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Internet Reputation ManagementI have already written about the most important consumer review websites that car dealers should be monitoring. The focus of this post is how to implement a consistent Internet Reputation Management (IRM) process.

If you wait until negative reviews show up for your auto dealership it will be more difficult to control the impact of a critical post. By creating a standard operating procedure for IRM you will ensure that positive reviews are being added on your dealer profiles each month.

Your dealership should focus on sites like www.DealerRater.com, www.Yelp.com, www.InsiderPages.com, Google Maps and www.Judysbook.com. When a negative post then hits, it will be in the minority of negative reviews and the single post's power will be diminished.

The biggest stumbling block for most car dealers that can't seem to implement a consistent Internet Reputation Management (IRM) system is time. The time required to call, email and follow-up some customers is much longer than others. That's why setting up a system that can keep the process moving is so vital. Hard to reach customers have to be skipped over since you only need a small percentage of your customers to participate to effect change.

Creating a Sustainable IRM Process

I have been helping auto dealers setup a manageable IRM process that can be kept in house or outsourced. The key is to prepare, in advance, a list of all the review sites you want to target and to create a script that someone can use to answer customer questions while on the phone.

You must have a good FAQ sheet prepared so that when you call a customer and ask them to post a review, the caller is not taken off guard with their questions. The FAQ sheet should include responses to:

  • What should I write?
  • How long should the review be?
  • Should I give my full name?
  • What if I had a mixed experience and can't give you a five star review?
  • Will I get compensated for my time?

The process requires that a list of satisfied customers is provided to the person who will be implementing your IRM process. This can be done on a weekly or monthly basis. The sooner the request comes from the date of purchase is likely to yield the best results.

Creating a Good Follow-up Email

Once a customer agrees on the phone to post a positive review, we recommend that you follow-up the call with an email explaining which sites you would like them to post. The email should include a direct link(s) to your business profile page. Your email should also walk them through the review process on each site, calling out any special requirements that may be needed.

A well written email will make it easy for your customers and increase the number of posts that are actually made. Don't overwhelm them by asking them to post on too many sites. Listing one, two or three sites is all you need from any one customer. By giving them a choice of sites to post, we have found it makes them feel more comfortable with the process.

When speaking with customers ask them to commit to a date that they will post their review. Make sure you have a system to follow-up on these dates. By asking them when they will be posting, it makes sending a reminder email very appropriate if they don't post.

Pace Your Customer Reviews


When implemented, a car dealership can change the dynamics of web reviews in just a matter of weeks or months. This of course depends on how many negative reviews exist for your business. The key to remember is that Rome was not built overnight. Take your time and let your IRM deliver steady reviews over the next year.

Don't rush too many reviews in any one month since dates are shown on review websites. Never lie. Never post reviews under anyone's name other than yourself. Never encourage your customers to lie. Don't have your customers post reviews from your Internet lounge which may appear that you are posting false reviews.

If you create a process based IRM system, potential customers will see the great things you do on these popular reviews sites as well as Google Maps. Positive reviews will generate more clicks to your website.

The customers that we have implemented a process based IRM system have seen their pace of monthly positive reviews increase over 200%. You can also consider a bonus reward plan for your IRM staff as they hit certain milestones for positive review counts.

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