Social media is no longer about getting more likes and followers. Rather, it is about engaging and appealing to your past, present and future customers; building long-term relationships and ultimately attaining more business.
Buyer behavior has changed. Now car buyers are more informed about their next car purchase before they even get to your dealership. Today they’re turning to Facebook and review sites like Google+, Yelp and Cars.com to learn about other customers’ experiences at your dealership to see if you’re a good fit for them.
With the internet at our fingertips, online reviews are just a click away. Satisfied customers may rave about their experience; however, people are more likely to lash out after a negative experience and unfortunately, bad new travels fast. Paying attention to your online reputation is extremely important and having a response plan is key.
To help with your responses to these online reviews, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Thank the customer by name.
First, it is important to thank the customer by name. Even for negative reviews, you want to thank them for taking the time to leave their feedback. All feedback is valuable and by being polite, you have the opportunity to change the customer’s opinion.
Personalize your response.
Cookie cutter responses do nothing to ease the customer’s frustration. Instead, address each of their points to show you are listening and genuinely care about the issue. This is also a good time to give them a point of contact. This helps take the conversation offline and offer them more reassurance that you are there to help.
Always offer an apology.
Whether right or wrong, always apologize. Expressing compassion and understanding shows that you strive for satisfaction and are truly sorry for letting them down.
With that being said, here are a few things you want to be sure to avoid:
Paying someone or creating anonymous accounts to write positive reviews.
Believe it or not, some businesses create fake profiles and leave fake positive reviews for their own business in order to boost their rating. This can actually harm your business. Instead, if you know your customer had a great experience, encourage them to share their experience by leaving a review online.
Fueling the fire.
Upon receiving a negative review, you may get angry and want to respond with a snarky or sarcastic remark. However, showing your anger and firing back adds fuel to the fire and may lead to a chain of negative comments and in return turn away new customers. The best way to handle this is to remain calm, apologize and ask them to contact you offline to further discuss the situation.
Ignoring the customer.
The most important thing to remember is to not ignore a review. This is especially important when it comes to negative reviews. If you do not respond to the customer, it looks like you do not care. Instead, reassure them that you are sorry and hope you can make it up to them. This not only makes the angry customer feel better, but shows prospective customers that you are always there to help, even after they leave the dealership.
Here is a great example how a positive online reputation led these customers to a specific dealership and left with more than one car:
“We came in with our mother told Beethoven what we wanted and that we were looking to buy 3 vehicles. Of course we did our shopping around found out he was being truthful and gave us a price no would beat. The days later myself mother and father left with new cars.”
The dealership responded by addressing the customer, thanking them and inviting them back:
“Hi Morton, thank you for the positive review. We are so glad you and your parents had a great experience and hope they love their new vehicles. If there is anything more we can help you with, do not hesitate to stop by or give us a call.”
Due to a great experience, some customers come back time and time again, like this customer:
“Our experience at this Jeep 24 has been nothing but the best. We have purchased 3 Jeeps from them in the past two years, soon-to-be 4. I'm met Brenden a few years ago when I was just cruising the lot looking to see what they had. He was very understanding when I told him I was just looking. There wasn't any pressure from him. He didn't try to force me into a vehicle I didn't want and he answered all of my questions! One of the best salesman I've ever dealt with!"
The dealer responded by thanking them for their loyalty:
“Hi there, thanks for the 5-stars! We are so glad you've had great experiences with Brendan and truly appreciate you returning to our dealership. We look forward to seeing you again!”
This final example shows how a negative comment can turn into something positive. Here, the customer was actually leaving negative feedback about another store:
“#buyerbeware. We bought a #2016JeepCompass, And the dealership made a mistake, they charged us our down payment and rebate before financing us. It has been 5 weeks now!! No one has corrected it!! they have been lacking in even returning my calls!! [website to another dealership] #AngryJeepCustomer”
Rather than removing the comment or ignoring the customer, the dealership decided to respond. Here is what happened:
Dealership: “Hi M.J., we are sorry for your troubles; however, CJDR 24 is not associated with that dealership. We wish you the best of luck.”
Customer: “Best Response so far. You Must have a wonder team there. I have gotten ugly ones from others. This is the nicest thing said. Pay Attention People this is the kind of dealership you want to go to!”
This goes to show that by responding, being kind and showing you care, you have the chance to change a perception about your business. Remember, when crafting responses to both positive and negative reviews, you have the opportunity to gain a new customer or better yet, a customer for life.
Need some help? Full Throttle’s Reputation Management team is here for you.
Thanks for reading, now time to get social!