You might be thinking that no one will read those negative reviews about that one employee’s behavior, that bad day you had, or that one car that turned out to have problems even your dealership didn’t know about. Guess what? Chances are, they will. People read online reviews for everything these days. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pair of shoes, a water bottle, a haircut place, a restaurant, or a car dealership. People want to see how others feel about something before they make a purchase or spend time going down to a car lot. Positive reviews can increase trust among readers which leads to more sales. However, negative reviews can make a dealership seem like it has low quality service and products or like it’s not trustworthy. Take the time to improve your auto dealership’s reputation online.
1. Search for your business – In order to have a good reputation online, your dealership has to constantly be checking its reviews. There are different sites that can monitor your reviews for you. However you choose to monitor your online reputation, make sure that your dealership checks reviews regularly. You should check sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Citysearch that constantly get new reviews so that you can see what reviews people are looking at when considering your dealership.
2. Apologize for mistakes – The worst thing you could do when responding to a negative review online is to start an argument with someone. Even if your business was not at fault, people respond better to humility. An argument online could draw even more attention than the bad review, and your audience might see your dealership as immature for responding that way. People respect honesty and expect sincerity when a business makes mistakes.
3. Interact on social media – Optimize your online reach through social media. If your dealership is consistently posting positive updates on various social media platforms, it will be harder for people to believe or reinforce negative reviews. Engage your audience to gain their trust. Another way to avoid a negative reputation is by providing great customer service and high-quality products.
4. Ask customers for a positive review – Many satisfied customers will leave a good review if they are just asked to by a dealership. This is one of the easiest steps to implement because it doesn’t take very much time, effort, or money. Positive reviews can push negative ones to the bottom of the list and bring up your overall rating. Your dealership should continue to ask for new reviews even if its online reputation is great. People don’t value reviews that are old, and some won’t consider reviews older than a few months relevant anymore.
5. Provide a medium for negative feedback – A discussion forum or a suggestions box of some kind might give unhappy customers a more constructive way to express their complaints. A place to post suggestions would not only help customers get their voices heard, but it would also let your dealership know how it could improve. You might be surprised how creative people can be with suggestions. Sometimes, great ideas come out of bed experiences.
6. Display positive reviews – Your dealership should display its positive reviews across multiple social media platforms. Reviews, or links to reviews, should be accessible on your website as well. Some dealerships make videos of customers reviewing their business and post them to YouTube. Any way to make your reviews visible to potential car buyers will improve your online reputation.
People use online reviews as a tool to judge businesses and their products/services every day. They trust previous customers to share their honest opinions. Although monitoring reviews and making PR strategies takes time and money, it’s worth it to repair or maintain your auto dealership’s online reputation. Online reputations are becoming more and more important as people spend more time on their smart phones and computers. Consider these tips to improve your auto dealership’s status online.