There’s no denying it—managing your online presence can be confusing and tedious. From managing your website, to establishing a social media presence and managing your reviews, it can be almost as confusing as trying to get your taxes done over the phone (I don’t wish that on anyone!).
That being said, it’s still important to manage your auto dealership's online presence well, especially when it comes to your Online Reputation and, more specifically, your reviews.
Online reviews can make or break a dealership, and if you don’t believe me, just take a look at the stats: 87 percent of Americans say they trust online reviews to help them choose which local businesses to go to.
More often than not, people will research your dealership online before they step foot into your showroom. And, if you have bad reviews, that’s pretty much the equivalent of having a restaurant with a “C” rating—people will definitely think twice (if not more times!) before stepping inside.
But fear not! Reviews, both good and bad, can be a positive thing for your business—but only if you have a thorough plan of attack. So, before you go frantically typing in your dealership’s name into Google, DealerRater, Yelp and any other review site you can think of, just take a deep breath, relax, and read through our steps for managing your online reputation. If you really wanted to relax, you could also take a vacation to the Caribbean, but we’ll stick to talking about what we can actually help you with.
- Optimize and Claim Your Review Profiles
Even if you’ve never created a listing on Yelp, DealerRater, or Google Business, one might have already been created for you. If you search and find your listing, great! Go ahead and claim it. Add in your logo, your website details, and any other information you can. If you don’t find any listings already made, just create a new one! By creating or claiming your review profiles, you’re ensuring that you’re in the driver’s seat of your online reputation.
- Get Reviews
You may think getting reviews is difficult, but it’s quite simple—all you have to do is ask! The best way to get a review is to ask customers when you’re with them in person. You can easily say something like, “I’d love to get some feedback on your experience today.
Can I send you a link where you can provide a review?” Or, better yet, give them a tablet and have them write their review while you’re finalizing the paperwork. Additionally, while it may be tempting to have your family members or employees write reviews, it’s best to focus on getting reviews from your actual customers.
Consumers researching online are savvy and can usually tell when a review was written by an employee versus an actual customer.
- Monitor & Respond to All Reviews
Your work isn’t over after you receive your reviews, though. You need to monitor the review sites and respond to reviews after they come in. And yes, I do mean all of them. Even if a review makes you want to pull out your hair, you still need to respond. I would, however, suggest taking a few moments to think before you respond. You don’t want to be labeled as the angry business owner that picks on grandmas.
For positive reviews, be sure to thank the customer and reference something from their review. For negative reviews, be sure to address their concerns and offer to rectify the situation or ask them to reach out to you off-line.
If a reviewer is out-right lying (which happens), just be polite and courteous while explaining what actually occurred. By responding to all of these reviews, you’ll gain the trust of potential customers.
Your online reputation is something that you can’t hide from! Just dedicating a few hours a week to managing your reviews can make all the difference.
By following the steps outlined above and dealing with reviews head-on, you’ll show potential customers that you are a trustworthy dealership that cares about its customers. So start managing your online reputation today! Or take a vacation to the Caribbean. Either one works.
* This blog post was originally published on 03/20/2017 on dealercenter.com