How To Deal With Negative Reviews About Your Dealership

Image of Skip Soucie
Skip Soucie

Reviews are everything when it comes to swaying buyer's decisions. Research shows that 88% of people trust reviews like they trust personal recommendations.

Not only do buyers care most about what other purchasers have to say, Google does too. One of Google's most important ranking factors are reviews from reputable sources. The better and more abundant your reviews are, the higher you'll appear in searches - which means more clicks and more sales.

But all it takes is a few negative reviews to ruin the bunch. While not every issue can be avoided and some buyers may seem impossible to please, handling negative reviews in the right way can directly translate to thrilled customers, better SEO, and more sales.

Here's how dealerships should properly handle negative reviews.

Always Address Negative Reviews

Buyers want to feel heard, especially when they've have a negative experience. If they are upset and post a negative review, other buyers WILL see it. So the first step you need to take is to address the review.

If the review is a genuine mistake/bad experience a customer suffered from, addressing their review sincerely and attempting to rectify the situation will go MILES in both their eyes and the eyes of potential customers.

If the review is untrustworthy, fake, "trolling", or defaming, still respond! It's not about making them happy. It's about showing everyone you care enough to fix every issue possible. This is what wins over business.

Regardless of the accuracy or intent behind the review, start by addressing their issue. Then ask them to private message you so you can handle the problem personally with them.

Focus On Fixing Their Issue

Whether it's a genuine mistake, miscommunication, or unmet expectations (fair or not), get to the root of their issue. Upon doing so, evaluate what it will take to make it better.

  • If it's a genuine mistake, go above and beyond to fix it. This is one of the easiest problems to fix, even if it's not the cheapest. Remember to think of the bigger picture. You may lose a bit of money fixing the problem, but you're focusing on getting them to leave an amazing review that can win you more customers.
  • If it's miscommunication, break down where things went wrong and gauge what will satisfy the customer. Usually, the issue is that they didn't feel heard or valued. Communicating that you hear and understand them is most important, then evaluate whether you'll have to take further actions to delight them.
  • If it's unmet expectations, advocate for the customer to understand what they're asking is unreasonable (free service for nothing, clairvoyant service diagnostics, etc...). Typically, they'll either see they were being unreasonable, or they'll continue pressing those issues, in which case these reviews are more liable to be flagged and removed (more on this later).

When it comes to fixing the issues, follow these tips.

  • Own up to mistakes - If the service or sales department genuinely made a mistake, you've gotta bite the bullet and own up to it. It shows the customer you respect and value them.
  • Discount with discretion - Don't throw coupons or discounts at every problem. You'll end up wasting money or upsetting people who don't feel heard. Evaluate cost and responsibility or negotiate discounts for them amending their review.
  • You can't fix everything or everyone - Understand that some people can't be reasoned with. Some just want to yell. That's okay; just don't waste time on them once you're able to tell they're being ridiculous. Simply flag the comment and move on.

Remove Or Redo The Review If Possible

We have bad news and good news.

  • Bad news: you usually can't outright delete truthful reviews.
  • Good news: you are able to flag reviews that are untruthful, involve discrimination, or are simply harassment.

With this in mind, after you've taken the steps to delight your customer and rectify their frustrations, it's wise to privately ask them to delete their negative review.

This way your reputation and rating get's a boost.

Another clever tactic is to have them return to their previous review and update it with a positive review. A lot of prospects looking at your reviews will love an honest rating where a mistake happened, a customer brought it to your attention, and your dealership went above and beyond to make it right!

If they're unwilling to remove their negative review even after you've remedied the situation and requested its removal, there is still hope.

Check out these resources to learn how to delete negative reviews on your dealership's page!

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to remember is to focus on winning over negative reviews with amazing customer service. You want to create brand advocates, so turning a disgruntled customer into a delighted one will win you more business than you can imagine.

Doing this by addressing all negative reviews, fixing what you can, and turning negative reviews into positive ones will ensure your business has the best image and reputation possible, which all translates to sales.

Does your business have a strategy in place to handle negative reviews or comments? At Edifice, we specialize in automotive listings and reputation management.

To learn more, click the button below and reach out to indicate you're interested in learning about our services.

Contact us


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