BY LAUREN LABUNSKY
As we inch closer to the summer, we hear from most of our powersports dealers that they are anticipating the busiest and highest-selling season of the year. After all, once temperatures heat up customers are ready to get out and enjoy the nice weather on their bike, ATV or PWC. Maybe it’s not the best season for snowmobile sales, but customers tend to have more free time for shopping too, so you never know.
But what if something is hindering on just how many in-store visits and sales your dealership gets this summer? It’s not fun to think about, but negative online reviews for your dealership can have a huge negative effect for your business. We know that in 2018, when nearly everyone has a mobile device on hand at any given moment, people are looking at businesses online before they visit in person. When they enter that Google search for your dealership, one of the first things they’ll see is your reviews – not only on Google itself, but on other review sites too. A low star rating or, worse, a bevy of negative written reviews from unhappy customers can be incredibly damaging. Search engine users may likely choose not to visit your dealership if they see that you have a bad reputation online. The good news is that there are ways to improve this dreaded scenario. Here are three tips to turn a bad situation around when it comes to your dealership’s online reputation:
- Create a presence on review sites. You can’t collect positive reviews and build up a good online reputation without active accounts on review sites. There are social media platforms like Facebook and Yelp, directory-style sites like Yellow Pages, and of course Google, among others. Setting up accounts on these sites gives people a way to find you when they want to leave a review. The best way to overcome bad reviews or ratings is to bury and outweigh them with positive ones, so it’s important to allow people to find you on review sites and leave positive feedback.
- Consistently monitor and respond to all reviews. It would be unfortunate to have negative reviews about your business piling up that you don’t even know about. Checking the review platforms that your dealership appears on daily is best practice. That way if there are any bad reviews you can respond right away and try to resolve the issue – the customer may even remove or update their review in that situation. It’s important to respond to positive reviews in a timely fashion, too – those deserve recognition and a thank you.
- Create opportunities for happy customers to leave you positive reviews. From an ethical standpoint, it’s not always advised to ask customers for reviews point-blank – especially on a site like Yelp that has a strict policy against doing so. But there are still ways to encourage or simply mention the power of positive feedback to customers – taking the time to write a review in the first place isn’t always something that people think to do on their own.
Of course, the best advice overall in building a good reputation for your dealership is to practice superior customer service. While there are strategies to help promote positive feedback and build up a portfolio of good ratings and reviews, it all breaks down to this simple truth: If your dealership staff prioritizes customer service and truly values customers, you are well on your way to achieving a well-earned positive reputation online.
Lauren Labunsky 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.