Tyler Ward, Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist, Seattle
Reviews in the automotive industry set up the dealership for success (or lack thereof) in the maintenance of an online presence. In this day and age, when consumers are looking to purchase anything, including a new car, they take to the internet to start off their search. Whether the customer knows exactly what make and model they desire or there is just an unmet need with little criteria on how to meet it, there are searches being made on numerous websites to gather information.
Why You Need Reviews
Buying a new car is not a casual or passive activity, automobiles are indeed an investment. When people are looking to purchase a new one, they look for many factors that meet the needs and goals that are already pre-outlined and in mind. If a consumer is going to be spending thousands of dollars for a product that will be in frequent use for years to come, they will need a substantial amount of information and evidence that their purchase decision is the right one. This is where reviews come into play. A study found on Inc claims that 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. This is why it is important to make sure that the reviews that are left on your listing create a positive push for more consumers to purchase a vehicle. The best way to achieve is by making sure that reviews on websites that are checked frequently for automotive guidance such as Yelp, Cars.com, and Facebook are positive and left frequently.
How to Get Reviews
Obtaining reviews is in no way an easy process. Although there is a huge amount of importance and value that these testimonials carry in a consumer’s purchase decision, the fact of the matter is that business owners have little control over the actual reviews they receive for the business. This truth makes reviews a double edged sword: the lack of control from the owner is what is responsible for the validity and trustworthiness of reviews, but at the same time not being able to control reviews may lead to lower conversions from searches to possible clients.
This being said, there are some ways to indirectly control the inflow of reviews to an online listing. Letting clients know that you have a listing is the first step. It is crucial to be specific and to let them know which platform you would like to be found on and reviewed on. A study done by Bright Local found that Yelp and Facebook are the most trusted review sites for any industry, for the automotive industry Cars.com is a good place to mention as well. Choose one and let them know in person that they can find you there and leave a review if satisfied.
Next to follow up, an excellent way to ensure that customers are converting their outstanding experiences into reviews is to send out an email. By sending an email that asks clients to leave a testimonial and attaching a link, this creates a fast and easy way for satisfied customers to leave a positive review. Remember to send these emails only to customers that you know have had a pleasant experience at your establishment because giving unsatisfied consumers these tools will only lead to negative reviews and less credibility for an establishment.
The Importance of Being Active on Your Listing
Being active on your listing creates more validity for the page and draws in more consumers. Facebook and Yelp track the typical response rate and time for the business owners, therefore by making sure that you are responding quickly and to all consumers, this allows for new clients to have more trust in the business itself.
Another way to be active on your listing is by responding to reviews. This is a factor that most business owners usually overlook, but it is influential, especially in the auto industry. Whether the reviews are positive or negative, replying to the consumer who took the time to leave the business a review reflects well on the business. If the review is positive, thank the individual for coming in or using your services. If the review is negative, it is crucial to keep a level head and respond maturely. Responding to negative reviews gives the business owner a chance to give their side of the story and therefore it is of the utmost importance that the response is not used to fight or attack the negative reviewer no matter how flawed, inaccurate, or unfair it may seem. Once a consumer sees a mature response to a review it creates a sense of relief in their head and makes them more likely to choose that business over another.
In the ever changing landscape of how consumers consume, business owners must be active in understanding what avenues to take care of. Maintaining listings on multiple platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, and Cars.com is key in this industry especially because individuals who are buying cars are going to be doing more research on who they buy from as opposed to other products in other industries that a consumer may be purchasing. Positive reviews that are left frequently keep new customers interested and coming in for a similar experience to that of the review that they read. Lastly, it is important to make sure the listing that reviews are located on is maintained and that business owners stay active on these sites. Consumers in the auto industry have a need to be met, just make sure that your listing is optimized enough to help convert them into clients and meet that need.