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Improving your Digital Presence Part 2: Reputation Management Do's and Don'ts

Improving your Digital Presence Part 2: Reputation Management Do's and Don'ts

Published Sep. 2017

According to the 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey by Bright Local, 91% of consumers actively read online business reviews – Do you know what that means for your dealership or how it impacts your bottom line?

As part of our “Improving Your Digital Presence” series, we tackle how to ask for and respond to online customer reviews that can define your online reputation.

If you missed our first story, learn essential SEO best practices to help your dealership's website rank among your competitors.

How do reviews impact my dealership?

Studies have shown that consumers perform more research for big-ticket items – such as car shopping. In most cases, the modern consumer has researched not only what vehicle they want, but also an acceptable price range and whether they will be treated fairly at your dealership.

If you're not encouraging customers to leave a review for your dealership, it won't take long for the negative reviews to skew the overall tone of reviews. Most customers won't leave a review if they have a positive experience, but if the experience was less than they anticipated, they'll quickly share their disappointment.

Encouraging reviews

Getting reviews may seem like an uphill battle. Dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave reviews than satisfied customers, but surprisingly 70% of customers will leave a review if asked. When your customers leave the lot, wait a few days and then send a politely worded note thanking them for coming in and encourage them to leave a review.

Pro tip: Make it as easy as possible for the customer by including links to where you'd like the reviews to be written.

Here are a few do's and don'ts that you should keep in mind:

  • Do ask for reviews – mention during the sale that you may ask them to leave a review and then follow up a few days after the sale.
  • Do take the time to remind customers of the personal connection during the sale before asking for the review – if they bought an SUV for their growing family, ask how the family likes all the extra room.
  • Do make it as easy as possible for customers to find your dealership profiles and leave reviews.
  • DON'T supply an iPad or mobile device for customers to leave reviews while in the dealership – multiple reviews from the same IP address are flagged for removal from most review sites.
  • DON'T offer incentives for customers to leave a review – many review sites have a policy against incentivizing customers for reviews.
  • DON'T spiff your salespeople based on reviews – this could result in fake reviews, which harm your reputation.

Responding to negative reviews

Even the best dealership can get a negative review. Whether it was a misunderstanding or something that you couldn't control, those reviews still impact your dealership's reputation.

Some do's and don'ts to keep in mind while responding to reviews are:

  • Do respond to a review in a timely manner.
  • Do thank the customer for bringing issues to your attention.
  • Do look for areas of improvement.
  • Do try to find a way to connect with the customer and offer a solution that works for both parties.
  • DON'T take reviews as a personal attack. Stay levelheaded and approach your response with a ‘how can I make this right' attitude.
  • DON'T reveal personal information about the customer.

Just remember – when it comes to responding to reviews, the individual you're writing to may only see your response once, but potential customers will see your response every time they search.

Now that you know the best practices for reputation management, come back next month to learn how to tackle your social media presence.

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