In the competitive field of automotive sales, any tactics you can use to set yourself apart from your rivals are welcome. One tool that you might already have at your disposal, but is currently under-utilized, is online business reviews. On their face, they might not seem like much, but they can help improve customer trust, boost your standings in local SEO, and help you stand out among the many dealerships in your area. Below are eight business review tips that will help give your business the upper hand.

Why Car Dealer Reviews Are Important

Reviews are one of the first impressions your car dealership makes on prospective customers. Having a solid review strategy is the key to boosting your credibility and reputation among your local community. You should aim to gather, respond, and show off positive dealership reviews to boost your dealership’s reputation! By collecting customer reviews for your local dealership, you are helping your local business jump toward sustained success.

Understanding Positive & Negative Reviews

While it may not seem like it at the moment, both negative and positive reviews bring in potential customers and increase dealership rankings, positive reviews serve as an endorsement for your business by boosting dealership ranking and attracting potential clients. Negative reviews, while daunting, can help you by offering insights into your dealership. While you can’t always avoid negative reviews, you can use them to your advantage by using them as feedback.

What affects your ranking?

Different factors and metrics may impact your dealership’s reputation in your local community. Some of these metrics include:

  • Customer Engagement: Building strong relationships and raising customer satisfaction requires active consumer engagement, both online and offline. You may foster loyalty and confidence among your clientele by delivering great service, immediately answering inquiries, and providing tailored support.
  • Review Frequency: Reviews are a good metric of how satisfied customers are with your dealership. In addition to showcasing your dedication to high levels of customer service, encouraging clients to submit reviews regularly increases your reputation and exposure on search engines.
  • Overall Rating: The overall rating of your dealership provides a quick overview of its standing and level of client satisfaction. To draw in potential customers and stand against the competition, you should aim to maintain a high rating through consistent positive reviews.
  • Online Presence: The visibility and reputation of your dealership are directly impacted by how accessible it is on social media, review sites, and search engines such as Google. You can connect with more customers and build positive reviews of your car dealership by maintaining an active and steady online presence.

By using these dealership review management tools, you can streamline your review management process, and increase your dealership’s reputation within the automotive market.

Training Your Staff On Maximizing Positive Reviews

Training your dealership staff is essential to maximize positive reviews and enhance customer satisfaction. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Communication: Ensure that your staff members are trained to communicate effectively with customers, both in-person and online. Clear communication can greatly impact the customer experience and contribute to positive reviews.
  • Management: Train your staff to manage customer expectations and address any concerns from your customers. Empowering them with the skills to handle difficult situations professionally can turn potentially negative experiences into positive ones.
  • Wait Times: Minimize customer wait times by optimizing your dealership’s processes. Not only do short wait times make customers happier, but they also make it less likely that customers will leave bad reviews.
  • Honesty: Emphasize the importance of honesty and transparency in all interactions with customers. Encourage your staff to provide accurate information about products, services, and pricing, as dishonesty can ruin trust and lead to negative reviews.
  • Pricing: Make sure that your staff is trained to provide transparent pricing information to customers. Hidden fees or unexpected costs can lead to unhappy customers and negative reviews, so it’s essential to be honest about your dealership’s pricing.

By making training in these key areas a priority, you can give your employees the skills and information they need to give great customer service and get as many good reviews as possible for your local dealership.

1. Ask for business reviews.

This might seem too obvious, but the best way to increase the number of online business reviews for your dealership is to just ask. The odds are your happiest customers might not think to leave a review, but if you prompt them to do so by asking – especially if you make the process as painless as possible – they most likely will oblige.

2. Make it easy.

The second best way to secure business reviews is to make it easy – not just for your customers to fill out, but for your salespeople to send. Using an online review management platform like the one offered by Podium gives you the best of both worlds. It enables invitations to be sent via text message, while also allowing your customers to fill out a review via whatever review platform they already have access to, eliminating many of the barriers that previously existed.

3. Engage reviewers.

It’s important to maintain an open line of communication between you and your customers. And what better way to show that you are listening and care about customer feedback than responding to online reviews? This is especially important for negative reviews. To effectively respond to a customer who has had a bad experience you should first and foremost apologize. Then follow up with a proactive way to right the wrong. This will show that you value feedback and are willing to take action when someone has a bad experience.

4. Repurpose reviews.

Businesses that aren’t utilizing their online reviews across the entire marketing mix are missing out on a huge opportunity. Savvy businesses are using online reviews in print, on their blogs, across their websites, and even on billboards. Just because these business reviews originated online doesn’t mean they have to stay there.

5. Increase reach with local SEO.

Online reviews can dramatically impact a business’ positioning in local SEO. Generally, a business that meets Google’s algorithm requirements can appear in the Map Pack. According to Moz, it is estimated that review signals like review quantity, review velocity, and review diversity makeup about 8.4% of Google’s total local search algorithm.

6. Build trust & loyalty.

Right or wrong, car salespeople sometimes get a bad rap, but much of that can be mitigated by positive online reviews. According to BrightLocal, 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Because of this, online business reviews can go a long way toward building consumer trust as they decide which dealership to give their business to.

7. Gain real-time insights.

Online reviews can help you make more educated business decisions because you will be receiving up-to-date information about your operations and in turn your employee performance. With Podium, your business’ feedback process is seamless, instant, and informative. Stop the guesswork and get the ability to see and report on every review your business gets in real-time.

8. Dealership Review Management Tools

When it comes to boosting your dealership’s online reputation, technology can be your best ally. Here’s how using simple tools can help:

  • Easy Review Requests: With platforms like Podium, asking customers for reviews becomes a breeze. You can send review requests via text, making it convenient for happy customers to share their experiences.
  • Keep Track of Reviews: These tools allow you to keep tabs on all your online reviews in one place. This means you can quickly respond to feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, and show your customers that you’re listening.
  • Get Reviews Automatically: Set up automated review requests with Podium’s review tool, so you can consistently collect fresh reviews without lifting a finger. This keeps the flow of feedback steady and helps you build a strong online reputation over time.
  • Understand Your Performance: Review management tools provide valuable insights into how your dealership is performing. You can track metrics like review volume and sentiment to understand what’s working and where you can improve.

By using these simple tools, you can make it easier for customers to leave reviews, stay on top of feedback, and ultimately boost your local dealership’s reputation!

Max Steckler
Max Steckler Head of Strategic Automotive Partnerships

Max Steckler, is an auto professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects auto dealerships and businesses with their customers.

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