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Beth Latta

Beth Latta Sr. Product Marketing Manager

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Death to the Dark Arts of Dealership Reputation Management

The “Order” is back in session and it’s time for the final exam! Let’s dispel and defeat the dark arts and put the death curse on the “Lord Voldemorts” of reputation management.  Don’t start getting test anxiety.  Whether you have your wand or not, it’s easy!  Even the gang from Slytherin could pass it, because I’m giving you the answers to the Five Key Dealer Review Questions.  Yes, we are going to know how to right the wrongs of reputation management; wand-less and armed with the sheer power of knowledge.   

Five Key Dealer Review Questions Answered

  1. How do you help our dealership implement an in-store process to get customers to give us reviews?
    1. Implement an in-house competition/incentive program for your staff.  Reward them for delivering consistent good ol’ fashion customer-centric service at its best. 
    2. Define a consistent process for review generation.  Ask every customer about their experience, collect email addresses so you can survey them, and utilize technology to do it within 24-48 hours of the sale or service.  This is also a great way to discover if you have any unhappy customer in early stages, so you can fix it pronto.
    3. Brand in-store materials so customers know you are on the main review sites, such as Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo Local. Let them know you want them to share their experience on these review sites too.
    4. All of the Above
  1. How do you help me stay informed and engaged in tracking what is said about our dealership and staff online?
    1. Invest in a tracking tool for monitoring the main review sites (and a number of smaller ones).  This will keep the dealership informed on the vast world of the Internet. You should be checking this dealership review tool daily.
    2. Create a proactive process for informing the dealership of reviews content and best practices for dealership reviews responses. This includes responding to negative reviews, so you have a chance to turn a negative into a positive.
    3. Implement on-going monitoring and escalation of opportunities to engage with reviews on the internet.
    4. All of the Above
  1. How do you help me leverage my positive reviews and mitigate my negative ones for best impact on current customers and future shoppers?
    1. Generation of reviews on sites that matter to the general consumers like Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo, as well as on the dealership’s website so you can promote your brand where consumers are researching you. 
    2. Crafting professional and timely responses to negative reviews can often be beneficial for business. Even if the consumer doesn’t change their rating, the general public can see how you handle yourself in the face of adversity, which speaks volumes of your character.
    3. Strategic interaction with positive reviews to emphasize your commitment to the customer.
    4. All of the Above
  1. How do you help my dealership rank highly in the search engines for business listings and popular review sites such as, Google, Yelp and Yahoo?
    1. Properly claiming and managing profiles on major listings and review sites and setting up some initial SEO best practices around those claimed listings will help with page placement. 
    2. Publication of reviews to a dealer’s own website or microsite.
    3. Ongoing maintenance, generation of fresh review content, and  keeping profile pages up-to-date can impact search results positively and shows you are an engaged and active dealership.
    4. All of the Above
  1. How do you help the dealership build a long-term strategy around managing our online reputation?
    1. Dedication and commitment.   Building a successful long -term reputation management strategy requires a consistent processes,. Designating time every day/week/month/year to managing and monitoring a multitude of review sites. 
    2. Knowledge of best practices in review generation and review response to leverage positive reviews and mitigate the impact of negative ones.  
    3. A way to showcase the hard work your dealership and staff put in to servicing and selling cars to your customers and eventually increase exposure and high rankings in the search engines.
    4. All of the Above

You’ve just been schooled in the “right tactics” of reputation management so you are now well equipped to dispel the dark ones.  A great dealership reputation is a life-long business commitment.  It takes strategy, consistency, and legitimacy so you become and remain the consumer’s top trusted brands.   So whether this expertise is in-house or with a trusted third party partner, just make sure it exists and is implemented-guard your stars!

Jim Bell
Great points Beth but I will have to disagree with you on one point. I don't think that you need to spiff a salesperson to do their job. If it is part of the process, they have to do it, period. It may be a good idea to do it initially when you have no reviews, but after it is built up, then there is no need for it. We never implemented a spiff program and we have accumulated a ton just due to having it in our process.
Beth Latta
Hi Jim, Thanks for your comments. You make a good point that sometimes getting a program or new process off the ground may take spiffs, but just for doing your job every day; it isn't appropriate. Just to clarify, when I used the term "reward" I wasn't necessarily equating that with money. I think healthy internal competitions and recognition, for many, can incent and be rewarding and is a great way to get “above and beyond” all day, each day. Looks like you guys are doing a great job; would love to hear one of the techniques that has worked for your dealership in the reputation management space? Thanks again for sharing your comments.

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