The Key to Managing Your Service Department’s Online Reputation

Customers do their research online before deciding who they want to do business with, and even more than they tend to trust their friends and family, 84 percent put their trust in online reviews left by strangers. Low star ratings, bad reviews and even non-existent profiles, can all lead to a poor digital reputation – and a major problem for your dealership’s service department.

Don’t let a bad online reputation cause your customers to go elsewhere. Learn how you can effectively manage your service department’s digital reputation and win more customers by taking a few simple steps.

Establish ways to continually learn about your service department’s online reputation

Learning about your service department’s reputation isn’t a one-and-done type thing. It’s a continual process that never ends, but it can pay off big time when done correctly. As a dealership owner, your job is to employ ways to regularly get customer feedback. Fortunately, there are many ways you can go about doing this.

One of the best ways to elicit feedback is to email your customers a survey shortly after they’ve visited your service department. While you won’t get a 100 percent response rate, customers that are extremely happy or extremely unhappy are likely to respond. From here, you can encourage your happy customers to leave a review online.

Other than soliciting feedback, you should always be monitoring review sites and social media platforms. These include your Google Listing, Yelp Profile, and Facebook Page, to name a few of the most important. By simply watching these sites, you’ll be able to get a good grasp on your online reputation to see what areas are exceeding customer expectations, and which might need improvement.

Proactively respond to the good, and more importantly, the bad

While you should always thank your customers for taking the time to leave a positive review, those left by unhappy customers should be responded to just as promptly – and the quicker, the better. Waiting around hoping they’ll go away isn’t an option in today’s online world and will likely make the problem worse. Instead, look at the problem as an opportunity to one – show other potential customers that you truly care about their experience, and two – make improvements within your department.

In your response to the frustrated customer, first make sure you thoroughly understand the problem or situation. Then, focus on solving the problem and making the customer happy. Once you’ve done that, you can ask the customer to edit their review, and you’ll likely find that most are happy to do so.

Of course, your job doesn’t end there. Now that you’ve handled the complaint with the individual, it might now be time to correct the problem on an operational level, especially if this isn’t the first time the problem has occurred.

Online reviews and ratings can leave potential customers feeling like they’ve found the perfect place to service their vehicle – or they can make a customer want to steer clear. But if you actively monitor and manage your online reputation, you’ll know for a fact that it’s bringing customers in and not shooing them away.

4 Foolproof Ways to Use Your Dealership’s YouTube Videos to Sell More Cars

Like many dealership owners, you already know the importance of search engine optimization and how digital ads can greatly increase your online leads. What countless dealerships aren’t already taking advantage of is the world’s second largest search engine – YouTube.

As consumers become more likely to prefer video over text, this platform has the ability to become one of your main sources of online lead generation. But, of course, without a well-thought-out video marketing strategy, you’re just taking a shot in the dark. Lucky for you, we’ve found what works, and below, we’re going to share with you exactly how to turn your videos into solid lead generators.

Here are four goals your YouTube videos should aim to achieve every time:

1. Build Trust

It’s nothing you haven’t heard before – people want to do business with companies they trust. But how exactly do you build trust with potential customers online? It’s simple – you let them get to know you, so by the time they come in, they feel like they’ve done business with you before. They know what to expect from your product, your team, and your dealership since they’ve already had an inside look.

Types of videos that build trust: Dealership walk-throughs, employee spotlights, customer reviews, and model reviews

2. Generate Excitement

What are you enthusiastic about at your dealership? The new models on the lot? The big sale coming up? Then show off all there is to be excited about in order to stir up enthusiasm and anticipation from your audience. Trust us, this excitement will show in the metrics with increased likes, shares, and comments, so you’ll know when you’ve accomplished your goal.

Types of videos that generate excitement: Model reviews, feature reviews, and sales/promotions

3. Solve Problems

While there are many reasons people decide it’s time for a new vehicle, it comes down to one issue – their current vehicle isn’t meeting their needs. Learn what your customers need, and find ways to solve their problems. Maybe they’re adding a new family member and the ease of installing a car seat is a huge factor. Or, maybe they’re about to have a teen driver and safety technology is at the top of their list. Demonstrate the features that may solve these problems. The same goes for your most frequently asked service questions.

Types of videos that solve problems: Model reviews, feature reviews, feature how-to’s, and service how-to’s

4. Encourage Action

No matter the feelings or emotions your video provokes, it should always contain a strong call-to-action, encouraging the user to take action on your website. Whether your goal for them is to view specific models, schedule a test drive, or apply for financing, make sure their next steps are clear and concise.

Types of videos that encourage action: All videos should, or you’re doing it wrong!

Each video you place on YouTube should serve a specific purpose, for a specific audience. It’s not about throwing something up just so you have a regularly-updated YouTube channel. When done right, YouTube has the ability to become one of your main sources of lead generation.

Why Direct Mail Still Matters in the Digital Age

Why Direct Mail Still Matters in the Digital Age

Why do thousands of businesses all across the country still use direct mail marketing in the digital age? It’s simple. It still works.

The perception that direct mail is going the way of the dinosaur is contradicted by numerous studies showing that it remains a solid tool to reach prospects that delivers impressive return rates. We’re of the opinion that the internet has actually improved the effectiveness of direct mail marketing efforts for our clients.

Here’s how:

More Targeted Approach

The vast number of databases available online give direct marketers the information needed to provide targeted and, more importantly, personalized messaging to prospects. It’s no secret that personalization makes any marketing effort more effective, but when you combine personalization with a compelling offer that’s targeted to the right prospect – you get better response rates.

Scrub Those Lists So They Are Shiny & New

In the old days, scrubbing database lists was an arduous and tedious process. Now, with the new digital tools available, it’s easier, quicker, and can be done on an almost automated basis. It’s also still an essential piece of any potent direct mail campaign. After all, would you open a piece of mail that lists the wrong person, or a car that you haven’t owned in ten years?

Pinpoint Timing

With the online data mining tools available, you can determine who is currently seeking out a new vehicle, who is due for service or maintenance, or when a lease term is set to expire. This is real-time data that provides an opportunity to reach customers at the exact time when they are going to make a purchase decision.

The internet and traditional direct mail marketing aren’t mutually exclusive. When you combine the two, you’ve got an effective, low-cost marketing campaign at your disposal that generates true ROI for your business. We’re ready to help you grow your business with our direct marketing services. Just let us know how we can assist today!

5 Keys to Help Convert Used Car Shoppers to Buyers

It’s no secret that your used car division is by far one of the most important profit centers in your dealership. According to the NADA, used car sales by new car dealerships are expected to rise from 15.1 million sold in 2017 to 15.3 million in 2018.

So, how can you ensure that you get your slice of the pie? Here’s a hint: it’s more than just advertising low used car prices on your website.  Pre-owned buyers have unique needs and a combination of factors go into successfully converting a pre-owned shopper into a buyer.

Here are five tips to help you make more used car sales in 2018:

Listen First – Sell Second

While it may be tempting to jump immediately into sell-mode when encountering a used prospect, it’s important to ask questions and establish some initial rapport/trust. Are they buying out of need? Is there a family development that dictates a change in vehicles? What are their needs/wants from their next vehicle?

Keep in mind that buyers walk into a dealership with preconceived notions about how they will be treated.  By asking questions and allowing the customer to be heard, you can transform a customer/salesman dynamic into an advisor/advisee relationship and build trust.

Promote Value Added Benefits

Does your dealership offer free car washes with used vehicle purchases? Service perks like free loaner cars? Rewards programs for loyal customers? Take the time to promote benefits for doing business at your store other than selection and price.

The more reasons you give a prospect for doing business at your dealership, the more likely they are to want to purchase from you.

Get Straight to the Point

Today’s consumers want to get the best deal and get it quickly. They know that you are in business to make a profit and don’t begrudge that fact. What they do resent, however, is if they feel like a dealership is playing games with them via lots of “back and forth” which increases overall transaction time.

One of the most prevalent complaints about the car buying process from consumers is the amount of time it takes. Minimize transaction time in any way possible in order to keep the process running efficiently and customers engaged.

Keep them in the Loop

Creditworthiness is a big concern for many used auto shoppers. Leaving a customer alone in the F&I office while running credit checks or generating paperwork without any updates increases anxiety.

It goes a long way with a customer when an associate keeps them updated with a quick word or two every five minutes or so to let them know where the process stands. Reassure them that everything is moving along fine and that everyone is working diligently to get them into the vehicle quickly.

Ditch the “Call For Price” Approach

Want to know the number one way to completely lose out on a prospect who is shopping for a used car before they even physically come to your dealership? Don’t list used car prices on your website.

Consumers want and expect to see a price when shopping for a used vehicle online. If you don’t provide a price, then they are just going to leave your site and move on to your competition and shop/buy with them.