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Bad Reviews Killing You? Fix Them...If it’s Not Too Late!

Bad Reviews Killing You? Fix Them...If it’s Not Too Late!

According to six Gallup polls from 2012 to 2017, car dealers are rated just above politicians and just below insurance salesmen when it comes to Trustworthiness

According to six Gallup polls from 2012 to 2017, car dealers are rated just above politicians and just below insurance salesmen when it comes to trustworthiness. Basically, car dealers scrape the bottom of the barrel. It’s a sad fact but let’s face it, that’s been a reality for quite some time, well before Gallup even came into existence in 1935. The emergence of countless review sites and the leveraging strategy of these sites has made the Internet a vast wasteland of reputation wreckage that has had a major impact on used car dealers and new car dealers alike. It’s not just restaurants that feel the ire of irritated or pissed off patrons anymore.

Mix historic dissonance against car dealers with a bevy of bad reviews and you have a toxic cocktail that undoubtedly is poisoning countless dealerships across the country.

The fickle finger of fate is pointed in virtually everyone’s direction these days and whether or not the accusations of fiendish folly are true or not, businesses have to respond to all reviews and find a way to filter them pre-emptively. It’s not an and/or proposition.

First and foremost, let’s establish what acceptable review scores are. Any business with less than a 4.5 star rating gets a B grade. Anyone with a 4.5 and above is an A player. If your dealership is getting reviews in the 3 range you are failing as a dealership. For those dealers with a relatively low number of reviews, establishing a reputation management program could do wonders for their online visibility, reputation, and bottom line. Peer reviews are a major consideration for any car shopper moving forward with what for many will be the second most expensive purchase they may ever make. For dealers with hundreds of reviews and a relatively low average review score, the reparation may take years to take hold. But you have to start before you’re buried too deep to ever climb out of being perpetually known as a shyster.

Reputation Repair Begins with Any One of a Number of Simple Software Programs or Services

Social Ordeals is a reputation management company that’s been building reputations online for for several years now. They use a software program that generates a custom email that’s sent to customers querying them on their experience, and then prompts them to post a one to five star rating. If the response is 5-stars, they are asked to write a review and are then prompted to push those reviews to their social media profiles and review sites they have accounts with. What ensues is a top heavy influx of 5-star reviews across the web that eventually increases the average rating of that particular business. It does wonders for favorable visibility online.

The less than acceptable reviews (4-stars or less) are sent to an unpublished page that assuages the consumer’s desire to espouse their discontent and allows the dealer to respond accordingly to any sour grapes or sweet ones for that matter. All reviews need to be addressed, but only good ones need to be published. This system effectively filters out most negative reviews. Essentially it gives the dissonant consumer a platform in which to vent their discontent without independently posting on a site like Yelp where they control what gets posted and what does not.

Another company, Digital Media Nation , works with dealerships and takes reputation management and review generation to a higher and more involved level. This is called Reputation Marketing. On top of review requests, they also suggest staff pass out printed review cards and that dealerships have signage prompting the customer to post a positive review. An aspect of the Digital Media Nation approach that separates them from their competitors is the in-dealership training that they offer and the focus on social marketing through their Reputation Sensei program that turns best social media practices into a measurable ROI for the dealer and its customers. This hyper-awareness of the importance of positive reviews keeps staff on their feet and guards against complacency and the cardinal sin of receiving a bad review.

An aspect of the Digital Media Nation approach that separates them from their competitors is the in-dealership training that they offer and the focus on social marketing through their Reputation Sensei program that turns best social media practices into a measurable ROI for the dealer. This hyper-awareness of the importance of positive reviews keeps staff on their feet and guards against complacency and cardinal sin of receiving a bad review.

If your dealership is a victim of bad reviews, deserved or not, there is a mathematical way of calculating how long it may take you to see tangible uplift in your review score. Here’s a way of looking at that calculation.

If I have 20 reviews and I’m averaging a 4.1 review score, it will take approximately 17 5-star reviews to lift my dealership to an A rating of 4.5. This can literally be achieved in a few weeks. If you have 500 reviews and are averaging 4.1, it will take approximately 500 5-star reviews to lift you to an A-rated dealership. The time frame needed to lift your grade average to respectability is substantially longer when you’ve already built up an impressive amount of reviews. Since reputation management/marketing is an ongoing practice the average dealership, both new and used should look at this favorably. The more 5-star reviews you can generate the healthier your business will become.

In combination with positive social media posts that don’t “sell” gratuitously, an aggressive reputation management strategy, and top-gun lead follow up, any dealer can turn a reputation challenged business around. With every car buyer online, having a great review score is a priority.

For any questions regarding this kind of program, please feel free to contact me, Chris Montgomery at Social Ordeals , or Cary Greenberg at Digital Media Nation .

Kelly Kleinman