Own your online reviews like a boss

By Laura Reinders

I’m currently in the process of shopping for new appliances. This search would have once involved driving to various appliances stores in the area to compare models and prices. I may have even purchased a copy of Consumer Reports. This time, I’ve made my decision while in front of a laptop, researching models and competitive pricing. Instead of Consumer Reports, I’ve studied customer reviews for the various models and the stores I’m interested in purchasing from. This process is not unlike the process consumers go through when considering their search for a motorcycle or UTV.

Ninety percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88 percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

With the majority of consumers pouring over a multitude of reviews, it pays for you to be an active participant rather than a passive bystander when it comes to reviews of your dealership. One way you can participate is by responding to your reviews — both the negative and the positive. Not only are you improving the customer experience for the reviewers, but you are also projecting customer experience as a priority to prospective buyers and the search engines.

Before you can begin responding to your reviews, you’ll need to claim your dealership’s business listings on review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook and others.

When responding to reviews, always respond to any negative (1-2 stars) reviews first. Fifty-two percent of customers expect to receive a response from their review within 7 days, and 21 percent expect a response within 24 hours.

Always include an email address and phone number in your response for several reasons. It shows your sincerity in your desire to resolve the issue, and it encourages the reviewer to take the conversation offline.

“We are sorry you've had this experience at our dealership. We've been in business for over 35 years and have helped thousands of happy customers. We truly pride ourselves on treating our customers like family. Please reach out to me, {First/Last Name}, either by phone {(###) ###-####} or by email:  {address@gmail.com}. I would like to talk more with you about your experience. Thank you, {First/Last Name} — Vice President of {Dealership}”

Personalize your response: 
“Hello Howard, we were very disheartened to hear about your recent visits. It is always our goal to be attentive to any and all customers that make time to come into our dealership. It definitely sounds as though we missed the mark on yours, and for that, I send you our sincere apologies. We hope to see you soon, {First/Last Name}, Sales Manager {(###) ###-####}”

Acknowledge areas for improvement:

“Hello Norm, it was great to talk to you by phone; thank you for taking the time to share your feedback and speak with me. I think you have some fair points about things we can focus on for improvements. I appreciate you hearing me out, and I absolutely appreciate your willingness in letting us help you by completing your recall work. Please reach out to me at anytime! {First/Last Name} Service Manager {(###) ###-####}”

And don’t stop at the negative reviews. Show buyers that you care about your customers, and show search engines that you are a proactive business by responding to your positive reviews.

Thank the customer for his or her review and personalize your response:

“Drew, thank you for taking your time and sharing your experience with us, and we look forward to seeing you soon. Ride safe and have fun out there.”

Recognize the team member at the dealership receiving the review:

“Hey Matt, thanks for taking the time to say this. Brad's a rockstar on the team, so I'll be sure to pass on those compliments for you. If you ever need anything else you know we'll be here for you. - {First/Last Name}, Owner”

Do not send a templated response. Customize each one:

“Richard, I think I can speak for everyone here when I say that it was our pleasure to help you get out there on the Springfield of your dreams, and we're pleased to have been able to show you such a good experience. Thank you sincerely for the kind words — please just let me know if there's ever anything we can do to help you again! Ride safe, {First/Last Name}, Owner”

A few other tips when responding to reviews: Include your business name and keywords in your positive review responses to help the review appear in search results. Put your dealership’s best foot forward — use proper grammar and spelling in your responses.

Online reviews present you with an opportunity to improve the customer experience, demonstrate your dedication toward improvement and show appreciation to the customers who let you know where you’re succeeding.

Note: Each of the sample replies in this post are unedited responses from powersports dealers (with the exception of dealership information).


Laura Reinders is the product marketing manager for DX1, the complete dealership management platform for the powersports industry. DX1 gives dealers access to everything they need to manage and market their dealerships, including DMS, website & online marketing tools. Dealers save time and eliminate frustration with the efficiency of one login, one dashboard and a single database where customer and inventory data is stored.
Website: www.dx1app.com

One comment

  1. Thank you for putting a lot of important and useful information into a very compact article. Every business today needs to recognize the ever-increasing significance of staying on top of Reputation Management.

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