Did you know that car shoppers are 90% more likely to visit your website and 5.3 more likely to visit your dealership if you have positive dealership reviews online? The study, conducted by DealerRater and Dataium, clearly reveals that dealer reviews have a strong impact on shopper behaviors.
Industry statistics also reveal that 7 out of 10 auto shoppers believe that online dealership reviews are either a “very” or “extremely” important part of their research process. Consumers will read an average of 10 reviews about your dealership and online reviews are almost essential to attract the millennial consumer. 81% of consumers age 18-34 say they seek opinions through online reviews before purchasing any product or service, according to a recent report from Mintel.
As auto shoppers do more online research and engage with social peers before making a decision to head into your dealership, online reviews can be gold. Dealerships are utilizing digital channels such as email marketing, digital advertising, social marketing, and online content to build brand awareness. But when it comes to the final decision of which dealership to actually visit, positive online reviews can be the deciding factor in tipping the scale in your favor.
Here are 5 tips to improve your dealership’s online reviews.
1. Deliver Amazing Customer Experiences
This is of course is the ultimate rule to receiving positive reviews. Consumers are using more digital connections when shopping for products and services. Because human interactions are occurring less frequently, be sure to optimize the experience across digital channels.
Consumers expect a seamless experience, whether they are online, calling your customer service department, or visiting your dealership. When you do get a consumer into your dealership, make sure your customer service is a five-star experience that your customers will rave about. When you deliver a great experience, a survey by American Express found that happy customers tell an average of nine people about their experience.
2. Ask For Reviews When Consumers Are Most Likely to Leave Them
While unhappy customers can’t wait to leave a negative review, your satisfied customers may need a bit of encouragement. According to a survey by Cars.com, consumers leave reviews most frequently during business hours. 52% of dealer reviews were posted on Cars.com on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, between the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM.
Since consumers are more inclined to leave reviews during these time frames, send out requests for reviews to correlate with these peak hours. Happy consumers are also less likely to leave a review than dissatisfied consumers so a friendly request during these times will increase the chances of getting more reviews.
3. Respond to Reviews
The Cars.com survey revealed that only 33% of dealerships respond to reviews. Companies that do take the time to respond have higher response rates and better levels of engagement.
According to the research, “Dealerships in Delaware have an average response rate of over 60 percent (the highest in the US) – and enjoy aggregated ratings of 4.7 of 5; while South Dakota dealerships, which collectively only respond to reviews at a rate of less than 10 percent, have lower ratings with an average of 3.9 of 5.”
4. ALWAYS Respond to Negative Reviews
You won’t be able to please all of your customers all of the time so be ready to follow up on negative reviews. Consumers who have had a bad experience want to be heard and swift attention will mitigate damage.
Be sure you are monitoring review sites and social channels, especially during weekend hours. Negative reviews are 19% more likely to be written on a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday after a bad weekend experience and you don’t want these complaints to slip through the cracks. Remember, consumers will pay attention to positive reviews but will also pay close attention to negative reviews to see how the problem was handled.
5. Implement an Online Review Management Process
Consumers have easy access to dealership review sites so be sure you have a process in place to monitor these third-party sites. There are a host of sites that you must continually monitor, such as Cars.com, DealerRater.com, Edmunds.com, and Google+ to name a few. Dealer review monitoring services can also be implemented to help you keep tabs on each of these sites. Just be sure to keep on top of what consumers are saying to protect your reputation.
Auto dealerships can fail or succeed based on customer satisfaction. Online reviews and ratings have a great impact on your dealership. Be sure you aren’t ignoring this valuable strategy to nurture your business and grow your customer base. And by doing so, you can promote your good work by marketing your reviews to gain more appointments and future sales.