The process of buying a used car is a lot different than it used to be. No longer does it begin at the dealership. These days, it begins at home, with the buyer conducting online research to help identify the best car—and the best dealership—to meet his or her needs.
Along the way, buyers are as likely as not to encounter some online reviews for your used car brand…reviews posted to Google, Yelp, Facebook, and beyond. Naturally, these reviews can have a serious impact on the ultimate purchasing decision.
As your dealership navigates this brave new world of instant online criticism, here are a few things it’s essential to know.
What Your Dealership Should Know About Online Reviews
- Online reviews are going to happen. It might be nice if you could simply exempt your dealership from the online review ecosystem—to say you just don’t care to participate. That’s not really a viable option. Today’s consumers have plenty of opportunities to share their take on brands, products, and services, and they take those opportunities seriously. Have a mindset that your dealership will get reviews, and probably has already; use Google Alerts to carefully monitor your reviews.
- You can and should respond to reviews. When you get a positive review, take a minute to say thanks! And when you get a negative one, think through some prudent, customer service-oriented ways to respond. Don’t get mad or defensive; instead, offer a simple apology and ask how you can make things right.
- You can’t have reviews taken down—not even the really bad ones. Hopefully this won’t ever happen to your dealership, but a day may come when you get some feedback that seems especially belligerent or hostile. Unless it crosses the line into real harassment or inciting violence, you can almost never have these reviews taken down by Google; even when your feelings get hurt, the best approach is to show customer service and persuade the reviewer to think again about their comments.
- Even bad reviews can be an opportunity for your brand. When you receive comments from a disappointed buyer, that’s a good time to go above and beyond in making things right—showing to them and to anyone else who’s reading what high standards of service your dealership is capable of. Negative reviews can actually be a powerful branding opportunity, and a great way to earn consumer trust.
- Your dealership should actively seek positive reviews. When you have buyers who express satisfaction with their used car purchasing experience, make sure you ask them to leave you a review, and stress to them just how much it means to you. Don’t hesitate to send a quick follow-up email, too, again noting how much you’d like to receive their feedback.
The online review ecosystem has big implications for your used car dealership. To learn more, or to ask about effective dealer marketing solutions, reach out to the Get My Auto team today.