Auto Dealers: 6 Savvy Tips for Remarkable Online Customer Reviews

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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.





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