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Online reputation management, Internet Reputation Management, or Online Reviews – whatever you call it, we know it’s been gaining traction and will continue to be a bigger part of who we are as dealers. It will be our online billboards for customers to tell others what they think of us.
Google just increased the stakes recently with their emphasis on Google Place’s and the reviews. Then upped the ante with Google Boost. Edmunds has had dealer reviews for quite sometime. Cars.com is implementing their own reviews. Autotrader will be piping in online reviews from the likes of Google and Dealerrater.com with their new S11 suite of products. The industry seems to be finally embracing something that very few folks recognized a year ago.
With that said – with the help of Brian Pasch and others I realized the importance of reviews and implementing a dealership wide embracement of ORM. It has been an uphill battle but I have fought long and hard – and it is finally paying off. We were named as DealerRater.com Finalists for Dealer of the Year with our Cadillac & GMC stores. We are now the #1 rated Toyota Dealer and Hyundai Dealer in the state of Texas per DealerRater.com. Pretty good right???
Well – here is my dilemma – there are a ton of baskets we can put our ORM eggs into. So which one is right? Which ones should be focus on? Heck – to tout our reputation is a HUGE selling tool. We have had customers walk in and ask for salespeople by name after reading reviews about this particular sales person. All great things correct. YES!!!!
Well – I decided to jump on the Google Boost bandwagon thinking my 100+ GM reviews, 70+ Hyundai and Toyota reviews would all pipe into my boost. Unfortunately that is not the case. Boost only touts Google reviews (which is not where I have been focusing my reviews) – not the reviews they pull into from other sites like judysbook, Dealerrater, insiderpages and many more.
AHHHH!!! Seriously? ?? I am a firm believer in diversification – but I also don’t want to dilute my reviews in each review site to where the handfuls of reviews are virtually meaningless. When I have 100+ reviews with an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars – there is power in those numbers. When I have 10 reviews – there isn’t that big of an impact.
I think this is where Cars.com is wrong in their thinking about how they are going about implementing their ORM. Just my two cents - but I think it is best for them - but not to us as dealers. I see fragmentation occurring and as dealers we have to figure out which basket to bank our ORM on.
My personal opinion is Google and DealerRater.com. You dominate those two – you dominate the market. Unfortunately my emphasis on DealerRater has hurt my Google Boost impact.
So my question to my dealer counterparts is – where are your eggs being placed? What has worked for you? What is your opinion on everyone jumping in the review game? Will it hurt or hinder us with the vast amount of places for customers to leave reviews?