Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

New Study Reveals Reviews are The Tipping Point in the Buying Process

By Mary-Kelly Gaebel on Mar 21, 2012

New Study Reveals Reviews are The Tipping Point in the Buying Process
Proliferation of Mobile and Down Economy Cause Reviews to Gain Traction

 

We all know reviews are critical to the modern consumersbuying process, but according to a study by Cone Communications (http://www.coneinc.com/consumers-confirm-recommendations-online) reviews are more important than ever. The study showed that four-out-of-five consumers changed their mind about a recommended purchase based solely on negative reviews. Your customers are savvier than ever; with advancements in technology and online communities controlling the conversation about your business, you can’t afford to ignore the fact that “…personal recommendations alone are no longer enough to guarantee a purchase, as three-quarters of consumers (77%) agree they are more likely to purchase products or services when they can find additional recommendations about them online.”

Two Reasons Dealership Reviews Are Gaining Momentum

  • The mobile phenomenon is only adding fuel to the fire. With so many consumers relying on tablets and mobile phones as their shopping device of choice, reviews are more easily accessible than ever. According to the study, “Survey data suggest this year-over-year increase in online verification may be attributed to near-universal access to the Internet and the pervasiveness of the smartphone. Today, online product or service information is literally at consumers’ fingertips with nearly three-out-of-five (59%) reporting that they are more likely to research recommended products online because they can easily access applications on their mobile phones, and 81 percent crediting wide-spread access to the Internet.”

     
  • The second reason is that, due to a depressed economy, consumers are relying more heavily on reviews for large-scale purchases, like cars!  “The increase in online purchase verification may also be attributed to careful spending. Americans are nearly 25 percent more likely to verify recommendations for high-cost purchases, such as cars, today than they were in 2010 (89% today vs. 72%), while moderate- and low-cost purchases did not experience the same jump.”

There’s always a silver lining however; just as a bad review can be a deal-breaker, it can also be the zero moment of truth:  The same study shows that 87 percent of consumers agree that a favorable review has confirmed their decision to purchase.


As a Reputation Management Specialist for ADP/Cobalt I work with my clients to turn negative reviews in to positives for their business, staff and their bottom line. How you handle negative feedback says a lot about your business and your people. So with that in mind, remember that when it comes to responding to unhappy customers via online channels… the customer is always right. With-four-out-of-five consumers basing their purchasing decision on negative reviews, you can’t afford not to take the high road. In some cases, depending on how you handle the situation, you can ask a customer to retract their negative review if the dealership was able to resolve the issue in question. But being proactive will always win the day– it’s all about great customer service, more great customer service and then asking your happy customers to tell the world how you did.

 

Mary Kelly Gaebel is a Reputation Management Specialist at ADP Digital Marketing Cobalt. She works with dealers to increase dealership awareness and branding via social media outlets. She has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington.

 

Comments

Great post Mary. Thanks for sharing.

Mar 21, 2012

Yes! - Great stats Mary!

Shoppers are tired of hearing the same tired pitches from brands & their sales teams - bake the value in and your customers will sell for you in the form of positive reviews.

Mar 21, 2012

Of course I have to agree with it being a great post. One thing that cars.com found in their study was that new car buyers are looking at service related reviews, not the buying process reviews. They want to see how they will be treated after the sale which I thought was very interesting.

Mar 21, 2012

Comments 1 - 3 of 0

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Mary-Kelly Gaebel's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Service Drive Selling is not telling, what? Just go Engage in a conversation when its right

    Everyone has heard of the old saying that "Selling is not Telling", right? So why are some dealers falling prey to techniques that throw car deals at every one of your service customers before, during and after they arrive? Have we forgotten the importance of a face to face conversation while the customer is still at our place of business?   Your service managers and advisors are talking with thousands of customers in your service drive on a monthly basis. The process is simple: when they arrive, the service advisor greets them, listens to their concerns, and then recommends services by inspecting and then writing up a repair order. The customer may even wait in the service lounge while the services are to be performed. While they are waiting, they may deserve a conversation about their current status of ownership.  However, the advisors must let sales know that this customer is waiting.    So now what? You know the customer is waiting. They may even be watching some TV, browsi...Read post

  • Is Your Dealership Investing in Itself or Third Parties?

    When I started doing SEO and social media for dealers, the one thing that really worried me was how often dealers are being outranked in search engines by third-party listing sites like Autotrader, Cars.com, CarGurus, and Edmunds. After all, these are sites that make more money from dealers by essentially outmarketing them. What's worse is many of these sites use dealers' money to invest in ad campaigns that actually demonize dealers. The goal being to get customers to skip dealer websites and window shopping, in order to make even more money off of their dealer partners. And because people are using the web more and more for research, more third-party listing sites are popping up to claim an even bigger piece of the pie from dealers. From a business perspective, it doesn't sound so bad: You pay a highly-trafficked, tech-heavy site to list your inventory and receive leads in order to sell more cars. Unfortunately, customers that use third-party listing sites tend to be the most di...Read post

  • “I Am Loyal to My Dealership For The Great Coffee.” Said No Customer Ever.

    Imagine how a high-quality and positive customer relationship with a car buyer who owns a vehicle for an average of six years will translate into a heightened lifetime value. The relationship’s good standing will not only increase their loyalty, but also overcome any negative experiences encountered in their shopping and buying journeys. So what are some processes you can implement to improve the ownership experience and increase customer loyalty? Loyalty from your customers is not to be expected even in the slightest. You must strive to earn it every single day. With the tools, technology and talent available to us today, there is no excuse for anything less. Read post

  • Target In-Equity Service Customers to Stand Out

    Creating an effective marketing strategy in today’s world is not an easy task. Should you spend your time and money to conquest new customers? Allocate your marketing budget to build brand awareness in your community? Create a program to strengthen customer retention among your existing database? Or should you focus your energy on all of the above? The possibilities are endless. Chances are the answer to an effective marketing plan lies in a perfect combination of a new and current customer strategy that delivers the most optimal return. The problem is finding a harmonious balance. We all know the old adage, “It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.” If this is true for your dealership, then it is in your best interest to capitalize on every opportunity with current customers. Make sure they are informed about needed vehicle maintenance, communicate service savings, share OEM incentives on new vehicles, etc. Now I’m not telling you to ...Read post

  • The Mind is Like a Parachute – It Works Best When Open

    Competition in business is usually a good thing.  Sure, we’d all like to have the market cornered, but without a little competition we would perhaps never figure out ways to improve our products or services and keep our customers coming back.    In an interesting article on Infusionsoft’s “Big Ideas Blog,” a few examples of businesses thinking outside the box were shared. 3Tees is a Singapore based company that prints T-shirts for companies “promoting events with a social cause.” It has a slogan of “You price it. We print it.” The company allows customers to determine the price of the shirts and their pricing strategy has proven successful.  According to the article, the vast majority of customers make genuine offers that both fit within budget and provide an acceptable profit margin. In fact, while the company is willing to reject extreme low-ball offers, they have discovered that only 5% of total bids fit within this category.   One of the biggest reasons 3...Read post

  • Is Your Business Keeping Score? Fixing Turnover At Dealerships

    If you’re a fan of the National Basketball Association, then you’re probably like me when it comes to watching games. There’s nothing more I love seeing than someone dunking over another player or sinking a three-pointer in front of a defender’s face. Now that I think of it, it seems like I only enjoy plays that are demeaning to the defense, huh…but that’s neither here nor there. As the NBA kicks off it’s 2014-2015 season, there’s one thing I can tell you that I’m not looking forward to and that’s turnovers. Turning the ball over is ugly. It’s bad for the offense and nobody likes watching sloppy play (unless you're on defense, then turnovers are awesome). The same goes for companies everywhere: turnover is bad for business. While referring to turnover, the Wall Street Journal says, “experts estimate it costs upwards of twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement. And churn can damage morale among remaining employees.” Now if you’re like every other business out there, you know this is a serious problem, but how can you fix it? Is turnover even fixable? The quick answer—yes. Tips For Lowering Turnover Just like the game of basketball, keeping score is essential for your business. It’s vital to keep track of the candidates you’re interviewing, what their responses are to your questions and how their personalities fit within your company’s culture. One of the best ways to do this is by using an interview scorecard, but that’s only one step towards diminishingRead post

  • Using Data to Increase Service Revenue

    One of the most valuable assets you have at your dealership is your customer database. However, frequently dealers fail to effectively use this information to help achieve more specific marketing goals. While some may use their database to send marketing messages to existing and previous customers in an effort to sell another vehicle, or perhaps remind of a future service that is due, this is a very limited use. Sadly, many dealers fail to fully leverage this literal goldmine of information.   For example, using data segmentation to present products or services purchased by one set of customers to other customers with a similar profile. This is not a new idea, Amazon does this quite effectively. When a consumer visits many web pages, suggested products are prominently displayed that were purchased by other Amazon shoppers with similar buying or viewing habits.   Amazon’s suggestive marketing strategy is effectively playing the odds that, by leveraging a customer’s previous p...Read post

  • How quickly can you say "YES?"

    At Autosoft we pride ourselves on customer service and have done so for over 25 years. So when a current customer’s service manager walked out without notice, the general manager was at a loss for what he was going to do. The parts manager just joined the team, the old advisor quit and the new advisor wasn’t due to start for another week. That left him with a brand new crew with no experience and a service department without the ability to wait on customers!!! Out went the phone call to the local business development manager… “can you help?” Read post