by Kathi Kruse
Your dealership is being judged everyday. It’s not just how your store looks inside or how your website sizes up against the next store down the road. Yelp, Google Plus and other sites are home to the fragments that make up your online reputation. Mastering the techniques of monitoring these sites is important but building your cache of reviews is no easy task.
Search engines are looking at your reviews too. They want to deliver the absolute best information to help users determine how you measure up against the competition. Embarking on a culture of capturing reviews benefits your business because is shows you’re committed to consistently building trust with the buying public.
Here are 6 savvy tips to help you achieve an extraordinary online reputation:
1. Look and Listen for the Opportunity to Ask. Many salespeople and service writers are in a unique position that only comes along once during the sales process. They spend hours with a customer and get to know them intimately. Help your staff be able to recognize the opportunities that only they are privy to. You can’t be all places all the time in your business. Develop your staff’s awareness around review opportunities and keep a steady stream of opinions coming your way.
2. Give Your Front-Line a Script. This is where training can really have an impact. When your staff starts asking your customers to share their experiences, give them a helping hand – a script. “Ms. Customer, our business is based on referrals. I would really appreciate it if you’d take a minute to go online and share your opinions with others. We’re trying to build our reputation online and your opinion matters very much to us.”
3. Make Writing a Review Easy. Don’t make your customer search for your online review profiles. When they leave the store, let them know you’d appreciate them sharing their experiences with others and hand them a card with your Yelp and/or Google Plus URLs. Launch effective email campaigns asking for their help and give them easy links to click on.
4. Foster Connections with Your Raving Fans. Every service writer and many salespeople have a list of those repeat customers who only want to work with them. Those “Raving Fans” are happy to oblige when you ask them to write a review because they’re eager to reciprocate the support you’ve had for them. Never underestimate the power of repeat customers. They’re your best shot at convincing others about your store.
5. Turn a Negative Review to Your Advantage. Negative reviews are part of life. No one expects pristine review profiles. In fact, if a user finds one “too perfect”, they consider it phony. It’s a good practice to respond quickly to any negative review. The next step is to personally reach out to the customer and use your already-existing conflict resolution process. By going through this process it shows that you actually pay attention to your reviews, reach out to your customer base, and provide service to unsatisfied customers. This is very reassuring for prospective customers and could be the deciding factor in choosing your store.
6. Engage, Engage, Engage. Remember: if you suck in real life, you’ll suck on Social Media. A culture of gratitude does not happen overnight. Take the time to engage with your happy, loyal customers – especially the ones who write reviews for you. Thank them for helping you. A simple comment goes a long, long way.
Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Author, Speaker and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. and can be reached via her contact page.