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This is Part One of a Four Part series on developing a Reputation Marketing Strategy for your dealership. A DrivingSales community exclusive.
The foundation for any successful reputation-marketing program is a commitment to serve consumers with passion, transparency, and integrity. Dealers have been trained by OEM’s to focus on CSI scores for years. Online reviews are the digital equivalent and become the Dealership Reputation Score (DRS), which include more than just customers.
Every person who contacts a dealership at the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) has the power to enhance or diminish a dealer’s reputation. Online reviews for car dealers are typically seen by thousands of potential customers every month during the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).
For example, a BMW in New Jersey receives over 40,0000 impressions a month on their Google Places business listing which includes their Google user reviews. Now add impressions on websites that include Yelp, DealerRater, and Edmunds and you can see why online reviews are influential when consumers research cars and dealerships online.
A dealership building a strong online reputation must have clear sales and customer service standards for their employees to read and put into practice. Training and accountability measures will ensure that consumers have a consistent experience during all contact points.
Starting a Reputation Marketing Program begins with asking every customer about their experience at the dealership before they leave the building. The casual scripted survey will allow dealers to identify potential problems before they escalate to a negative online review.
Asking satisfied customers if they would be willing to post a review online when done properly is never pushy or contrived. Consumers are well aware of the importance of online reviews, mostly because of the influence of websites like Amazon.com and TripAdvisor.com.
Millions of dollars on ecommerce transactions each day are influenced during the Zero Moment of Truth based on previous customer reviews placed next to products, hotels, and restaurants. Car dealers are being viewed through the same lens yet few dealers have taken online reviews seriously.
We surveyed 150 dealers in a state recently, as part of our national survey that we will release at DMSC 2012, and found some startling statistics. The data showed me that dealers have not taken the impact of reviews during the Zero Moment of Truth seriously.
Online reviews are the fuel for accelerating a dealers’ reputation however review websites each have their own strategic value, visibility, and submission processes. With this in mind, a successful reputation-marketing program must have a comprehensive strategy with a workflow that is based on the overall online strategy for the business.
Reputation marketing processes must also be flexible since changes in the marketplace are inevitable. When Apple introduced the world to Siri in October 2011, it also made waves in world of online review platforms.
What do you think will happen when your dealership has 20 Reviews on this list and the competitors have none?
Apple’s choice elevated the important of Yelp.com to business owner’s overnight.
With smartphone web traffic on the rise, Yelp must now be part of any review collection process.
The challenge with Yelp for car dealers is that their user community and editors don’t like One-Yelpers; a consumer who creates an account just to post one review for a business.
For car dealers, this means that customers that are active on Yelp are extremely valuable. Their reviews will be included in the store’s review count so the collection process must ask if the customer is a Yelper.
In Part 2, I will outline the workflow inside your dealership and how to prioritize the many review platforms on the market.
This is the end of Part 1 of the series on developing a Reputation Marketing Strategy. If you enjoyed the article, please share it with your friends, click on the +1 button, and Tweet it out!
Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing
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