Your online reputation is one of the most critical factors in how much business you’ll receive.
Today’s customers check for online reviews and average ratings scores before doing business with any company. Considering you’re selling cars, the stakes are even higher for your reputation to be acceptable to customers when compared to a company selling clothes or a restaurant. You might think it’s challenging to manage your reputation and work to build it up, but it’s much more costly if you don’t address this business area. Here are some tips to help you out.
1. Create the Right Environment
It should go without saying, but we’ve all experienced bad service, grouchy clerks, and uncaring people in various retail spaces. Whether the cashier at the checkout counter spent the entire time ringing up your order talking to a coworker or you have been turned away for service you know the store offers, lousy service is everywhere. The only reason for anyone in the service industry to give less than satisfactory service is if the environment isn’t right. This comes from the leadership of your dealership. Are you creating the right environment and communicating that with your team regularly?
2. Negative Reviews Happen, How do You Respond to Them
No matter the language or forcefulness a negative review brings, you must respond to that review with professionalism and transparency. Being transparent means being completely honest. If you receive a negative review, respond to it quickly, appropriately, and with the same care you would want if you were on the other end of the study. Every negative review is an opportunity to win back a customer that has had a bad experience with your dealership.
3. Listening is a Huge Part of Your Online Reputation
Don’t you hate it when someone stops you midsentence and doesn’t allow you to finish your thoughts? Isn’t it frustrating when you ask a question and receive an answer to a different question because the other person assumes they know what you’re asking? Now, flip the script and realize that your customers are on the other side of this conversation. You want to listen to what they say and find an understanding that works for your customer.
4. Check Your Online Content for Polarizing Opinions
Even though you have opinions, views, and beliefs, your online content should not come through those things. Review your content regularly to ensure it’s not alienate any segment of your audience. As a car dealership, your job is to sell cars, but many of your customers also want to know that your organization is welcoming, inclusive, and philanthropic. These aspects of your business can be communicated without becoming polarizing.
5. Request Reviews from Satisfied Customers
It takes some timing, and sometimes you have to help the customer along, but positive reviews help bring your online reputation scores where you want them. Specifically, every review your company receives impacts the average review score. If you’re going to ask for reviews, make it as easy as you can for your customers. Allow it to be a one-click process where they can click a single link and be sent to the page to fill out the review.
6. Thank Your Customers Publicly
When your customers post an online review of the experience they’ve had with your company; you need to thank them. Do this right away and let your customer know you appreciate their business. Not only will this help build your positive online presence, but that customer might come to your dealership for service simply because they feel welcome and appreciated. It’s amazing how much a few nice words can mean to anyone, especially from a business. Thank your customers and do it publicly on the review page.
7. Don’t Do These Things
We all want to be liked, and we need our online reputation to be stellar for customers to do business with our dealerships, but that doesn’t mean you should stoop to shady tactics. Don’t pay for reviews, and don’t delete negative reviews of your company. When a customer sees that you have hundreds of reviews and they are all positive, red flags go up. When you pay for reviews, you’re essentially lying to your customers. Please don’t stoop to this level; it’s beneath you.
8. Use Your Blog to Communicate and Build Your Reputation
Your blog is a great way to improve your rankings in search engines and improve your reputation. If you’ve got an area of your business that some shoppers don’t seem to understand, post a blog explaining to them why you do business that way. This is often all it takes to help clarify your position and help build your reputation positively. The more you communicate, the better, and your blog can help make that happen for you.
9. Use the 20/100 Rule of Responding
You might think you need to respond to every review you receive, but as you receive more and more of them, this might become more difficult. You want to respond to 20 percent of the positive reviews and 100 percent of the negative reviews. Studies show that after receiving a reply to a negative review, 33 percent of customers subsequently posted a positive review or comment. This can be a massive boost for your online reputation.
10. You Built the Environment, Share the Reviews
The most significant contributor to your online reputation is the reviews received. If you foster the right environment at your dealership, you need to share your thoughts with your team. Share a few positive reviews regularly, especially if they mention some of your staff by name. With the negative reviews, if they name any of your staff, have a quiet, closed-door conversation with that team member and figure out what happened, so you know how to respond appropriately. Praise in public, admonish in private, and your team will continue to foster an environment of positivity for your customers to enjoy.
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