Often, I am asked the question, “How can I get rid of my negative reviews?” or “Should I just turn off reviews?” Reviews online and on your Facebook page may seem like they could be a “nail in the coffin” to your dealership. Everybody is worried about getting rid of all the negative reviews instead of working on their business and cultivating it for positive reviews. The good news is that if you do a good job running your business, you really don’t have to worry about negative reviews.
We all make a mistake from time to time, causing a customer to get a sour taste in their mouth. Or perhaps, there are just difficult customers out there that may be impossible to please. Here are a few ideas to help combat negative reviews and improve the overall reputation of your dealership.
First, consider a scenario where a customer left a negative review because something in the sales process didn’t go smooth. Maybe he feels like he got ripped off. This has happened to all of us. The first step as a manager would be to reach out to the customer and hear him out. Sometimes just allowing the customer to vent to a manager is all he really needs. This is a good opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. Be polite to the customer, let him explain why he's upset. Then, personally invite him back to speak with you on their next visit. Maybe offer him a T-shirt (free advertising) or a small discount on an accessory for his new bike. This may not always work, however, it will surely be better than just ignoring the negative review altogether. The best end result could be that the customer retracts his negative review and becomes a valued and loyal customer.
Second, how should you deal with the angry and over the top “difficult” customer? Politely respond to her review one time (more than once makes it look as though you are arguing).
Invite the customer back into the store for an opportunity to resolve the issue. Kill this customer with kindness, and do it publicly so that anyone who happens to read the negative review realizes where the truth may lie. Always keep your responses to negative reviews very kind and positive. Kill them with kindness just like your mother told you. What may happen is that valued customers may chime in to your defense. Remember that if the customer is negative, the dealer must always remain positive.
Finally, the best way to combat a negative review is to get more positive reviews. This can be done multiple ways. Without a doubt the best way to do this is just to be nice and treat people with respect. An easy way to get more positive reviews is to ask your customers to give them to you. Surely if you can ask for the sale you can ask the customer to take 30 seconds to go onto your dealership Facebook page and give you a 5-star review? After all, you do feel like you did a good job for the customer and helped her fulfill all her dreams of riding, right? Maybe you offer the customer a free T-shirt for a positive review. Maybe positive reviews are tied into a bonus structure in your store that rewards employees for getting them and encourages them to perform better. Regardless, getting more positive reviews to overcome a few negative reviews is relatively easy to do.
In conclusion, go after the reviews in your store, make it a priority and go above and beyond to treat your customers the best, even when you feel the customer might be in the wrong. Ask for reviews from your customers and make it a priority for your staff. Steer into your reviews instead of avoiding them. This will make a positive difference in your business!
Ryan Brown is vice president of Powersports at Big Time Advertising, a digital advertising agency focused on the powersports industry. Ryan has over 15 years of experience in the powersports industry as a rep and GM of a national top 10 multi-line dealership. He uses his knowledge of the powersports industry and digital advertising to put together winning advertising plans that deliver more leads to dealerships across the country.
Ryan can be reached via email at Ryan@gowithbigtime.com
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