Review Rant!

Jillian Marchewka
So, yesterday I had a discussion with our New Car Manager about Reputation Management and creating a review centric culture... He laughed at me. He then said that we should start incentivising customers to write Google and Yelp reviews, like they apparently did in the past (way before I started.) Facepalm. I tried explaining that it was A. Unethical, B. Violating both Google and Yelp's Terms and Conditions and we can get SEVERELY penalized. C. It doesn't help get reviews in the long haul. How should I deal with this resistance, especially when I know that I am right? The only way to make change is to get management buy in, and without their support I cannot do my job. Am I too progressive in thinking?
Lauren Moses
Jillian, Head up and keep running. It's something that I struggle with too since I'm so "new school" and want to make a big difference. Google and Yelp are free tools for you. And they can get you great results in you use them properly. You are totally correct in not incentivising customers to leave reviews. It's against the rules and like you said, unethical. I would do your research and look at other dealerships and their reviews. Pull from as many sites as you can, google, yelp, cars.com, autotrader, edmunds, etc. Print some (good and bad) about the other dealership and show them to management. Maybe go out on a limb and do a little social "By the way, We are listed on Google and Yelp! Go by and leave us a review! Tell how how we are doing so we can keep improving!" and see if it gets you any results. Just remember, Slow and steady wins the race. Also, print the rules on Yelp and Google for reviews to show that you can't give customers incentives to leave reviews.
James Klaus
Give good customer service as the incentive. Then you will get good reviews. I always get looked at crazy when asked "how do we improve online reviews?" And I respond "treat people better". Just a side note that I read your comments in here and what you r doing is right!!!
Daniel Wilkins
James is absolutely right. I have had numerous guests ask to speak with a manager or the owner about how well they were treated. I always thank them and introduce them if I can, but I also remind them that reviewing us online is the biggest "Thank you!" they can give us. Also, when you are reviewed online I believe you should respond to every single one, good or bad.
Mark Winters
It seems like he only wants to get good reviews. As we all know when we read only good reviews it is hard for us to believe it. He thinks that if you get a bad review it will ruin the dealership. What he needs to understand is that if you put in place a good review process, the good will out way the bad (that is if you give good customer service and you deserve it). The few negative reviews will add legitimacy and you will generate many more good reviews than bad. People are saying bad and good things about your dealership anyway, why wouldn't you want to be part of that conversation. Show him the process and how it will work. Show him how you will deal with negative reviews. Show him successful dealers review who don't buy them. Tell him customers do research and read reviews online before they make a decision to pick up the phone or send in an email, Does he want customers to consider buying from the dealership. Ask him if he thinks the dealership deserves poor reviews. Then ask him what he is so afraid of. Then challenge him to embrace reviews like the best dealerships in the United States have. Keep at it. He may not accept and it will take time but never give up. You are looking at the most important part of the customer behavior, research. Customers are ruling out doing business with dealerships who don't engage there customers in a review process. Mention it at every meeting, and opportunity you have with the GM, DP, and Sales Managers, and don't forget that the service department will be your largest generator of online reviews. Good luck ;)
Paul Schnell
Agree with all of the above. Mark Winters, you nailed it. Top-down is the key. It took me a couple years but once the owner/GM was on board, it became part of our culture. We have over a thousand reviews online (mostly good, all real). Not a single one was purchased or incentivized. Beat the drum every day. Show that it's important. Get the salespeople to communicate back to you about customers who saw your reviews. All it will take is for you to tell management about that first customer who says "I came here because of your reviews" and the game will be over. Keep beating that Jillian! You are on the RIGHT path.

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