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Jared Hamilton
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Every business gets online reviews, and no one can deny the impact these reviews can have on a business. In no industry are reviews more important than in the automotive industry. And while dealerships have taken measures to gather more feedback and reviews from customers another important aspect of reputation management is often ignored by dealerships: responding to the reviews.


With the hustle and bustle of the normal dealership’s daily operations customer’s online feedback can often fall by the wayside. We either see a negative or a positive review and don’t always pay attention to the content of the review. Which in your potential customer’s eyes is more important than the star rating. So when your future customer see’s that review left by Mrs. Smith about her negative customer experience, it could influence their decision to visit your dealership. If you don’t respond to the review, it will always turn out negatively; but if you respond to the negative review in the right way you could turn the situation around, not only for the customer leaving the review, but you could also show your future customers you have invested time and effort to fixing the problem.


But responding to reviews (especially negative reviews) is not always easy. As you are reading this you are probably thinking of at least one instance where an online review can turn into a he-said-she-said argument between business owner and their customer. Here are a few tips and tricks to cultivating the perfect response to online reviews:


Respond to every review

Responding to every review is essential, in doing so you not only provide attention to your customers, but you show your potential customers you are at the top of your game.


Take responsibility and don’t play the blame game.

Your potential customers are not surprised by your negative reviews online. Every auto dealership has them. But they want to feel assured that if a problem does arise that you will be there every step of the way trying to fix the issue. If Sally Johnson posts a review saying that her financing was wrong and took long, and you respond with “Well Sally all the information you gave us was wrong, and you never returned our phone calls.” Instead of “Sally, I apologize for the inconvenience of the wait time, I would like the chance to follow up and make sure we fixed the financing. Please give me a call or shoot me an email.” Which one do you think would show your potential customer that you want to fix the problem?


Keep it short and sweet.

It can be easy to get long-winded responding to reviews. But you should keep it short, respond to the problem, say thank you, and leave it at that.

Don’t be generic.

Again, this can be hard. Sometimes dealerships can get 5+ reviews a day. But if you humanize your responses you will see a lot better return. Tailor your responses to their problem, address them by name, and don’t use the same wording in each review.


And finally, don’t let your emotions get the best of you.

This is the most difficult tip. It can be hard when a past customer is writing negative things about your dealership that may or may not be true. But if you can keep a level head and not let your emotions get the best of you can show your potential customers that you can fix any problem. (And if it’s really not true you can petition the site to take it down.)


Responding to reviews is an easy way to make a big impact. 

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