Negative Reviews

Aimee Rogers

We all know you aren't going to please everyone.  It may be from a mistake on the dealership's part, a disgruntled ex-employee, a competitor,  a customer that you couldn't get done because of whatever reason.  Sometimes these negative reviews are completely the customer's fault, but we get the negative review.

Do you ever wish you can review the customers?  How do you handle negative reviews?  Do you let the negative reviews bother you?

I always try to gather as much information as I can and write a personalized response to the review.  We respond to every review, good and bad.  ( If you aren't you need to be!) 

We recently received a negative review about our service department.  The customer was told that their care package would cover a loaner ( and it will).  The customer gets here and is filling out the rental agreement. We ask for a copy of their insurance card and they let us know that they don't have car insurance.  That is not legal in here and we cannot legally give him a loaner vehicle without it.  We tell him this and offer him a ride home, or that we can pick up and drop off the vehicle to him the next day.  He leaves in his vehicle and minutes later we have a negative review.  

Randi DeSantis

I am not always the best person to respond to reviews. While I am great at conflict resolution, I am not great at nonsense.  Sometimes you just need to respond with your truth on the situation and not appease everyone. 



Aimee Rogers

Yeah that is what I did in this situation.  I'm a pretty blunt person, so it can be difficult to write some of the responses to the negative reviews.  Especially in cases like this. 

Randi DeSantis

Me too! I struggle, because honestly some of these complaints are nonsense!!


Chip Diggs

Reviews are where our store lives and where we attribute much of our success.  With over 2000 Google reviews for our Ford store (2400 as of today) we believe without a few bad reviews the page looks disingenuous.

Customers are going to write you a bad review now and again.  It’s what you do with that poor review that will make you a winner or a loser. 

1.       You have to understand why you got the poor review.  Most of the time it’s not because the dealership was deceitful or did something with malice towards the customer, it was most likely poor communication (on both sides).  Customers want what they want, when they want it.  It’s our job to understand them and regardless of whether or not we agree with the review we have to approach it with empathy and a willingness to put ourselves in their shoes.

2.       The dealership needs to look at the bad review as an opportunity to learn and show the public who they are when things don’t go as planned.  Apologize to the customer in the reply to the review.  Not as an admission of guilt but as an admission of not meeting “their” expectations.  It’s OK not to have met them, what’s not OK is to not work to rectify whatever caused them to leave the poor review in the first place.  The public apology does two things; It allows the person in the review to know you care about their concerns along with letting the public reading the review know your dealership steps up when things don’t go right.

Always make sure to leave a name, email address and phone number in the review so the customer knows who’s leaving the response and how to get in touch with you.  Then, and most importantly, go be a hero and figure out how you can turn this situation with this customer into a positive.  The way you win in our business is by attacking your problems not waiting for them to go away.

In the end the bad review is really a good thing.  Stop discounting the customer's point of view.  Most likely something did not go the way it was supposed to.  Own it and reach out.  Become a star at solving “problems” whether they be of your own making or not.  You won’t always win the customer back but by showing the dealership’s vulnerable side, in public, you will win fans.  Just remember, before you write a response, get from behind your side of the desk and be a customer.    

Bart Wilson

@Chip, AMEN! Reviews give you a unique opportunity to correct issues that you may not even know you have.

Communication with a poor review is essential. It's so tempting to get defensive or think, "that lady was crazy".

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