|by Ryan Kenny, Automotive Reputation Management Specialist|
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.
“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.
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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|About the Author|
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org..|
Welcome to Automotive Reputation Management for Car Dealers on WordPress.com. This blog is for your benefit in understanding the strategies and tactics that create an effective Reputation Management program for car dealers.
Here are my Top Ten favorite dealership review and rating sites listed in order of what I personally consider to be their desirability to have positive dealer reviews on them… In other words, if I had 100 positive reviews for my dealership and wanted to have ten of them posted to ten dealership review and rating sites, these are the ten sites i would choose:
The Video clip below was produced by PrestoReviews and is a great tool to use in meetings at your dealership for ensuring that people in your dealership’s management and leadership team understand how important having a Reputation Management Strategy is for every car dealership…
The following video was created and published by Checkered Flag Automotive as a means of driving additional reviews and ratings from their customers… I included this as a “Best in Class” example of a dealership encouraging their customers to post reviews about their experience at the dealership in the physical world, to the top review and rating sites in the online world:
Of the Ten Dealership Review and Rating sites I have listed, the only provider that allows dealership reviews to be executed by consumers while they are at the dealership (that I am aware of) is Presto Reviews. Scott Falcone and his team at PrestoReviews.com have built their entire model around dealers encouraging customers to post reviews while at the dealership and providing them with work stations to do so… Scott and his team at Presto Reviews encourages dealers to provide comfortable and quiet places with online access to sales customers while they are waiting to meet with a Finance Manager or complete the Finance and Insurance documentation, so they can post a review and rate their experience buying their new or used car that day… While it is still fresh in their minds, and while the dealership can still have an opportunity to correct any deficiencies reported. Presto reviews also encourages dealers to provide kiosks or other means for service customers to post online reviews on the dealership’s Presto Reviews site while at the dealership getting their car serviced.
One of the reasons I like the Presto Reviews model is that it fairly assures dealers that all reviews posted, moderated by the dealer’s Social Media Marketing Manager or Service Provider (if that service provider is worth anything at all), are from actual customers of the dealership and not nefarious individuals seeking to tarnish a dealership’s reputation for reasons outside of actually being one of their customers.
The other nine sites that I have listed in the beginning of this article each forbid reviews from being posted at the place of business. This is done to protect the integrity of the reviews from dealers who might seek to “stuff the ballot box” so to speak, and helps ensure that anyone with an axe to grind at that dealership can post a negative review without necessarily revealing their identity to the dealership.
Kudos to DealerRater.com for creating a validation process which allows DealerRater.com Certified Dealers to contact DealerRater users who have posted a negative review prior to that negative review being publicly visible. This allows each dealer to offer a resolution to each customer’s concern… And, if the customer is actually a bogus post, who does not come back to DealerRater.com to review the dealer’s offer within 5 working days, the dealer can request that DealerRater.com remove the negative review based on its high likelihood of being nefarious and posted by somebody other than an actual dealership customer.
Yelp goes so far as to have an Official Policy that strongly forbids incentives for customer reviews and highly recommends that dealers DO NOT ask customers to post reviews. In addition, Yelp’s technology is designed to recognize when a consumer is using a mobile device, and when that customer posts a review on their mobile device (at the dealership), Yelp holds the review as a “Draft” and will not let that review go live until the customer has reviewed, edited and resubmitted their review from a PC located at work or home… Of course, all of these measures make positive reviews for dealers on Yelp all the more attractive and valuable!
Tim lists the following Dealer Review and Rating sites as his most useful:
Google Local Business Listings
Other reviews sites Tim is aware of that show up in search for a dealership by name are: