Whether on your own website or popular review sites, your dealership most likely already has a sizable library of reviews of your in-store experience: customer service, helpfulness of salespeople, quality of service, and, of course, your actual cars. But are you getting reviews from your customers about your dealership website itself? That is, have you assessed the experience of starting, and doing so much of, the shopping process, on your website?
If you do, shoutout to you- you're ahead of the game. If not, reach out to your customers and get feedback on your digital experience so you can continually improve while impressing your website visitors.
Consumer reviews: don't forget about the digital
Considering how much of the research process is done online, dealerships need to know how customers experience their websites. So ask them: did your website give them what they wanted? Did they choose your dealership because of your website? Did they choose your dealership in spite of your website? This is crucial information.
By the time a customer walks onto your showroom, and certainly by the time they have made a purchase, it might seem like this information is no longer relevant– or it might seem obvious that the digital experience was good, or at least good enough to bring customers into the showroom. Do not assume this is true. Get the data you need to assess your digital showroom.
So what data should you gather? Here are some suggestions:
7 crucial pieces of data for your consumer digital reviews
- Content. Whether they are getting ready to buy or still figuring out how car tech has changed in the 10 years since their last car purchase, your customers are looking for information on your website. So one of the most important pieces of data to gather is whether they were able to actually find what they were looking for. Specifically, you can ask:
- Were VDPs up to date and sufficiently informative?
- Did we have the tools you needed?
- Was our website helpful for you in choosing your next vehicle?
- Did you find the information you came for?
- Did you find everything you were looking for regarding service and maintenance?
- Was content enjoyable?
- Accessibility. You could have the world's greatest content, but if your website browsers can't find it, it won't be helpful. Ask your users:
- Was it easy to navigate the site?
- Were navigation bars clear and intuitive?
- Design. A lot of websites today unfortunately take the pro-bombardment approach: cram as much as possible into the home page and throw as many lead capture tools on there as humanly possible, in a desperate attempt to gain visitors' attention. The thing is, your users get overwhelmed by that just like you would. So as you evaluate and reevaluate your website design, make sure to get your customers' feedback:
- Was the website easy on the eyes or was it headache-inducing?
- Did popups and offers appear at good times, or did they all grab for attention at once?
- Was the design intuitive and up-to-date, or did it look like it was ripped out of a magazine ad section, then scanned and uploaded?
- Personalization. This is a big one, with so many customers today expecting an online shopping experience tailored to their individual interests. Ask your users:
- Were popups and overlays relevant to your interests?
- If you visited the site multiple times, did you see the same content and offers every time, or did it vary to reflect my stage in the buying process?
- Tools. Payment, financing, and similar tools and calculators are extremely important to digital dealership browsers, so assess the quality of yours by asking the people who use them: are the tools on our website helpful? Are they intuitive? Are they overly complicated? Find out so you can make any changes if necessary.
- Follow-up. Of course the goal is to move customers from the website to the store, so find out how helpful your processes were in making that happen:
- Did the dealership respond to your lead submission or request for information? How long did it take to respond?
- Did responses show familiarity with the information submitted or questions already asked, or did the representative ask questions you had already answered? Were they helpful and courteous?
- Overall digital experience. In general, how helpful was your website?
- Was there something in particular that led this customer to the decision to visit your dealership?
- Are they likely to return for service and maintenance needs?
This might seem like a lot of questions, and it is. So choose a few areas that are important to your dealership right now and focus on getting substantial feedback on those categories. In a few months, try asking about something else. The goal is to make sure you know if your website is accomplishing what it's supposed to: getting you more customers and providing crucial resources to encourage people to come back to you every time, with everything they need.