By Heather MacKinnon
A good online reputation is a win-win for the dealership and its employees. Below are five fundamental do’s & don’ts to heed if you want to build and manage online reviews as well as leverage an online reputation that enhances auto consumers’ interest in doing business with you:
• DON’T Dilute Your Reputation. Spreading reviews across too many third-party review sites can negatively impact a dealer’s reputation and result in a diluted and inconsistent distribution. Building reviews on review sites that appear further down in the organic search results (Page 2 and beyond) also heighten the organic placement for those sites and raise the visibility for unhappy customers to vent in the future.
• DO Focus on Review Content that Appears on Page 1 Search Results. Maintain focus on the handful of sites consumers see when searching for information about a dealership. Test these searches on your own by typing in the” Name of the Dealership” and also the “Name of the Dealership + Reviews” to learn what sites are impacting your dealership’s reputation.
• DON’T Ask Customers to Write Reviews in the Showroom. This practice causes consumers to question the credibility of the dealership’s reviews due to the leading nature of the process. Google and many other review sites track IP addresses and recognize this type of review as spam/fraud and will remove the content.
• DO Ask the Customer for a Verbal Commitment to Write a Review While in the Showroom or Service Department. Rely on Point-of-Sale Materials such as Rating Reminder Cards to obtain the verbal commitment and follow up by sending a simple reminder email day 1 or 2 after the visit that includes a link to the desired review site. Educate your sales and service sta‑ on the power of third-party reviews as strong referral tools that also index strong across the Web. Building employee buy-in drives more reviews for the dealership.
• DON’T Play it too safe when it comes to reviews. Begin by asking your satis ed customers to write a review for your dealership. However, acknowledge that too many positive reviews can call into question the credibility of the reviews.
• DO Insulate Your Dealer Reputation. Once you have accumulated 30–40 positive reviews, and insulated your dealership reputation, make reviews an integral part of our sales and service processes. Doing so will help you uncover and address any broken customer service processes within the dealership.
• DON’T Hide the Powerful Online Reputation You’ve Built. Be sure you are leveraging the positive third-party content in front of all unsold prospects. Be sure to mention your third-party reputation in all forms of advertisement — Online, Print, Radio and Television.
• DO Have a Strong Offense to Compliment Your Defense. Incorporating third- party reviews into your sales process is a very powerful way to win the con dence of a prospect and result in the consumer choosing your dealership over another. Feature third-party reviews on your dealerships website, Facebook and employee signatures.
• DON’T Fall Short in Monitoring Third-Party Reviews. It’s unlikely an individual — or a room of individuals — monitoring the Web would be able to keep up with all the potential consumers who post reviews or have conversations about your dealership.
• DO Monitor Review Content from a Central Location. New technology tools can save you time and provide you 360-degree online management and oversight across all major review sites from a single computer screen.