Most people will go online to do their research about a dealership before ever stepping foot in the store. Hopefully, you’ve designed your website in a way that is appealing, easy to use and responsive to mobile devices to accommodate your future customers – that’s the first step. But what about dealership reviews on third party sites like Yelp and Facebook?
Reviews can make or break a sale for your dealership. While positive reviews encourage new customers and validate their decision to purchase from you, bad reviews will drive business away. People trust word of mouth more than any other source.
Here are some things you can do to promote positive reviews, and avoid negative ones:
- Monitor! This seems like the obvious first step, but many businesses don’t keep track of their online reputation. There are the big ones like Yelp, Facebook, and Google+, but there are also niche review sites that apply only to powersports.
- Be proactive about your reviews. If a customer seems happy about their experience, ask them to write you a positive review or follow up with them via email. On the other hand, if a customer is unhappy, try to resolve that issue before they leave. At the least, ensure that they leave your dealership knowing that you acknowledged their problem and attempted to resolve it
- This is really a win/win for everyone involved. The customer leaves happier than he or she was before, and is less likely to speak negatively about your dealership to others. AND, they may end up coming back and making a purchase later due to the improved experience.
- Respond to every review as soon as you can. Positive reviews require a thank you. Negative reviews should be addressed with acknowledgement, respect and an attempt to fix the problem if possible. The worst thing you can do is simply ignore negative reviews. A well-written response can save you in this situation.
And, here are a few reasons why a bad review isn’t the worst thing to happen to your dealership:
- A critical or negative review makes your business seem real. You can’t please everyone, and the people who read your reviews know that. If your dealership only had glowing reviews, it would come off as fake.
- Embrace transparency. Take both positive AND negative reviews for what they are worth, and learn from them – what you’re doing well and not so well.
- Many negative reviews actually provide valuable insight into what your dealership could be doing. Thank the negative reviewers who point out something justifiable. Even those who have unreasonably negative reviews of your dealership are likely pointing out SOMETHING that could be improved. Always be improving!
- If you respond to a negative review in a positive and respectful way, readers will take notice. It could even help you gain new customers!
In summary, the most important thing for you to do in order to protect your dealership is to be aware and on top of of your online reputation. If negative things are being said, they need to be addressed, and could end up helping you make better decisions for your business. If you find positive reviews, even better! Rest easy knowing that you’re doing something right, and keep that positivity coming in.
Lauren McLean is the public relations manager at Dealer Spike, a leading web services provider for powersports dealerships. The award-winning digital advertising company is focused on helping dealers increase sales through powerful, distinctive website design and a full suite of online marketing tools to drive results. Dealer Spike’s expertise comes from real-world dealership experience and a team of professionals who also ride. When you work with Dealer Spike, you’re working with digital marketing experts who have a passion for your industry.
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