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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jim Bell

Jim Bell Performance Manager

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Online Reputation Management - Are All Your Eggs in One Basket?

We've all heard the statement "are all your eggs in one basket?"  But are all your eggs in one basket when it comes to online reviews?  A couple of months ago, we all learned that lesson when Google changed the way of the star ratings on the Google Places page and only counting the Google reviews in the star ratings on the search results.  I heard of some dealers go from 400+ reviews to less than 20 Google reviews due to focusing on one review site.  I think we all look at reviews in making a large purchasing decision and we may even hit a few different websites to see what people have to say.  It is no different when it comes to vehicle purchases.  I never really saw the importance of being diversified when it comes to online reviews until this week when I attended a seminar hosted by cars.com.

What cars.com found in their tracking within their site was 73% of used car shoppers did consult and read the online reviews of the dealership.  That potential customer is four times more likely to submit a lead or call the dealership based on the reviews that were submitted.  On the new car side of things, 91% of the shoppers will look at the reviews and see how customers rated the service department.  They want to see how they will be handled after the sale.  Service departments will see 3-5 times more customers than the sales department every day.  This shows the importance of getting the service departments involved in the review process.

One thing that we are always concerned about is that bad online review.  Guess what?  It happens.  The potential customer will find the reviews to be more credible if there would happen to be a marginal review within the site and you have responded to it.  The key is, how did you interact with that customer after the online review?  Did you give them an option to contact you to resolve the issue at hand or did you just ignore it?  Are you acknowledging the positive reviews?  Remember, your possible future customer may be reading that review and may determine if they come or not come to the dealership to give you a shot at their business.

So what are the steps to getting those online reviews?  Cars.com did have a good philosophy here and included 4 steps*.

  1. Monitor - Listen to feedback across the internet.  Share the feedback across the dealership.
  2. Respond - Acknowledge and reply to the feedback given.  Correct any underlying issues at the store.
  3. Ask - Deliver a positive customer experience.  Ask satisfied customers to write a positive review.
  4. Promote - Share positive reviews with prospects.  Reward the staff  for success.

Cars.com did share numbers with us that shouldn't scare dealers.  In the last few months since they started offering online reviews, they have received 12,500+ reviews with the average score of 4.4.  79% of the reviews were rated a 4 or 5 star.  Only 24% of the dealers on cars.com had reviews.  Are you part of that 24%?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and diversifying yourself with your reviews.

*Info taken from cars.com slide

 

Bryan Armstrong
Some great tips. Most times customers don't leave reviews for one big reason : WE DON"T ASK! Don't allow the small unhappy ercentage to dominate your reputation results. Make sure all voices are heard and shoot video which you can then tag and re-purpose as well.
Jim Bell
I think you hit it on the head with not asking Bryan. Too many people are scared to ask becuase they are unsure what they are going to type.
Brent Albrecht
So Jim, do you think part of the reason sales people don't ask is because they are scared of bad reviews (and potentially reprisals from management)? and if that's part of the reason, does Management need to train that bad reviews can happen, we still need to ask, that is how we improve and get better?
Russell Grant
Jim, I agree with what you are saying. However, if you are to put all the eggs in one basket. Put them in Google. Dealers were burned if they had all their reviews on Dealerater. It is important to diversify reviews because of all the sites but Google is the most significant.
Jim Bell
I agree with you completely Russell. Focus on Google first, and then move to the others when you have a good base in the Google reviews.

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