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.”