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As I had promised, in Part 2 of my series, I wanted to reflect on the “Consumer Voice”, based on the insights and results from the latest TNS Digital Life study. The interface they provide on their website allowed me to specifically focus on the automotive sector here in the U.S.
With Part 2 and the previously released Part 1 (Why Online and Offline Marketing could be best partners in crime), you as a dealer will be able to see more value in the findings and adapt one or more suggestions into your marketing mix – suggestions that will improve your marketing ambitions and outcome positively, when implemented.
Unpacking the Value of the Consumer Voice
DATA POINTS; Part 2:
The question was: “What are people saying?” and “Who believes what they say?”
Statistics around Commenters: I was surprised to find out that 40% of all commenters online left comments for the purpose of helping others (even though nobody asked them to do so). Comparing this stat to the 11% of Complainants and the 11% of “Praisers”, we as dealerships should be able to be more pro-active and just ask our consumers to chime in with some praise. ((only after you’ve provided an exceptional purchase experience, of course). With Google newest algorithm change bumping events and fresh review contenthigher in the SERP’s reviews will be your friend when it comes to “beating” the competition (see also Ellen Jones’s latest article on that topic “Latest is the Greatest – Keep Your Stars Hot for an SEO Hike”.
Now please take a look at the two smaller pie charts here. Sixty one percent (61%) of all written comments are trusted when they come from a friend. Can you now see the connection between consumer voice and social media playing hand-in-hand? All these theories around “There is no ROI on social media” can be easily debunked just by taking these figures here into consideration. There is an immediate correlation between these two entities and the final answer to the question: “Where should I possibly buy a car?” or “What car brand should I try next?”
On the other hand, “only” 4 out of 10 stranger’s comments will have an impact on a consumer’s behavior; this number is not at all bad. Just think about it… 41% will somehow allow a complete stranger’s recommendation or rant about a dealer, product or service to influence their decision to go ahead with their purchase?! Crazy?
VJ’s Question: So would it make sense to have a process dialed into your dealership which will allow you to ask for more “praise” from your customers? Would it make sense to guide them to these review sites where they can leave rave reviews that will now help you rank higher in search results and also help you gain more stars on your virtual report card?
VJ’s Answer: “Of course and YOU HAVE TO.”All these charts and figures attached to it speak a very clear language. Consumers’ want to be guided to make the right decision by finding relevant information before the purchase and validating it with the opinion of others that they trust. .
When we started to “hunt” for positive reviews and put a Reputation Management process in place in my dealership in early 2008, we actively engaged the owner of a new car in our process. Just when she or he was ready to drive from the lot with her brand new BMW (and after having received a tremendous buying experience from negotiation to finance up to the delivery process), we shut the door of the new Beamer and said :
Us: “Ms. Miller, aren’t you excited to drive this beauty home now and show it to the neighborhood, friends and family?”
Us:“I am so glad to see you so happy and I know you are thrilled with your choice to have picked this 135i – it is so you… - I have one more little thing for you waiting at home in your email box, which I will send in the next minute…would you just do me the favor and help me to tell my General Manager how great we both did here to have you now driving the prettiest car on the block?...It is an email of mine with a link, and I call it my grade card. My boss is really in to it and I want to show him that I wanna be the student of the month – and your rave review would just put me into this spot. Do you think you can do that for me?”
What do you think the outcome was? 8 out 10 new customers came home the same day, opened my email, clicked on the link (whatever review site you want them to fill out the rave comment about you on), and we gained an average 4.8 star ratings out 5 stars possible, leaving the competition to swallow our dust.
Last word: Make sure you install your own reputation management process into your overall delivery process. Do not forget that this recipe can also work for your fixed operations. Talk about your personal “Grade Card”, because people still buy from people and you are much more likable than just a brick and mortar location. And make sure to tell your customers that the CSI survey has nothing to do with your personal Grade Card. When you have received an “A” from your customers, I predict that your CSI will show a 100% as well – and last but not least: DO IT EVERYTIME, EVERY DAY.
Part 3 and final reflection of this series will discuss the findings around Social Media interaction and how people thinking about “Brands as Friends” – until then, happy selling and do the right marketing.