Create & Maintain a Positive Online Reputation
Written by: Lauren Labunsky, Dealer Spike
More than ever before, customers are doing their research online before choosing to trust dealerships like yours. Much like hotel reviews and restaurant ratings, many customers want to see what others are saying about your dealership before they choose to do business with you. That’s why it is necessary to stay aware of your online reputation and actively work on both maintaining and improving it.
There are several platforms that are important to monitor when it comes to ratings and reviews for your dealership, but they generally fall into three categories: social media sites (Facebook being the most popular), search engines (Google, Bing, etc.), and review sites (Yelp, Yellowpages.com, etc.) Before people can leave a review or rating for your dealership on any of these sites, you need to create an account or listing on each platform. It’s also crucial to make sure that your business information matches on all these sites, as search engines consider even small inaccuracies and inconsistencies to be non-trustworthy and may lower your website’s ranking because of it.
Once your dealership listing exists on all relevant platforms, you need to make a plan to monitor customer feedback regularly – ideally on a daily basis. When your dealership receives any review, positive or negative, it is important to respond promptly. A positive review deserves recognition and thanks, while a negative review should be addressed appropriately. Any genuine effort you make to resolve an unhappy customer’s sentiment, whether the attempt is successful or not, will show other customers reading your reviews that you tried to improve the situation. The worst thing you can do with a negative review is ignore it – this gives your dealership no opportunity to address or resolve the issue, and it expresses to other customers that you simply don’t care.
Dealerships that receive an abundance of positive reviews and ratings can expect an increase in store visits and sales, so what can your dealership do to encourage more positive feedback online? Often, happy customers simply need to be asked or reminded to leave a review. The unfortunate reality is that angry or dissatisfied customers are more likely to speak up, but many satisfied customers would be happy to help if prompted. Plus, the best way to overcome negative feedback is by outweighing it with positive. There are also other creative ways to encourage customers to share positive experiences that Reputation Management services and providers can assist with.
The numbers don’t lie: While 89% of all U.S. consumers say that they use online ratings and reviews to inform purchase decisions*, 93% of consumers ages 18-34 say this is true.* These are your future buyers, if they are not buying from you already. It’s also important to note that consumers pay attention to the volume of your online reviews and the way your business handles them. Consumers read an average of seven reviews for local businesses before deciding to trust them*, and nearly a third of consumers say that they actively check to see if a business has responded to its reviews.* Clearly it is important not only to encourage an abundance of positive reviews, but to actively engage with those reviews as well. Reputation Management requires daily monitoring and communication, but your dealership’s reputation is too important not to make that investment. Creating and maintaining a positive online reputation can make a huge difference to your dealership’s bottom line.
*** Stats courtesy of research by MarketingProfs
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