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Reviews and Raves: Making Customers' Web Reviews Work for You


Published on Dealer Trainer Jack Simmons shares best practices independent dealers can use to build a great online reputation. NIADA presentation handouts.

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Reviews and Raves: Making Customers' Web Reviews Work for You

  1. 1.   NIADA 2012 WORKSHOP:Reviews and Raves: Making Customers’ Web Reviews Work for YouJack Simmons, Dealer Training ManagerCars.comChicago, ILjasimmons@cars.com312-420-7933  
  2. 2.  4-Step Process to 5-Star ReviewsIndependent dealers have built their businesses on their reputations. From being activemembers of their community to building strong referral business based on providing excellentcustomer service, many independent dealers have mastered the art of leveraging theirreputations to drive more business.Much of the influence of word-of-mouth marketing has moved online, presenting a significantopportunity for independent dealers to take their success to a new level by managing theironline reputations just as’s Jack Simmons shares insight into how some businesses have leveraged the powerof consumer-generated content, such as online reviews and social media, to drive customerloyalty and grow their businesses – as well as some of the mishaps that provided valuablelearning experiences and even some opportunities to change course before it was too late.Dealers attending this session will take back to their dealerships proven strategies for turningsatisfied customers into influential advocates in four steps:  
  3. 3.  Do Reviews Really Impact My Business?  
  4. 4.  My Customer Reviews Process: Ideas for Area of Contributor/ Owner Tools CompensationResponsibility Support & RecognitionMonitor (e.g. Google Alerts) Sales: (e.g. spiffs)Respond (e.g.’s Service: My Dealer (e.g. RO bonus) Center)Ask (e.g. “How Did F&I: We Do” cards) (e.g. contests)Promote (e.g. website Administrative Staff: banner) (i.e. gift cards)  
  5. 5.  Free Monitoring Tools:Paid Monitoring Tools:   
  6. 6.  How To Set Up a Google Alert: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  1. Navigate your browser to 2. Enter your dealership’s name. 3. Choose what result types you would like to receive. Options include blogs, articles and video, but selecting “Everything” ensures you receive the most information. 4. Choose how often you would like to receive alerts. Internet Sales Managers and others with responsibility for responding to reviews quickly may benefit from receiving the information “As-it-happens,” while Principals may choose to consolidate their monitoring activity by choosing “Pnce a day.” 5. Choose how many results you would like to receive. “All results” is best. 6. Enter your e-mail address. 7. Create your Alert!  
  7. 7.  Treating Negative Reviews as OpportunitiesOne of the misconceptions about online reviews is that shoppers only write reviews whenthey’ve had a bad experience. Not true.Since launching Dealer Reviews in March 2011, the average review score for dealers reviewedon the site has remained steady at anywhere between 4.3 and 4.5 out of 5. Nearly 80 percentof the reviews have a rating of 4 stars or higher.Unfortunately, negative reviews happen. Addressed properly, however, they can presentopportunities that are just as valuable as positive reviews. In fact, a customer in NewEngland shared that the way they dealt with their first negative review actually resulted in asale.In his review, an unhappy customer related that he received an inappropriate response from asales manager to an online vehicle inquiry, and as a result, the customer gave the dealership arating of just 1 star. Rather than engaging in a public debate or simply ignoring the review, thesales manager reached out to the customer, taking the conversation offline to address thecustomer’s concerns and apologize. The sales manager ultimately earned a second chanceand won the customer’s business.The following represent a few simple tips for responding to reviews – both positive and negative– that can have a big impact on your online reputation:1. Have a game plan to monitor and respond to reviews. Know where reviews about your dealership are being posted, ensure that the responsibility of monitoring and responding to those reviews is assigned to someone within your organization, and set guidelines for how they should respond.2. Respond to positive feedback. We are sometimes so focused on resolving less-than- positive feedback that we forget to acknowledge the customers who advocate on our behalf. Responding to positive feedback shows that you are listening and are pleased they experienced the excellent service you strive to deliver.3. Acknowledge negative feedback publicly, but resolve the issues privately. Acknowledge negative feedback quickly by apologizing and indicating that you would like the opportunity to make things right. Doing this shows the reviewer, as well as current and future customers, that you’re listening and care about the service provided at your dealership. Don’t, however, try to resolve the issue online – you won’t win in a public debate. Take the issue offline by inviting the customer to call you to resolve the issue, or, if you’re able to identify the customer and have their contact information, reach out proactively, as our customer in the example above did.  
  8. 8.  Remember these key takeaways: • Monitor:  Have a system for listening to feedback about your store across the internet  Implement a process for notifying key stakeholders within the dealership • Respond:  Respond to both positive and negative feedback in a way that shows your commitment to providing great customer service.  Avoid a public debate by taking problems offline • Ask:  Train everyone at the dealership to ask customers two write reviews  Make it easy for customers to review your store by creating “How did we do?” cards and including links in your e-mail follow-up • Promote:  Reward reviews success within your store with spiffs and recognition  Share the great feedback your store receives from customers by posting reviews on your website and social media pages To download a copy of the slide presentation, visit