When Is a Bad Review Your Best Friend?

Many dealers I’ve come across still fear social media. In fact, some are petrified…and with good reason. The internet, in its vastness, exposes dealers who could once keep their customer service or sales imperfections on lockdown. The internet, and social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and online review sites, have transferred power from the dealer to the consumer.


Managing your marketing message can be a daunting task even without folks online revealing problems at your dealership. Dealers have been told time and again that they need to embrace the web and social media—but what happens when this amazing resource seems to turn on you?


Fear not. Welcome to the new way your customers respond to your products and services and welcome to the new way you manage these issues. Consumer driven reviews are inevitable, so dealers who adopt a strategy for handling online reviews will be able to turn this perceived liability into a source of growth.


The truth is bad reviews can end up being your best friend. A bad review is sometimes a result of a misunderstanding, but quite often can point to a hole in your dealership’s sales or customer service process. When you get a bad review online, it is best not to overreact. First, put yourself in the customer’s shoes.


•      Show respect—Look to find an acceptable resolution. Your goal is for the reviewer to eventually become an advocate based on the professional way you handled the problem.


•      Be direct—Long, drawn out explanations or excuses complicated the situation, show a lack of respect, and will hamper resolution.


•      Be nice—The customer is always right. If the dealership has made a stupid mistake, apologize for it and don’t make excuses. Do everything in your power to appease the concerns of the reviewer, giving weight and credence to the complaint.


•      Be a friend, not a salesperson—Sales today, and social media, are all about building and fostering relationships. Leveling the playing field will empower both of you to seek a resolution.


•      Turn around and address the problem—Use the experience to improve your customer service process. Do you think that everything is going right at your dealership? A bad review may be a sign that you should need to take another look.


Good reviews, on the other hand, can be a top generating lead source. Consumers are proven to engage with businesses that their peers have positive experiences with. Good reviews are valuable consumer to consumer advertising for your dealership.


Encourage your customers to submit reviews, either on your website, DealerRater, Yelp, or other online rating sites. Record a video testimonial from your happy customers. Doing so will make your dealership more transparent, and establish a level of trust between you and the consumer. Don’t fear online reviews. Joining and understanding the social media revolution will only bring good fortune to your dealership.


Mike DeCecco is the director of industry relations for Dealer.com If you have any questions about how today’s technology can make service marketing at your dealership more profitable, please email miked@dealer.com.




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