This is Part Two of a Four Part series on developing a Reputation Marketing Strategy for your dealership. If you would like to read the previous article, click here for Part One.
This is a DrivingSales.com Exclusive Series
Creating a Reputation Marketing Strategy requires that you have a process in place to survey customer satisfaction and a process that engages the customer based on their feedback.
By creating a culture that values customer service and transparency, dealers will be rewarded by consumers who control the sales process.
Every customer that enters a dealership should be asked about their "experience" before they leave the store. If a customer leaves the dealership without being surveyed, dealers run the risk that the empowered consumer will be very critical to their online communities and on highly visible public forums like Google Places, Yelp, or specific automotive platforms like DealerRater.com and Edmunds.com.
Review collection processes and word tracts should be customized for each dealership based on marketing strategies and investments in technology. Dealers that invest in tablet computers like the iPad can leverage user-friendly mobile applications to simplify the review collection process.
The most efficient way to collect a review is when the customer is in the dealership. Once the customer leaves, their motivation to stop their normal activities to go online a post a review are greatly diminished.
I discourage dealers from sending email "reminders" or to make calls to their customers asking for a review. This may impact the OEM CSI phone and email survey processes. Customers may get confused and feel that they have already submitted a review to the detriment of CSI scoring.
A high percentage of customers will participate with an in-store review process if the engagement questions are handled properly. During the verbal customer satisfaction survey, the dealership staff can identify which review platform is best matched for each customer.
Once surveyed inside the dealership, customers should be able to post to at least one review platform inside the dealership, as indicated in the InfoGraphic below.
If the customer did not have a positive experience, the issues should be resolved immediately. Keep in mind that consumers have tremendous power to influence the next car shopper during the Zero Moment of Truth.
If a customer does not want to write a review in the store, you can send them home with a reminder postcard which identifies a website where they can post a review(s). DealerRater.com was an early pioneer of the postcard reminder process to encourage customers to post reviews from home.
In the workflow above, dealers will be looking to leverage customers with Yelp, Google, Bing, or Yahoo accounts. If a customer does not have any of these accounts, there are ways to capture a review.
Dealers will find that at least 30% of their customers will have one of the accounts listed in the InfoGraphic. If a dealer identifies customers that have existing accounts, they will most likely have the most reviews in their local market.
Creating new accounts on behalf of your customers inside the store is discouraged. There are many reasons for this warning, but for now you will have to trust my advice.
For those customers that don't have any of these accounts, I strongly suggest that dealers implement an in-store review collection platform. This will allow dealers to collection 100% of your satisfied customers.
There are a number of choices on the market, each with their strengths and weaknesses. I will be discussing in-store review platforms in greater detail in Part Four of this series.
The benefits of the in-store review platforms is that the dealership will own the review content. These platforms allow progressive dealers to syndicate their reviews on blogs, websites, and also to create unique marketing strategies based on their customer reviews.
Without starting a technical discussion on IP addresses, your in-store Internet connections may reflect a physical address not located near your store.
Case in point, I am writing this article in Florence Italy, yet my IP address at this cafe is being identified as Genoa Italy which is HOURS away from this location.
Many review platforms track IP addresses and reviews can be flagged as spam if they all come from same IP address or an address that does not match the physical location of the business.
Using 3G/4G technology on tablets running mobile apps will eliminate this problem because the GPS systems in mobile devices show that the review is coming from a device at the dealership location.
Contrary to popular belief, this is good in a mobile world.
Dealers can download mobile free review applications from Google, Yelp, MerchantCircle.com or platform independent review apps from cDemo.com.
Google allows reviews to be placed in the store, restaurant, or dealership using their mobile application or a desktop PC. This has been confirmed by Scott Falcone from the Google Automotive team; consumers can post a review using the Google Places App or via a web browser using their existing Google account inside the dealership.
As smartphone market share increases, mobile devices will be the primary technology used for posting online reviews because they allow consumers to share the “emotion” of their experience at the point of contact.
The workflow presented in the InfoGraphic above can serve most dealers desiring to build their Internet reputation scores. Dealers will need to invest in mobile tablets and decide where to insert the survey and review collection in the sales process.
In Part Three, I will discuss how dealers are implementing in-store processes. Dealer solutions will vary so I will document three different in-store processes to choose from.
After reading Part Three, there should be no reason why anyone would delay starting a review collection process inside their dealership.
This is the end of Part 2 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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