Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: Marketing

Reputation Management is More than Just an Email

By JD Rucker on Dec 19, 2013

Online reputation has been a hot topic for a couple of years now. As solutions continue to emerge and the business of reputation management as a service expands, there's a dangerous trend that should be addressed.

Reputation management isn't about sending an email. It's not about filtering results by checking their sentiment first before directing them to the review sites. It's not even about trying to identify any challenges that they had with their experience. It's about making their experience strong from the start and learning from the challenges some customers pointed out.

First and foremost, stop blaming the customer. If they leave a bad review, it's not because they were just trolling. It's not because they get a kick out of burning businesses on Yelp, Google Local, or DealerRater. It's not even about them thinking they should have received a better deal than they got even if you gave it away. They were unhappy with the experience and there was something you could have done differently to prevent them from leaving a bad review. Learn from it.

Once you get the customer-is-to-blame mentality out of your head, it's time to figure out how to collect and address the feedback. Yes, emails help here. They're not the cure, but they're a good thermometer. While there are plenty of filtering services out there that send a "survey" first before asking for feedback, these are dangerous and will someday be shot down as the devious technique that they are.

In case you're not familiar with them, here's how they work:

  1. Customer receives a survey in their email asking about their experience
  2. Their replies are collected by the reputation management system and sorted between positive and negative sentiment
  3. If the sentiment was positive, they are sent an email asking them to share their experience on review sites like Yelp
  4. If the sentiment is negative, they're sent an apology email with a link to give direct feedback to the owner or general manager

This all seems like a good process until you realize that the review sites don't like this. They rightfully believe that it's manipulation of reviews and it's one of the primary culprits in their war on "fake" reviews. According to Yelp:

"No, you shouldn’t ask your customers to post reviews on Yelp. For one thing, most businesses tend to ask their happiest customers to write reviews, not the unhappy ones."

They are correct and it's the main reason that so many businesses work hard (or pay good money) only to find that their Yelp reviews disappeared. It's simply not a good practice to find out whether or not your customers are going to burn you before asking them to write a review for you.

The most important thing that any business can do to improve their reputation is to accept the feedback, positive or negative, and apply a two-step process. First, share the feedback with employees. If it's good, let them know as much about the situation as possible and why it turned into a positive review. If it's bad, do the same thing but offer suggestions that could have prevented the negative feedback from happening. This is important whether the feedback comes directly to the company or if it's posted online.

Second, you'll want to reply to reviews. Every review. EVERY review. Positive, negative, indifferent - if someone takes the time to give you feedback about your business whether it's on a public site or directly to you, it is your responsibility to reply. If it's positive, humility and appreciation are in order. They're your customers - the lifeblood of your business. If it's negative, professionalism and empathy must apply. Remember, how you reply to negative feedback is often the most important aspect of reputation management. People don't expect any business to be perfect. You can go a long way towards impressing people with how you handle the bad situations as much if not more than the benefits of getting good reviews.

Reputation isn't a star rating. Reputation management isn't an email. In this golden age of digital, you have at your fingertips the ability to learn how to improve your business practices from the very people that do business with you. Are you listening to them?

Article originally posted on Business2Community.

Comments

One term that can be used in Reputation Management is "Domino Effect". Yes either way positive or negative there is a Domino effect - probably more so on the Negative end. When consumers do not get the experience they are looking for they WANT to tell others. They feel it is their duty to. I agree that it is all the elements in being proactive that can give the consumer the best experience possible.

Dec 20, 2013

Comments 1 - 1 of 1

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

JD Rucker's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Mike Martinez, CMO of DMEautomotive, to Present at the 2014 DrivingSales Executive Summit; and DMEa Selected as a Finalist for the 2014 Innovation Cup

    Mike Martinez’s presentation, “Smartphones and the Purchase Game,” was selected by a panel of auto dealers; joins an agenda that also includes keynotes from digital expert and best-selling author Brian Solis; SEO ‘Wizard’ Rand Fishkin; eMarketer’s lead digital auto analyst, Mike Hudson; Kellogg School of Management marketing professor Florian Zettelmeyer, and online marketing pioneer, Bryan Eisenberg     Daytona Beach, FL – September 30, 2014 – Mike Martinez, CMO of DMEautomotive, has been selected to present at the sixth annual DrivingSales Executive Summit (DSES), the most authoritative profit-building event for innovative dealers. Martinez’s presentation, Smartphones and the Purchase Game, joins an agenda that includes keynotes from digital expert and author Brian Solis, SEO “Wizard” Rand Fishkin, eMarketer’s Lead Digital Auto Analyst, Mike Hudson, Kellogg School of Management Marketing Professor Florian Zettelmeyer, and Managing Partner of Eisenberg Hol...Read post

  • 8 in 10 Dealers Agree the Ideal Sales/Finance Process Should Be Two Hours or Less

    New dealership survey from eLEND Solutions underscores pain points for dealers in Sales/F&I process; 80% report their Sales/Finance process takes two hours or longer   Mission Viejo, CA – September 30, 2014 – A new survey of dealerships* from eLEND Solutions underscores what most dealers know already, that the sales and finance process takes much longer than it should:  80% report their process goes on for two hours or longer and 40% report three hours or longer - while a whopping 82% of dealers say the ideal end-to-end process should take two hours or less.     Survey of dealers shows disconnect between what they think ideal length of the sale/F&I s process should be and what it currently is: How long do you estimate the start-to-finish (sales/financing) transaction takes for your dealership(s)? Ideally, how long would you want your sales & financing process (show to final close) to be? 80% 2-5 hours 82% ...Read post

  • Grass roots advertising

    This year we decided as a dealership to become more involved in events in the community. We came up with a budget for this and jumped in! We are sponsoring the local auto race track and participating in other events in the community. We have participated in 5k events as well as relay for life. we try to do one event per month. We feel that this grass roots adveertising is worth so much....not to mention that it is nice to be involved with events that are good for the community.  We also tie this in to our social media efforts as well. We always have some type of game that people can play and win different prizes.  I am looking to the driving sales community for more ideas for this type of marketing. ...Read post

  • Driving Sales Executive Summit - Some Words by a Vendor for Vendors (dealers too!)

    I would like to address my peers today from a vendor perspective. We often come to these events due to our sponsorships (that big booth!) and our relationships to the industry. Depending on the conference, you may find the majority of your time is spent at the booth trying to demo your product or service. I won't dispute that this is necessary; however, I encourage each and every one of you, including your sales people, and anyone wearing your Vendor badge, to take in as many breakout sessions and keynotes as you/they can. This is absolutely imperative Read post

  • Three Paid Methods to Drive Traffic to Your Inventory

    We've been very careful with how we approach inventory marketing on dealer websites. On one hand, we know that a dealer's inventory is the primary lead and sales driver for dealers. On the other hand, the concept of driving everyone directly to inventory is a flawed one. Sometimes, it's better to put people on an appropriate landing page rather than push them directly to the cars. With that said, we've found that there are three very ways to drive shoppers directly into inventory. They are... PPC This is the obvious one. The no-brainer. Pretty much every PPC vendor in the industry has ways to pull inventory from the website and create targeted ads to pull people directly into vehicle details pages. I'm not going to dwell on it, but I will say this: there are certain ads that should not go directly to VDPs. Lower funnel buyers should definitely be seeing inventory, but many ads that vendors run for dealers should be going to appropriate landing pages instead, especially for higher...Read post

  • Service Marketing - Red Yellow Green

    There are ways to use to the data collected during the inspection process to build automated marketing focused on the right message for the customer based on the inspection process.Read post

  • You Can't Optimize Two Dealers in the Same City with the Same Make

    I can already hear the vendors scrambling to put together their rebuttals. I'm not going to dwell on the issue, but it's an important one to note. For most dealers, it's okay to be in the mix. As long as you're on the first page on Google for the major keywords, you're doing just fine. Aggressive dealers, those who truly want to dominate, cannot do so if they're getting the same SEO that's given to hundreds or thousands of other dealers. Even if you believe the argument that SEO is scalable (which it isn't when done properly) then you definitely can't believe that two dealers of the same brand in the same metro can both get excellent SEO from the same company. There's only one listing that can be ranked #1 for any given search. The math isn't hard. If a company is willing to do optimization for more than one dealer of the same brand in the same metro, there's a disconnect between what they think they can do and what can actually be done. Again, I'm not going to dwell on it. You're...Read post

  • Rust Never Sleeps, and Neither Does Change

    Change is now the rule when it comes to the world of retailing cars. It has been since 2008-09, when the Great Recession and its terrible consequences created an Automotive Depression never before seen: too few buyers, too many cars for sale, sitting on lots, not moving, not selling, just collecting rust. I recall flying into Detroit during the worst of those years and seeing row after row of unsaleable new cars parked on airport lots. Just parked. The entire industry was parked. Today, we’re well back from that dark place – and then some. The year’s sales are on a torrid pace; dealerships are renovating and automakers are expanding model lines. Still, as a partial result of those years, change seems now to be in constant overdrive. No matter what side of the business you’re in, we all sort of look over our shoulder a bit at what that might mean, and to get a glimpse of what might be coming. This time, that change is centered on the very way cars are sold. From progressive r...Read post