Online reputation management for automotive dealers is a fairly new concept but, your customers have been talking about you for years without you even knowing about it. The idea isn’t new at all and the principle is simple: websites designed for the sole purpose of your customers telling the world what they think of your dealership. Do you know where people are talking about you? Do you know how to respond or manage these review sites? Here are five tips to help you get your online reputation headed in the right direction.
9 Statistics to make you think…
- 70% consult reviews or ratings before purchasing (BusinessWeek, Oct. 2008)
- 97% who made a purchase based on an online review found the review to be accurate (The Kelsey Group, Oct. 2007)
- 51% of consumers use the Internet even before making a purchase in shops (Verdict Research, May 2009)
- 92% have more confidence in information found online than from any other source (Wall Street Journal, Jan 2009)
- 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know (Econsultancy, July 2009, Erik Qualman, Socialnomics)
- 70% trust unknown users (Econsultancy, July 2009, Erik Qualman, Socialnomics)
- 61% of people rely on user reviews for product information or research before a buying decision is made. (Razorfish, 2008)
- 34% have turned to social media to air their feelings about a company. 26% to express dissatisfaction, 23% to share companies or products they like. (Harris Poll, April 2010)
- 75% of people don’t believe that companies tell the truth in advertisements (Yankelovich)
Five tips to a great online reputation
- Do a Google search to find these sites. Use quotes to narrow results – “mydealername reviews” would be a great place to start.
- Focus on the top five review sites you find, claim those listings so you can reply to reviews
- Reply to ALL reviews both good and bad
- Stay neutral. Don’t bash negative reviews and offer a line of recourse, future people reading will see your compassion
- Set up alerts so you will be notified when a new review is posted
The worst thing you can do is to do nothing. Get on board with the idea that traditional marketing is losing ground everyday and that people are more and more, regardless of age, are seeking connections online. Whether that be via social media, your website, review sites or even an automotive blog like this one. People are searching the internet for information and confirmation that your business is the one they want to do business with. Why not take action so that when they are presented with a couple of options your business is the one they choose, hands down.
Lastly, you will have to be proactive in obtaining the good reviews. People will gladly post negative reviews without any prompting but, getting the good reviews posted will take some work on your part. Try asking for a review at the time of delivery or perhaps while they are waiting for their car to be cleaned up but, not until after they have signed all the paperwork. Just let them know that the greatest compliment they could give you or your company is to leave a nice review on the website of their choice. Also, be weary of any of these reputation management companies that charge you thousands of dollars a month to simply post bogus reviews to 100’s of sites. Not only is this somewhat unethical but, people reading those reviews will know that something isn’t quite right with them. Do the right thing and get the slow and steady.
How have you been using review sites or are you getting started now? Comment below.