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

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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