What Impact Do 3rd Party Dealer Reviews Have on Dealerships?

reputation_management22

The Sit­u­a­tion:

Rep­u­ta­tion Man­age­ment is a boom­ing indus­try – and now we can add AutoTrader.com to the grow­ing list of auto­mo­tive solu­tions providers who are includ­ing dealer reviews on their web­sites. Is this a good thing, or not so good?

AutoTrader’s Pres­i­dent, Sandy Schwartz said details of how the site will rate deal­er­ships are still being worked out. He also said Auto­Trader will likely blend rat­ings from mul­ti­ple review sites to arrive at an aggre­gate star rating.

“I feel we should be agnos­tic and have an open archi­tec­ture where a num­ber of rat­ings are used. I don’t think we should be tied to just one,” Schwartz said.

Andrew DiFeo, Hyundai of St. Augus­tine, FL, says: “We need bad reviews. It’s an odd thing, but it adds credibility.We also look at neg­a­tive reviews as a pos­i­tive. Reviews and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion sur­veys from the man­u­fac­turer can help diag­nose the prob­lem and help us fix it.

Key Issues for Deal­ers to Keep in Mind:

  • Recent research shows that Inter­net reviews can play a role in store selec­tion by car buyers.
  • The addi­tion of cus­tomer reviews is not sur­pris­ing – AutoTrader.com joins Cars.com, Cobalt, Deal­er­Rater and Domin­ion Solu­tions have already added dealer reviews to their websites.
  • The fact that Cars.com paved the way will likely make online reviews a stan­dard on third party clas­si­fied websites.
  • With any new review plat­form comes the poten­tial for neg­a­tive reviews to be posted, which is con­sid­ered part of nor­mal busi­ness operations.
  • Deal­ers should not fear that they will get a neg­a­tive review on Autotrader.com. Rather, the oppor­tu­nity for deal­ers is how they respond to neg­a­tive reviews, which often can turn into a win for the dealer.

Action­ables for Dealer Man­agers to Take Today:

  • Take a quick test to see the vis­i­bil­ity of review plat­forms, just search your deal­er­ship name and add the word “reviews” to the search.
  • It’s not just reviews (neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive) that count – it’s how you respond.
  • As the mar­ket for dealer reviews gains in size and pop­u­lar­ity, it might pay for your deal­er­ship to hire a trou­bleshooter to han­dle neg­a­tive reviews.
  • When your deal­er­ship proac­tively reaches out to a dis­sat­is­fied cus­tomer review, you can poten­tially gain a customer.

There are a num­ber of stud­ies that doc­u­ment the impact of reviews on con­sumer choice and one recent study by Volk­swa­gen in included in the orig­i­nal arti­cle. Also more good read­ing from Dale Pol­lak who talks about the pros and cons of dealer reviews, and the Cobalt blog with advice on proac­tive mea­sures in regard to Rep­u­ta­tion Management.

 

 

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