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Customer Retention

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Reputation Management: What Do You Expect From Your Service Provider?

What Does Your Dealership Expect From Your Reputation Management Service Provider?

Ryan Kenny, Automotive Reputation Management Specialist by Ryan Kenny, Automotive Reputation Management Specialist

Excellent Good Bad Dealership ReviewsThere is a common misconception about the field of Reputation Management and companies that offer this product or solution.

Many business owners mistakenly believe that hiring a Reputation vendor will erase months, in some cases even years worth of unflattering reviews from 3rd party review sites without much in-store effort.

The truth is, anyone who tells you they can remove negative reviews and flood your 3rd party listings with 5 star reviews is either lying or potentially committing illegal and deceptive acts, which will eventually come back to haunt your business. Great reviews must be earned through implementing customer-centric business practices and training your staff on the importance of providing excellent service.

Many dealers find themselves unprepared when they discover they have negative reviews online and seek out the help of people, like me, to come in and “fix” their online reputation.

As a Reputation Management Specialist, the hardest part of my job is helping dealerships understand that removing negative reviews (if I had the ability to do so) does not solve the underlying issue that’s causing the negative reputation in the first place. 

Your dealership’s reputation and online perception is a product of your company’s culture and the business processes you currently subscribe to. While it’s true that not every review accurately represents the true circumstances that took place, your overall online reputation usually reflects how your store is performing, at least in the eyes of your customers.

Many reviewers go to great lengths to write long, detailed accounts of their experience at your dealership with their emotions and expletives firing in every direction. Instinctively, we become defensive and want to fire back. Part of my job is to help illustrate some of the valid points made by customers, especially if there are recurring complaints clearly not being addressed in store. The same way that our bodies use pain to tell us something is wrong, online reviews should be used to tell you something isn’t right at your dealership.

It’s important to recognize that the customer took valuable time out of their day to provide you with feedback so that you can improve your business.

Some dealers opt to use a Reputation Management vendor to deal with their online reviews so they can ignore the problem and go back to focusing on selling more cars. Reputation Management is not a turn-key Band Aid that will magically turn your store into a 5 Star dealership. Make no mistake, my company and countless others are more than happy to provide you with ongoing consultation, review monitoring and response coaching.

Yelp Dealership ReviewsBut contrary to popular belief, I don’t have a bat signal or top secret phone line to Yelp and Google to remove those pesky negative reviews on your behalf and neither does anyone else.

 “RepMan” providers truly are excellent tools for assisting in reactive reputation management.

 Anyone who genuinely wants to manage their reputation effectively while being able to take on the daily tasks of selling and servicing cars should utilize a reputation management service provider. But remember they are tools. Without the entire dealership fully engaged on a DAILY basis, your results will remain disappointing. It takes time, effort and determination on your part.

Albert Einstein Definition of InsanityMany dealerships do the same thing over and over again and expect different results when it comes to how they react and treat customer reviews.

Most consumers do not believe that it should take three hours to perform a basic oil/filter service.

If it does at your dealership, don’t be surprised when customers consistently gripe about it. Recurring complaints like these should be a signal that there are bottlenecks that need to be addressed. Sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the voice of your customers will only earn you more bad reviews. Those who are serious about earning a solid online reputation should take full ownership of it, get their entire staff bought in, and use a Reputation Management vendor as a supplemental tool to take your online reputation to the next level. Your store’s reputation starts with you!

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Learn more reputation management myths and insights, as well as some compelling data on the proven impact of reviews in the car-buying process.

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About the Author
Ryan Kenny, Automotive Reputation Management Specialist Ryan Kenny joined Cobalt in the summer of 2012 as a Reputation Management Specialist, bringing with him 15 years of Auto Industry experience working in various capacities at dealerships and automotive vendors. Ryan’s background is utilized on a daily basis as he works to improve the online reputations of his many dealer clients. Ryan holds degrees in both Business Administration and Automotive Marketing. You can reach Ryan at kennyr@cobalt.com..

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

What’s Your Return On Relationship (ROR)?

What’s Your ROR?

In almost every aspect of your dealership, you calculate ROI. Whether you’re looking at your ad spend, calculating labor costs or analyzing your digital marketing, the first, and last, thing you think about is ROI. How is my spending this money going to help me make more money? At times, we choose unwisely and discover that after the fact. Steps are then taken to rectify and adjust that money. However, ROI isn’t the only thing you should be considering.

Since as early as 2009, Ted Rubin has been using a concept called ROR: Return on Relationship™.

Return on Relationship™ (ROR), simply put, is the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship, whereas ROI is simple dollars and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing, and is used to define and educate companies, brands, and people about the importance of creating authentic connection, interaction, and engagement.”

According to Mashable, based on a study by Forrester Research, “70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends, but only 10% trust advertising…” Engaging your customers and connecting with them on an emotional level through genuine interaction will, over time, generate loyalty. A referral can bring a sale and also give you the opportunity to generate a loyal customer.

Building ROR isn’t always easy and certainly isn’t quick. Unfortunately, there’s an inherent distrust that exists between consumers and car dealers. As I wrote in a previous blog, being different makes a difference. You have to prove yourself to the customer over time and be consistent in your actions. Not only do you have to prove yourself to your current customers – whether that’s in your service drive or the customer sitting in front of you buying a car – but you also have to prove yourself to potential customers. These are the customers that are browsing the Internet reading review sites.  By being responsive to customer complaints and concerns, and doing so publicly on these sites, you will show these potential customers that you care and be one step closer to earning their business before you even knew there was business to earn.

Here are a few things you can start doing to build ROR in your dealership.

  1. Be genuine – People can tell whether you are being patronizing or are genuinely sympathetic to their needs, wants or concerns. Pay attention to what a customer is telling you and respond in a genuine manner. Do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer no matter how difficult they may be to deal with.
  2. Recognize Your Customers – This actually covers two types of recognition. The first being that you make an effort to get to know them. There’s nothing that impresses consumers more than walking into any business they frequent and being greeted by name. This simple thing instills a feeling of gratitude and makes a customer feel important. The second is the recognition that involves giving back to them to thank them for their business. This can be accomplished through special offers for frequent customers or through loyalty programs. There’s no better way to thank your customer for their business than by rewarding them.
  3. Empower Your Employees – You can’t be everywhere at the same time. I’ve written about this before and shown how the most successful companies allow their employees to be problem solvers when an issue with a customer arises. Trust your employees to resolve the problem immediately rather than making them jump through hoops. Someone I know shared that in their dealership, nobody answers the phone with the standard “Hi, thank you for calling X dealership, this is Bob, How can I help you?” but rather they altered their greeting to say “Hi, thank you for calling X dealership, I can help you.” This simple transformation of a word track lets the customer know that they aren’t going to be transferred a million times to get their problem solved. The employee who answers that call is tasked with staying with the customer until either their problem is solved or they are connected with the appropriate person.

Building loyal customers is not unlike building a house. You need the right materials and a strong foundation. By doing it properly, you can weather any storm that comes your way.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Mike Gorun: Your Online Reputation Is Hurting Your Customer Retention: 6 Tips To Create Customer Loyalty and Maintain Your Online Reputation

Your Online Reputation Is Hurting Your Customer Retention: 6 Tips To Create Customer Loyalty and Maintain Your Online Reputation

 

Your Online Reputation Is Hurting Your Customer Retention: 6 Tips To Create Customer Loyalty and Maintain Your Online Reputation

Statistics show that a customer who has a good experience will tell 4 to 5 people. However, a customer who has a bad experience will tell more than 20. In addition, they will usually leave a negative review to go with that word of mouth to leave a permanent finger pointed at your dealership in a bad way.

Maintaining your online reputation is crucial to new customers and previous customers deciding whether to make you their choice. If you don’t manage complaints and deal with them effectively, you are losing what could be a loyal customer and preventing prospects from ever becoming loyal customers.

But maintaining that reputation doesn’t start online, it starts at your dealership with each and every customer.

Here are 6 Tips to Maintaining a Great Online Reputation:

         1.    Have someone assigned to monitoring your review sites.

It is important to know what is being said about you in the digital world. By knowing when a negative review is posted, you can have someone handle the complaint immediately, and hopefully have the customer revise their complaint into a compliment, (preferably BEFORE anyone sees the complaint).

        2.    Know How to Handle Complaints.

Everyone in your dealership should be able to “manage” their own complaints. If you are the only one equipped to handle complaints, this may monopolize your time, thus eliminating the time needed for planning, strategizing and development your department and your dealership.

        3.    Prevent Negative Reviews with Great Follow-Up.

A follow-up phone call should be made to each and every customer 24 hours after their purchase or service visit to make sure that they are completely satisfied. It is important that the person making these calls have the authority and knowledge to handle complaints and who to assign a customer to should they need to return. Having a minimum wage college student handle this for you may actually cause more miscommunication and dissatisfaction in the long run. Put someone in place that understands how a dealership runs and has a strict guideline for how to handle a complaint.

       4.    Give Great Customer Service.

I know this one should be a given, but I want to emphasize that great customer service includes knowledge, honesty, quality and sincerity. You can’t just put a smile on your face and expect people to worship you. You have to know your product so that you can answer their questions and gain their trust. Be sincere and let them know that you are there to help them, not rip them off. When you are not sincere, it shows and makes the customer leery.

        5.    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for a Positive Review.

A lot of customers don’t even know that you have a review site or even think to post a review unless they are upset. Asking a satisfied customer to post a quick comment about why they love your dealership will give your online reputation a huge boost. Whoever you have making your follow-up calls could request this, or if you have a follow-up email created to go out to customers you could include a link in the email to make it easier for the customer. But it is important that if you include this in an email that you give the customer the option to voice a complaint. This can be a link that will allow them to submit a complaint to the General Manager. Otherwise, only having a link to POST a review could lead to more damage.

         6.    Know How to Handle a Negative Review.

When a negative review is posted, you need to do damage control and FAST. Before you contact the customer, do your research.

  • Who was the advisor and technician or salesperson?
  • What did they purchase or what service did they have done?
  • Will they need to return to the dealership?
  • How long have they been a customer?

When you contact the customer you should know and anticipate what they will say, want and need. Your ONLY goal should be to please that customer, not defend your dealership.

 

In conclusion, by preparing for complaints and negative reviews and knowing what to do to prevent negative reviews and unsatisfied customers, you will be able to proactively manage and build your online reputation to secure a life long supply of loyal customers.

We would like to know what strategies you have in place to build your online reputation and what you would recommend to our followers. What have you done to build your online reputation?

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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