6 Tips To Create Customer Loyalty and Maintain Your Online Reputation


By Mike Gorun

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:

• 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).

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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. For exam­ple: 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?

Read the orig­i­nal arti­cle by Mike Gorun, Man­ag­ing Part­ner and CEO of Per­for­mance Loy­alty Group, a divi­sion of Media Trac . He can be reached via the con­tact page