fake” reviews. Don’t fall into that trap of deceiving the consumer. However, do publicize your positive reputation by allowing the consumer to view your positive reviews. The miss is that most dealerships do not have a plan to provide a medium for their customers to post positive reviews.
- Continue to Provide Great Customer Service: It is simple common sense business principles. People want to buy from those they trust. Have a great product; price, and service and your business will thrive.
Online Reputation Management is not an “end all fix”. It is a piece to the puzzle. Adding a good online reputation program with an innovative social media marketing strategy, smart search engine optimization process, and a sincere customer loyalty program will allow dealerships to maximize their effectiveness in today’s world. Consumers have more choices than ever with a plethora of information at their fingertips 100% of the time. The good dealerships will rise to the top in their industry, and the truly great dealerships with an innovative plan will continue to STAY at the top!
Good luck and we look forward to seeing you at the top!