Your Reputation = Your Revenue
Word of mouth is still POWERFUL. One of the most important vehicles to drive new business, is the customer experience and how they communicate this to others.
“Word of Mouth” has changed today……from a literal means to a virtual means.
This is CRITICAL to the success and future of your business.
So how can you manage your reputation and use it to benefit revenue?
Bad reviews pop up from time to time, but are you prepared to defend your dealership reputation when it’s under attack?
Word of mouth has always been a factor in a car dealer’s success, but the internet has increased the speed at which information travels. Dealerships are under more pressure than ever to maintain a perfect dealership reputation. One wrong move and you could be dealing with a negative publicity nightmare that could potentially put you out of business.
Negative reviews are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean they have to hurt your dealership. You need a solid reputation management strategy if you want to stay on top of your online reviews.
It’s great when the reviews are positive, but it’s unrealistic to expect they’ll all be “Completely Satisfied.”
Reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, Dealer Rater, and now also Facebook and Instagram can impact the opinions of thousands of people in mere seconds. Shoppers are a lot more trusting of an auto dealer that works hard to resolve a negative review other than just ignoring.
But what if you’ve done everything you can to try to make the complainers happy, they may still decide to plaster bad reviews on all the major sites. They’re affecting your dealership reputation, and you have to do something before it affects your reputation.
Keep your cool.
Remember, you’re not only responding to the customer but to thousands of other potential clients, too.
Respond with care.
Always make the time to reply to each customer review with a personalized, thoughtful response. You want potential clients to know you have the customer’s best interest at heart while highlighting your business’s strengths.
Don’t forget to include contact information when required. It’s important to make it easy for the client to contact you to try to resolve the problem.
Check the information with your team
Remember to do your homework before responding to the problem. Talk to the team member involved and find out their side of the story. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the reviewer is wrong and that your sales team is lying or vice versa, but it’s a good idea to have all your facts straight before formulating a response.
Always thank the reviewer for the feedback, whether it was good or bad. It makes he or she feel heard.
But make sure you have some kind of resolution to the problem. Avoid the type of apologizing like: “sorry for you feeling this way.” This kind of language is condescending, and it doesn’t address the problem. But keep in mind that an apology goes a long way, and no one’s perfect. Whatever you do, do it quickly. Try to get to it same day, if you can, or the day after at the latest.
Tell your side of the story.
There are some instances where you can’t get a customer to change their review, but you can respond with your side of the story. You never want to argue with a customer online, but sometimes you have to show potential shoppers that you know how to handle threatening or even aggressive reviewers.
The best way to protect your positive dealership reputation is prevention.
It is good that your staff is able to answer the reviews but some online reviews need immediate attention, and if the person who usually replies is out sick, then you are at risk for cynical or unresolved reviews scaring off potential shoppers.
So, WHAT SHOULD YOU NOT DO?
Don’t delete negative reviews just because you don’t like what it says. Having a whole page of positive reviews is unnatural and a little untrustworthy.
Of course there are some cases where harassing reviews are too damaging to your dealership reputation, even if they aren’t true at all. In cases of spam, fraud or harassment, you should be able to contact the website to have the review taken down.
But remember that a review page is there to offer feedback and constructive criticism, not to shout abuse. Different sites do have different policies on abusive language, however, so be sure to know what these are before you take any action.
Where there’s expletive language, there’s probably drama, and that’s something you don’t want to get drawn into. Some people aren’t trying to offer feedback; they just want to start a fight. Don’t feed the flames. Address the situation politely.
At the end of the day, the one thing you have to remember about responding to negative reviews is to grow from them. You’re not going to like everything you read, but that doesn’t mean some of it isn’t warranted. Use negative reviews to help your dealership’s customer service grow, and you’ll see less and less of those single stars in the future.
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