Sometimes, dealerships consider responding to guest reviews as a low priority. However, it’s an important facet of your overall customer satisfaction strategy and ought to be taken seriously.

By responding to customer reviews, it provides the customer a voice, which makes them feel heard. In turn, this gives dealerships an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction levels and increase customer loyalty. Also, by seeing management responses, it can improve the perception of a dealership, which can ultimately increase sales. Dealerships that respond to reviews are more likely to increase their revenue as well as be more visible on reviews.

A customer’s online perception of your auto dealership is important since they will likely research you online before visiting you in person. Star ratings and reviews on sites such as Facebook, Yelp, and Google+ are often critical for your dealership’s digital reputation.

According to Business2Community, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Unfortunately, not every customer will have a rewarding experience at your dealership. Negative reviews are sometimes inevitable; the way you respond to those reviews will determine how future customers feel about you.

Here are a few tips to help get started with responding to customer reviews:

  • Respond promptly. By responding quickly, it shows your customers and potential customers that you pay attention and value feedback. Showing that you care about their experience and are on top of the reviews will leave a positive impression on them.
  • Say thank you. Whether the feedback is negative or positive, always state your appreciation for the time invested to write a review and share their experience online. For example, “Thank you for taking the time to share your experience online; we appreciate your time”
  • Don’t sidestep complaints. If you tackle negative feedback head on, it reassures the reviewer their feedback is taken seriously and shows you are willing to improve. Thank the reviewer for giving their feedback and then tell them how you’re going to resolve the issue. Be sure to avoid defensiveness and remember that a simple “I’m very sorry you had a negative experience” goes a long way.
  • Encourage positive reviews from happy customers. Positive reviews will help to balance out the negative ones, so seek them out. Recent customers are most likely to remember just how happy they were upon purchase, so grab them now. Try calling them or sending an email saying you would like to congratulate him or her on their recent purchase. If they’re happy, ask them if they would be willing to share a review or comment on our Facebook, Yelp, or Google+ page. 
  • Be courteous and gracious: When responding to online feedback, be impeccably professional and polite.  Remember that your response is visible to the public, and keep in mind that you are representing your brand.

Make sure responding to reviews is a top priority, or your competition will benefit.

If someone takes the time to review you or leave a comment on any of your posts, continue the conversation. Respond quickly and consider sharing any other helpful information. Remember: online reviews can often be a potential customer’s first impression of your business. So be everything you want them to see.

About the author

Michelle Camacho is the President of The Automotive Advertising Agency.