Online Repuation Management

Auto Dealer Online Reputation Management


73% of car shoppers consult online dealership reviews before making a purchase, making your online reputation more important than ever.


Yes, more than your website, more than your Facebook page – ratings and comments about your dealership written on review sites like Google, Edmunds, Yahoo! Local, CitySearch, Yelp and are the new word-of-mouth AMPLIFIED, and the building blocks of your reputation. In the world of social media, what people are saying about you online carries the greatest weight.


90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust unknown users; 27% trust experts; 14% trust advertising.


While online reviews may not be the most polished writing — there will be mistakes and o! the wall comments that can make it easy to take them lightly at times.




Remember, online reviews ARE the building blocks of your reputation .


55% of U.S. consumers believe strongly  that online consumer reviews and ratings influence their buying decisions more than any type of online advertising.


Potential Customers see reviews before they see your website.


70% of online searchers will use local search to find offline businesses.


When a potential customer gets his or her Google Search Results, how many pages will they look at before clicking through to a dealership?


Most customers will only read the first page, and this includes both the regular search results and the places search results that are displayed on the Google map.


Your total number of reviews and your ranking both impact where you are displayed in these Google results.


In addition,your Google+ Review Ranking is displayed right in the search results.


It’s the first thing customers see before ever seeing your website or your inventory. When you look at your Google+ ranking, is that the first impression you want to leave with potential customers?


How much time do you spend making sure your dealership is clean and presentable?

You should spend the same effort on your online reviews.

Online reviews are extremely influential.


More than 80% of car buyers now do research online before heading to a dealership.

More than half of those potential customers are consulting a review site—43-45%.

And almost half of those, 21%, admit to changing their dealership selection based on online reviews.

1 in 5 people who visited review sites chose a competing dealership based on online reviews.


This loss can add up. The average American purchases 10-12 vehicles in a lifetime. That adds up to $500,000 in revenue—vehicle purchase, accessories and services—from a single loyal customer.


The web community is a Community with a capital “C” and surprisingly trusting of one another.

People tend to believe what they read online. Which is remarkable, since there is little to no fact checking on the internet.

And more than a little scary since online reviews are the new word of mouth AMPLIFIED.


You could be losing hundreds of customers and millions in revenue based on unmanaged online reviews.

Is ignoring your online reviews worth that?

Each of the review sites order their reviews and comments differently .


Some reviews may order chronological. Others sites weight the “quality” of the reviewer. They do this both to rank and insure that reviews are authentic and not fake.


Then there is the A word—Algorithm. Sites like Google and Yelp eliminate fake reviews by using algorithms that constantly change. Keep up with all the changes by setting up an alert on the keyword “Google algorithm changes” or “Yelp algorithm changes.” Google just integrated “Places” into their new local social product Google+ Local.

There are lots of discussions around how review sites monitor reviews for fraud. At this time, Google has publicly said they are not monitoring IP addresses, therefore for Google reviews, dealerships can collect reviews inside their facilities.


Steps to Generating More Online Reviews


Most are ready, willing and able—Because if your dealership has strong sales and service departments, 90% of your customers are usually very happy! Many would be delighted to write an online review, if only you would ASK.


Asking for reviews is critical. Most dealerships have few or negative online reviews because the only customers that make the effort to review them are those with a gripe who want to tell the world how unhappy they are.

Unfair since 90% of your customers are very happy with your dealership.


Quick Tip: The best person to ask these happy customers is their sales or service person. They have already forged a trusting relationship throughout their engagement.


Asking that happy majority to speak their minds is KEY to a more accurate picture of your dealership online.

Put a link to review sites on dealership computers (or an iPad) and encourage customers to write reviews while they’re in the dealership waiting for service or sales delivery.


Place a “review us” ad module on the front page of your website.


Integrate the review link into a Thank You follow up e-mail—a good option if your dealership has a goal of getting customers in and out as quickly as possible.


Give customers a “Review Us” card as they leave the dealership.

Post signs or table-top displays with a link to the website with the “Review Us” module and / or a QR Code that will take the user directly to the review sites.


Ask Service Department Customers to Write Reviews -It’s a huge opportunity—you typically have 5 times more customers coming through your service bays than your sales center on a given day.


And many of those customers are waiting for their car or a ride.


Use the time— Maximize the opportunity by asking ALL your customers— Sales and Service—to fill out online reviews.

Track online reviews and reward employees who generate reviews.


Make online reviews a part of employee’s incentive plans.

Train your employees on how good personal online mentions serve as a virtual referral program, increasing his/her overall success through lucrative word of mouth referrals.


Set up Google and Yahoo! alerts based on keywords including your dealership name, location, vehicle names and brands,and other relevant keywords. Every time these selected keywords are mentioned you will receive an email.


Regularly visiting your dealership page on each of the review sites:



Yahoo! Local





Set up Google and Yahoo! alerts based on keywords including your dealership name, location, vehicle names and brands,and other relevant keywords. Every time these selected keywords are mentioned you will receive an email.

Or, if time is an issue, invest in a monitoring tool that aggregates reviews and allows you to easily manage them, as well as notifies you of new reviews.


There’s another reason to monitor your online reviews— the Opportunity to Respond!

Most review sites allow you to respond online to a customer review.


Every comment doesn’t need a response but DO try to respond to very positive or very negative reviews.

A quick response is a great way to turn a negative comment around. And tone matters. First and foremost for negative reviews, don’t be defensive. Begin with an apology and explicitly ask how you can resolve the situation. It MAY turn around this particular experience, but more importantly it publicly shows your professionalism and commitment to customer service.


Listen and make necessary adjustments based on your online reviews.


That’s right, don’t just respond with a PR-type answer.


Listen and look for trends and take action.


For example, if several customers complain about waiting LONGER for certain services than they were told, take note and change the way representatives set up the expectation.


Your reviews are valuable research, after all. They will help you streamline operations, boost sales and succeed.

So, generate, monitor, respond, and listen to online reviews. They are the building blocks of your reputation and your business.



Contact us for a free and confidential consultation