Reputation Management Tools Raise Tom Wood Toyota Scion Profits

Brian Hefner tells a Cars.com success story

Rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment tools from Cars.com put the Indi­anapo­lis Tom Wood fam­i­ly of deal­er­ships in line to receive online reviews as cus­tomers share their expe­ri­ences and cre­ate cus­tomer loy­al­ty.

It’s not often a retail­er can claim more than 50 years in busi­ness, but at the Tom Wood fam­i­ly of deal­er­ships, a focus on three core val­ues – hon­or, integri­ty and loy­al­ty – has made them valu­able mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ties in which they oper­ate since the first Tom Wood deal­er­ship, Hedges Pon­ti­ac, was found­ed in Indi­anapo­lis in 1967.

The deal­er group has since expand­ed to 17 fran­chis­es through­out Indi­ana, Ken­tucky and Min­neso­ta, each with a strong rep­u­ta­tion built on pro­vid­ing excel­lent cus­tomer ser­vice and invest­ing in their local com­mu­ni­ties. With this sound foun­da­tion in place, Bri­an Hefn­er, Gen­er­al Man­ag­er of Tom Wood Toy­ota, and Diana Weaver, E-Com­merce Direc­tor, saw an oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring the store’s rep­u­ta­tion to life online. The pair incor­po­rat­ed process­es to encour­age cus­tomers to share their expe­ri­ences through online reviews and empow­ered their staff to cre­ate vocal advo­cates of the deal­er­ship.

See­ing an oppor­tu­ni­ty in pro­mot­ing their store’s reviews, Hefn­er and his staff dis­trib­ute post­card-sized hand­outs ref­er­enc­ing Cars.com, Google+ Local, Deal­er­Rater and Yahoo Local as a way to share their reviews with every­one that comes into the store – not just those who research the store online. The same hand­outs are also used after pur­chase to encour­age cus­tomers to share their pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence.

“I attribute 10 to 15 per­cent of our total sales each month specif­i­cal­ly to cus­tomers who came in after read­ing reviews,” said Bri­an Hefn­er, Gen­er­al Man­ag­er of Tom Wood Toy­ota Scion. “Anoth­er 30 to 40 per­cent are like­ly influ­enced.”

As a result, the store, which sells between 100 and 150 units per month, has seen dou­ble-dig­it growth in sales over the past two years and is among the lead­ing deal­ers in the region in terms of online review vol­ume and qual­i­ty.

In less than two years, the store has received over 700 reviews across mul­ti­ple plat­forms and is look­ing for­ward to con­tin­ued suc­cess thanks to a focus on recruit­ing the right peo­ple, train­ing them to suc­ceed and equip­ping them with process­es that work.

“It’s almost tak­en a life of its own,” said Hefn­er. “Like hand­ing over the keys to a new cus­tomer, we just know to do it now.”

Put Cars.com to work in your deal­er­ship. Learn more by vis­it­ing their web­site. Read the full case study here.

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