Increase Your Dealership's Traffic By Managing Your Online Reviews

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Hale Soucie

Shoppers spend more and more of their time online every year before ever making their way into a dealership. This has made managing your online presence more important than ever before.

One of the most important things to keep track of is your online reviews. Reviews have played an increasingly important role in customer’s purchasing decisions. A recent consumer survey noted a dramatic shift in the actions shoppers take after reading positive reviews.

17% of customers now visit the business after reading a positive review – a huge jump from 7% in 2016.

In addition to improving your online presence, positive online reviews have now become an important source of foot traffic. While getting more people to review your business is simple enough, (68% of shoppers surveyed said they reviewed businesses when asked to in person) managing and replying to these reviews can seem like a head-ache to some dealers. That’s why we put together these simple step-by-step guides to replying to positive and negative reviews about your dealership to get more customers off the internet and into your dealership.

The Good

So why should you even respond to a good review if the customer is already satisfied?

30% of consumers said that whether or not a business replied to reviews was key when judging that business. Not only does replying to a positive review solidify your relationship with your customer and inspire loyalty, it is important to remember that when you reply to any review your potential future customers will read it is as well.

Because it is such an important part of managing your online presence, it’s good to have a game plan when responding to positive reviews:

Replying to Positive Reviews

1. Specifically thank the customer for the positive review.

Being specific lets the customer know that you’re not a bot and took the time to reply. “Thanks for your review, and letting us know how Mike took care of you today. We take pride in all members of our sales team!"

2. Use the business name and keywords in your review response.

Using the business name, category and location in your response will help the review and reply to show up in search results. “The team here at [Dealership Name] is thrilled to hear such good feedback, and is always happy to connect with our customers"

3. Add a little marketing or a simple reminder for service to re-engage the customer.

Your reply is public and will be read by others, including future customers, so throw in some marketing! Don’t overdo it, just offer it as a helpful suggestion. “Don’t forget to come back and have your [model] serviced by our skilled technicians on your next service date. We provide [oil change or other incentive].”

It’s as simple as that.

The Bad

Negative reviews can do quite a bit of damage to a dealership’s reputation, and in turn, their business. Even worse than a bad review though is one that is ignored. It is important to remember that your response to a bad review is not just talking to the reviewer themselves. You’re speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers.

Replying to negative reviews gives you the chance to win that customer back over, as well as show future customers that you care about your shoppers’ experience. When dealing with negative reviews it is important to respond quickly and strategically:

Replying to Negative Reviews

1. Apologize and be sympathetic in your response.

Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Even if they are unfounded, show sympathy that they had a bad experience. “I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience.”

2. Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review.

Explain what your customers usually experience. “We’re normally known for our exceptional customer experience, and we regret that we missed the mark.”

3. Move the conversation offline.

Provide contact info with someone at the business so they can discuss the problem in person. “My name is [name] and I am the [Owner / Manager]. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me at [phone number / email].”

Step 4: Keep your response simple, short and sweet.

Don't go into too much detail or ask any questions. This will prevent saying something that might cause the upset customer to add more negative feedback by replying to the review. Three sentences for your whole reply is a good rule of thumb.

Important: Don't include the business name or relevant search keywords.

You don’t want this review showing up in search results!

While negative reviews might feel like a personal attack it is important to keep a level head. Some customers simply can’t be satisfied due to unreasonable expectations, but sometimes - even in the best dealerships - mistakes can happen. Replying sympathetically and trying to solve the problem gives you another chance at the customer and shows future customers that you care and tried to satisfy their complaints.

Managing and replying to your online reviews is a great way to grow relationships with your past and future customers while also keeping a finger on the pulse of your customer’s experience at your dealership.

We hope that this guide has been a useful resource for you. If you have any questions or want to discuss how Edifice can help you win more customers, click the button below and an Edifice representative will reach out to you within one business day.

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