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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*.
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