A Tactful Approach to Your Dealership’s Online Reviews
How can your dealership keep customers happy? By knowing what they like and dislike about your services – and improving on it. Feedback is one of the most valuable customer service tools available to dealers, and customers are usually more than willing to give dealership reviews for free. But reviews, especially online ones, should be handled with care because they can go wrong FAST.
Tips for Managing Dealership Reviews Online
So how can your dealership best handle customer reviews – even the negative ones?
DON’T IGNORE THEM
When it comes to angry customers, time is never on your side. The more you wait, the angrier they get. Negative reviewers want to be acknowledged, so immediately reaching out to them is vital.
Also, remember that you have a silent online audience, who doesn’t interact with your content, but is looking through it. These prospects are looking for a trustworthy dealership to buy from. Negative reviews that go unaddressed may ruin their perception of you.
Don’t ignore your satisfied customers either. That customer who went on DealerRater to give you five stars will most likely be a spokesperson for you whenever someone in the area asks for recommendations on a good dealership. Plus it’s an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with that customer. Let them know you’re glad they chose your dealership, and invite them to get their oil changed with you!
A prime example of follow-up done right is Volkswagen of Puyallup. They do an excellent job of always responding to customer reviews on their Yelp page.
TIP: If it’s difficult to keep up with dealership reviews, set up Google Alerts for your dealership and some industry keywords, or invest in a comprehensive social media monitoring tool like this one by Hubspot. Also, try taking 10-15 minutes a day to monitor major review websites (Yelp, Google+, Dealer Rater) – and don’t forget Facebook and Twitter!
DON’T GET DEFENSIVE
You may have heard about a certain hotel’s review policy, and how it went viral for all the wrong reasons. Not only did their policy state that they’d charge customers $500 for every negative review, but they waited days before denying it (when there was online evidence to prove otherwise). Non-customers of this hotel had a field day with the situation via new online reviews.
With all the information available on the Internet at the click of a button, tactless online responses will only magnify negative attention. If someone is unhappy with their vehicle or service at your dealership, don’t get defensive – and don’t lie.
Instead, extend an explicit apology. Then use that opportunity to flip the script and highlight your dealerships attributes (how long you’ve been in business and the kind of customer service you strive for). This will show readers you value your dealership’s reputation. Then offer to give them proactive solutions by directing them to the appropriate point of contact to address their issues (name, phone number, email address) or invite them to live chat with you.
For inspiration on how to tactfully respond to online dealership reviews, check out Parks Chevrolet at the Lake’s Facebook reviews – they always prompt customers to contact them if they were rated anything below five stars!
TIP: Always evaluate your responses a few times before you post. Pay attention to grammar, cohesiveness, and most importantly, tone.
USE PERSONALIZED RESPONSES
Shoppers will know the difference between personalized responses and scripted ones. You don’t want customers thinking you don’t care enough to put thought into your answer to their comment when they did so for you.
Simple things, like a helpful tip on new-car care, if they just purchased a vehicle, can personalize a review response. Some dealerships go as far as finding out details about the shopper’s experience (if they traded in a beloved car or went with all-leather interiors on the new one) and including fun details about it in their response.
Schumacher Chevrolet does a great job at responding to all their dealership reviews, while also making them personable. Take a look at their Dealer Rater review page for some great examples.
TIP: If a customer mentions the employee who helped them, have the employee write a short thank you. This will add a personal touch to the message and show customers that ALL of your team is involved in your dealership’s success.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO POST
According to a 2014 study, 88% of customers have read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business.
When a customer is happy with their shopping experience, invite them to review you! Give them links to your review pages and let them know you take customers’ opinions seriously. But don’t be pushy, sometimes just letting customers (especially millennials) know of your online presence will be enough to prompt them to review you.
Also, if you’re pushing for customer reviews, don’t specify that you want positive reviews only. Instead, welcome all kinds of feedback. Remember you can use negative reviews to improve and get those unimpressed customers back!
TIP: Make it easier for your shoppers to post reviews about you. Have a “Review Us” button on your site, or include a link to your dealership’s page on a review site within a follow-up email. You can even set up an in-store review station at the dealership with an iPad.
SHARE THEM ON YOUR WEBSITE
Having customer reviews on your website will help generate more business by increasing your dealership’s credibility and building its reputation. In giving online shoppers access to your dealership reviews, you’re allowing them to assess your qualities based on what real customers say about you.
Also, give shoppers access to other review pages like Yelp and Google+, and your social media pages. These sites are more reliable since your dealership has little-to-no control over the content that customers post.
TIP: Instead of using social media buttons on your dealership’s website, use a toolbar like ActivConnect. This allows shoppers to see your review pages and social media pages without ever leaving your site!