DealerRater: The 3 P’s of Reputation Management

By Ryan Leslie

Deal­er­Rater wants to know: What is “Your Rep­u­ta­tion?”

No amount of mon­ey invest­ed with a Rep­u­ta­tion Man­age­ment ven­dor can undo the results of a pat­tern of poor cus­tomer expe­ri­ences at the deal­er­ship. There is no dis­tinc­tion between an online and offline rep­u­ta­tion, both parts make up the whole. As an exam­ple, the neg­a­tive online results of a “Bait & Switch” or “just get ‘em in” men­tal­i­ty in the store can’t pos­si­bly be man­aged by an out­side ven­dor because they are pow­er­less to fix the source of the prob­lem.

There are 3 P’s you need to con­sid­er when it comes to your dealership’s Rep­u­ta­tion Man­age­ment strat­e­gy:

• Your dealership’s rep­u­ta­tion is yours to Pro­tect:
You pro­tect your online rep­u­ta­tion in the store and in your dig­i­tal inter­ac­tions. Man­age­ment must set stan­dards for cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, online and off, and hold the team account­able to those stan­dards. The com­mon opin­ion — the way in which peo­ple think about your deal­er­ship — must be an inter­nal pri­or­i­ty worth pro­tect­ing.

• Your dealership’s rep­u­ta­tion is yours to Pre­serve:

You pre­serve your rep­u­ta­tion with a sol­id process to request reviews from your hap­py cus­tomers. You also pre­serve your rep­u­ta­tion by close­ly mon­i­tor­ing the reviews you receive, respond­ing to neg­a­tives, and address­ing any oppor­tu­ni­ties for improve­ment. Legit­i­mate neg­a­tive reviews often result from a break­down in process. Your store man­age­ment must hold your team account­able to your expect­ed stan­dards of per­for­mance.

• Your dealership’s rep­u­ta­tion is yours to Pro­mote:
Pro­mot­ing who you are as an orga­ni­za­tion starts in the deal­er­ship, it ALWAYS has! Long before the Inter­net era, who you are drove what you did and what you did defined who you are! The inter­net era has mag­ni­fied, and in some ways accel­er­at­ed the impor­tance of who you are as an orga­ni­za­tion to the con­sumer. Con­sumers rec­og­nize that they have a choice and they want to work with only the best. They can elim­i­nate you from their search based on the infor­ma­tion they find about you online. Your rep­u­ta­tion, what oth­ers think of you, is an impor­tant dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion between you and your com­peti­tors that are also vying for the customer’s busi­ness. It is wor­thy of your pro­mo­tion, both online and off.

You can nev­er out­source who you are. Any ven­dor involve­ment should be sec­ondary to your own. Some ven­dors pro­vide valu­able tools to help you strate­gi­cal­ly man­age your rep­u­ta­tion online, but at the end of the day, it is YOUR rep­u­ta­tion to Pro­tect, Pre­serve and Pro­mote.

Ryan Leslie, Direc­tor of Deal­er Rep­u­ta­tion Strat­e­gy, Deal­er­Rater can be reached at ryan@dealerrater.com.

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