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How to Get Started Managing Online Reviews

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According to our recently published DealerRater Guide to Online Reviews, dealers can grow sales, improve customer retention, and retain star salespeople by managing online reviews as a competitive asset. But how do you get started?

The answer is simple: start by understanding what your customers are saying about you.

Here are a few key steps to begin with:

  • Identify all the places where customers are talking about you online. These days, customers are relying on a variety of third-party resources (in addition to your own site) to post reviews. Google your dealership’s name and take note of which third-party review and inventory sites show up on the first page of search results.  These are the sites that will play a central role in shaping potential customers’ perception of your brand.
  • Monitor what customers are saying. Once you’ve identified the third-party sites that consumers will likely visit prior to visiting your dealership, prioritize your efforts on making sure you read every review posted about your dealership on these sites. Taking control of the review process means learning what people are actually saying about you – and your competition. Monitoring reviews will not only help you stay in touch with your customer sentiment but also uncover opportunities to improve your operations. As you monitor reviews, make sure you identify a mechanism to share that valuable customer feedback with your entire team. Make it a point to set up a frequent reporting mechanism so that everyone in the dealership learns. And identify a process for addressing “hot button” reviews or excessively negative reviews that require more immediate attention than others.
  • Respond to as many reviews – both positive and negative – as you can. Most major third-party review sites, such as DealerRater and Cars.com, provide tools for dealers to respond publicly to reviews. DealerRater Certified Dealers have the additional ability to respond privately.  Take advantage of these tools.  Responding to reviewers not only fosters a critical sense of lasting engagement with customers, but also gives you an opportunity to showcase the professional way in which your dealership addresses the occasional customer service issue.  Consumers realize that no business is perfect, and so a thoughtful public response to a negative review can turn out favorably for you.

Listening to reviews requires time and ongoing attention. You’ll probably want to assign the job to someone who has the time and skills to monitor and analyze reviews. And, needless to say, listening to reviews is not a manual process. Third parties such as DealerRater can help you manage your reviews as an asset. Contact us to see how we can help. Meanwhile, download our DealerRater Guide to Online Reviews in order to learn more about managing online reviews to win.