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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Brian Pasch

Brian Pasch CEO

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The Irony of Customer Reviews

Automotive Vendor Awards"If car dealers want to increase their online reviews in 2011 they need to first ask themselves why they are reluctant to vote for their own vendors online."

Over the past two months I have been watching the ratings and review counts on for their 2010 Vendor Awards. Each year car dealers have the opportunity to voice their opinion and rate the best vendors that serve the automotive industry.

The Driving Sales Vendor Awards have become a benchmark for peer review. All votes are carefully validated to ensure that the person voting is actually a dealership employee.

This year my companies were listed in the categories for which we offer products and services and each year we make sure that we ask our customers to take a minute and posted their rating for our services. We make these requests on the phone and also via email.

We have friendly "battles" with our industry competitors but it's all good for keep the competitive spirit alive. Now that the voting for the 2010 Driving Sales Vendor Awards is closed, I wanted to share an observation.

The Review Process

I'm sure you know that getting YOUR customers to post reviews on Google Places is hard.

After someone purchases their car and gets home, it is hard to motivate them to take action remotely and post a review from their home IP address.

What is even harder is to get OUR car dealer clients to rate their vendors (us) on the DrivingSales Vendor Awards. Our automotive clients put off the task just like your car buyers…its ironic.

For example, for Internet Trainer, I have trained hundreds of car dealership employees at conference, workshops, and through webinars. Many of these automotive professionals have joined one of the PCG managed online communities or they are in our email database. Only a small percentage have taken the time to read my email advising them of the voting process and visited DrivingSales to vote.

In another category, only clients of PCG can vote in the Automotive SEO Vendor category. What is ironic is that we help hundreds of rooftops with their SEO and most indicate that they are satisfied when we ask them (Does this sound familiar?) Most all have committed to voting online. (Does this sound familiar?) Yet the review counts are very low! (Does this sound familiar?)

I'm not complaining. Many of our great supporters voted this year but it did not come without a tremendous investment in time and resources. Verbal phone commitments produce low online voting results.

Rethinking The Approach

So tAutomotive Reputation Managementhis process has really educated me that we need to think of new ways to motivate our customers to take the time to click and post a review online once they leave the dealership.

If car dealers are coming to realize that Internet Reputation Management is important, what call to action could I have created to make our car dealer clients vote?

The answers are there....automotive retailers who are part of this community just have to ask why they didn't take time to vote for their favorite vendors?

If you did vote, what motivated you to take time to vote?

We need to start discussing the psychology behind voting online. For the record, I understand that everyone is busy. I also understand that the dealer/vendor relationship can be strong or weak.

But if car dealers are to move the needle with their own Online Reputation Management program in 2011 and increase their Google "Star Counts" on Google Places, we need to discuss what is working best.

Car dealers who are having great success getting their clients to post directly on Google Places, please speak up. I have some ideas to share but that will be in a follow-up article this month.

What ways can car dealers increase the success rate of getting their customers to vote on Google Places, DealerRater, PrestoReviews, Yelp, etc. from home?

Paul Potratz
Brian, It is all in perspective think of how many people book a hotel on expedia "tens of thousands" and how many actually take the time to leave a review "150 or less". I think there are several factors e.g. "Time, what to say, process" to mention a few that effects reviews. However some great changes are coming with Google reviews and the like that will make reviews a bigger and easier process for consumers which will help all vendors that see the value and importance in good reviews. Just if Google, Yelp and others had a process to validate reviews like Drivingsales does to ensure honesty. Great Job Arnold, Bart, Jared and staff!
Arnold Tijerina
Thanks, Paul!
Shawn Vieira
to post a review I have to sign up for something / open a new account / remember a new password / etc... or my reviews are in such a great contrast to what others have posted it raises the "did I miss something" question and possibly having to defend my situation. I am not a slacker, but 9 times out of 10, I just don't feel like it is worth my time, effort or privacy
Timothy Martell
Additionally, I found the review posting process buggy. I understand that DS wants to ensure only legitimate reviews are posted, however, I never received my confirmation e-mails. My intent was to have every manager from all 5 of our franchises vote for PCG. However after we attempted to post 3 reviews by 3 different personnel unsuccessfully, we gave up. PS: Yes we did the idiot testing Spam, etc for confirmation e-mails. No luck, and no change in the vendor review count after posting. I wonder how many other PCG (or other vendor) clients found that their votes didn't count?
Arnold Tijerina
Tim, the reason you did not get a verification e-mail from me is that I knew you were a real person and verified your review immediately. There was no need for me to "verify" that you exist and work at a dealership.

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