Word of mouth is the most valuable marketing tool, and it’s free! Since consumer behavior has evolved, online reviews now serve as the shopper’s “word of mouth” recommendation. So why are a majority of dealerships disregarded their online reputation?

Think about it – let’s say you’re on Amazon shopping for new car mats, and you come across three suitable options all priced within a few dollars of one another. How do you decipher between the products? Many of us would use the online reviews as a resource to help make our decision.

If it is a helpful resource in your purchasing process, why wouldn’t it be just as valuable to car shoppers? Dealerships have been ignoring the significance of online reviews, and have chosen to falsely believe that it does not affect their dealership’s business. We have grown weary of this detrimental ignorance. Therefore, PCG has conducted a research report to show dealers just how sacred online reviews are to car shoppers, using one of the most efficient reputation management products in the US, Prime Response, as evidential support.

The study, surveying 1,500 consumers, will give dealers a new perspective on the role and influence that online reviews play.

Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away – consumers are doing a great deal of shopping online, and are including and excluding dealers from their shopping list based on what they find on review sites. Of the survey sample, 82% of consumers reported that online reviews could change which dealership they would select. Online reviews give shoppers a sense of trust and confidence in a dealership. By failing to monitor their online reputation, dealers are eliminating a majority of their potential customers before they even step foot on the lot.

All businesses get negative reviews, it is simply unrealistic to satisfy every single customer. Therefore, reviews across all sites must be managed. This mundane task is impractical for dealers to compile manually, a marketing automation software, such as Prime Response, is needed to inspect reviews across all review websites.

Prime Response uses email surveys to engage with dealership customers after they have purchased a vehicle or visited the service department. The surveys ask a few basic questions to determine their level of satisfaction. When a positive review is indicated, the consumer is asked to share their experience online and the review is posted to sites such as Cars.com, Google+, Yelp, and many others . When a negative impression is detected by the software, dealership managers are notified immediately, allowing them to identify unhappy customers before negative reviews are posted online.

Consumers have growing confidence with online review websites, and the quantity and quality of online reviews has been proven to greatly impact their showroom traffic. Dealerships must encourage their customers to post online reviews, and further progress their reputation by responding to the negative reviews. Following this process, dealers will show consumers that they do, in fact, care about their customers.

While handling unsatisfied customers can be a daunting task, it can greatly benefit your online reputation and therefore. We found that negative reviews had the highest turnaround rates when they were responded to quickly, with patience, and in such a way that customers were invited to call the General Manager to resolve the issue.

Online reviews are checked by 78% of consumers in the pre-purchase process. Dominion has produced an ideal tool for dealerships to boost their online reviews and manage the quality of their reputation.

Prime Response is a unique solution to not only automate online reputation management, but social media advertising and merchandising as well.

The product supports faster syndication across social media channels by storing photos, videos, and third party content in a well-organized library. With the integrated inventory tool, relevant content listings are created for each vehicle to be posted on Facebook or used in social media advertising campaigns.

Online reputations are becoming codependent on social media engagement. Social media platforms are another way for your customers to interact and share their experience at your dealership.

We strongly urge dealers to accept the facts – the quality of your dealership’s online reputation is invaluable. Reviews must be managed and responded to. We perceive Dominion’s Prime Response to serve as an effective online reputation management, merchandising, and social media advertising platform. Of the consumers surveyed, 95%  said they would recommend the product to industry peers.

Stop neglecting your customers! Download the full research report to discover just how influential your reviews are, and how you can manage your online reputation headache free using Prime Response by Dominion.


About the Author

PCG Digital Marketing is an award winning digital agency headquartered in Eatontown, NJ. We help our clients get found online through innovative search, social and online advertising campaigns.