Most dealerships know how important it is to generate positive word of mouth among customers and prospects. But “word of mouth” now goes beyond just what people are speaking to others about your dealership.
More and more people today are taking to the Internet to share their thoughts about the dealerships with whom they do business. They can choose from a number of online review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, Yahoo Local, and Citysearch, as well as review sites dedicated to auto dealerships like DealerRater.com and CarDealerCheck.com.
An online monitoring strategy
In fact, online review sites are often the first place car buyers turn to when researching dealerships. This makes it critical to have a strategy in place for monitoring what customers and prospects are saying online about your dealership.
First, you should assign responsibility for monitoring online feedback about your dealership to a specific employee or small team of people who are Internet- and social media-savvy. There are several tools they can use to monitor online reviews.
The simplest tool is Google Alerts. Just go to Google.com/alerts and type your dealership’s name into the search query field. Next, choose the type of results (for example, news, blogs, Web) and how many results you’d like to receive, as well as how often you want to receive them, and enter your email address. You (or your designated employee) will now receive a Google Alert email whenever your dealership is mentioned online, including online reviews.
Google Alerts is free to use, as are TweetDeck and Hootsuite — two other useful tools for monitoring online feedback. These tools are designed primarily for managing social media platforms, but they are also helpful in monitoring what customers are saying about your dealership online.
Subscription monitoring services
In addition to using these free tools, you can also subscribe to an online review monitoring service. These services will scan the Web 24/7 in search of any new reviews that are posted about your dealership. When new reviews are posted, they’ll send you an email alert with a link to the review. Some of the services also enable you to respond directly to the reviews.
Here are a few of the most popular online review monitoring services:
- Reputation.com is an online reputation management service that provides a centralized dashboard you can use to monitor changes in public perception about your dealership.
- Trackur.com will send you RSS/XML feeds from such websites as Citysearch, Urbanspoon, and Insider Pages, as well as providing influence and sentiment analysis on your dealership’s brand.
- ReviewTrackers.com lets you sort online review results in your dashboard by location and date while also making it easy for you to respond to reviews.
- Chatmeter.com enables you to set up review comparisons so you can see how your dealership’s online reviews look next to your competitors’ reviews.
Also be sure to check out ReputationRanger.com. This service specializes in four niche industries, one of which is automobile dealerships.
In today’s digital world, your dealership can’t afford not to monitor and manage your online reputation. Whether you do this manually or use an online review monitoring service, take steps now to ensure that you know what people are saying about your dealership online.
|Handling Bad Online Reviews|
|Almost inevitably, you will encounter a negative online review about your dealership. How you respond to negative reviews is critical to maintaining a positive online reputation.
First determine whether or not the reviewer’s complaints are valid. Many people use online review sites to vent their anger toward what they perceive as poor service, inconsiderate employees, inferior quality products, and so on. If you believe a negative review is inaccurate or exaggerated, explain why in your response. Be detailed and specific, but try not to come across as being overly defensive.
If the negative review is accurate, use your response to respectfully acknowledge the mistake. Apologize to the customer and ask if there’s anything you can do to make the situation right. Then follow through on your pledge.
Seek the services of a legal or tax adviser before implementing any ideas contained in this blog.