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.