Online reviews are making a major impact on car dealerships and automotive businesses, such as auto repair shops, body shops and parts retailers, detailing shops, car wash shops, and service centers.
Here are a few numbers that demonstrate how reviews can make an impact on your bottom line:
- High product or service rating will increase likelihood of purchase for 55 percent of consumers. (SocialBarrel)
- A car shopper is 3 times more likely to become a buyer when a dealership has positive online reviews, and 24 percent consider review sites to be the “most helpful” factor when it comes to making purchase decisions. (Source: DealerRater)
- A Forrester study revealed that consumers trust online reviews over search engine results; 55 percent trust professionally written reviews while 46 percent trust consumer-written reviews. (Forrester, 2013)
- 70 percent of car shoppers say that online dealership reviews influence where they choose to go. Meanwhile, 81 percent who consult review sites say that they check the review scores / aggregated ratings of dealerships that appear in search results. (Digital Air Strike / ReviewTrackers)
- 22 percent of Internet users post a review or a comment online after an automobile purchase. (Google)
If you are an automotive industry exec, you probably already know that positive reviews can shine a spotlight on your reputation and help you perform at top speed, while negative reviews can slow you down and drive customers away. In other words: it has simply become critical for you to listen to, engage with, manage, and respond to your shoppers and buyers on all sites and platforms where your business may be present.
Are you ready to shift your online reputation to the next gear? Here’s a guide on where and how to get started with managing your online reviews. Make sure you have active review profiles on all of these sites!
Industry-specific review sites
Launched in 1998, Cars.com is one of the most popular review sites for car buyers as well as auto dealerships. Apart from dealership reviews, it also offers comprehensive automotive information for shoppers, price comparison tools, inventory search tools, auto loan calculators, opinions by experts, photo galleries, and a large new and used-car inventory. Cars.com enjoys more than 30 million visits each month on average. If you want to get listed and establish your dealership’s presence on Cars.com, visit http://dealers.cars.com/.
Also check out: “8 Simple Steps for Building a Rock Star Cars.com Dealer Profile”
DealerRater is an automotive review site that prides itself in having more than 1.5 million reviews, as well as a sophisticated process that ensures every review is written by a real person with a real-life automotive shopping experience. Founded in 2002, the site has since grown to cover over 40,000 US and Canadian dealerships, with a section for reviews of dealerships and for reviews of automotive service businesses. DealerRater reviews are organized based on level of customer service, quality of work, friendliness, price, and overall customer experience.
If you’d like to list your dealership on DealerRater, visit http://www.dealerrater.com/dealer.aspx. On that page, you’ll be presented with options for adding your listing or signing up for the site’s Certified Dealer Program (a paid service that features your own online reputation management tools).
Founded in 1966, Edmunds was originally a publication designed to help car shoppers by offering pricing guides for new and used cars. Edmunds’ dealer review site was launched in 1995, and now includes comprehensive online automotive information for visitors and auto shoppers. The site offers a wide range of services, like the True Market Value (TMV) pricing tools, True Cost to Own projections, and a dedicated section for dealer ratings and reviews.
To manage your dealer reviews, visit the site’s Dealer Center at http://www.edmunds.com/dealers/, where you can also learn more about Edmunds’ Promise Program. Meanwhile, you can add and edit your dealer information by going to http://www.edmunds.com/inventory/add-edit-dealer.html?action=edit.
For more, check out Edmunds.com’s Information Sheet for Dealer Ratings and Reviews.
SureCritic offers verified, unfiltered online reviews of local businesses in the automotive industry, from dealerships, body shops, and tire sales to service centers and diesel services. Founded in 2010, SureCritic also offers business owners its own range of social media marketing and review management services.
If you want to get listed in SureCritic, send an E-mail to [email protected]
Snap21 is different from other automotive review sites in the sense that it focuses on creating an outstanding business reputation through reviews – instead of merely guiding car shoppers. It specializes particularly in encouraging happy customers to leave and share branded photo reviews on social media. There are no listings to claim, but if you would like to sign up for the service and generate new reviews, visit http://snap21.com/signup or sign up for a demo at http://snap21.com/demo.
Popular review sites
Contrary to what you may think, Yelp is not just for restaurants, nightlife, and hotels. It also has a category for automotive businesses. Just visit www.yelp.com and check the left side of the homepage for the multiple business categories the review site offers.
Google publishes business information and reviews on a number of its services, including Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ Local. It covers a wide range of categories, including automotive businesses. With a Google business listing, you can publish your business information, monitor online reviews, “hang out” with existing and potential customers, post photos and videos, and get discovered more easily by Internet users performing a search. Here’s a guide on how to claim your business listing using the Google My Business dashboard.
The world’s biggest social networking site is also home to local business reviews. If you’ve created a local business page on Facebook, you’re likely able to receive reviews and ratings from users. Check out our Facebook Reviews guide for information on how to manage your page and enable online reviews.
Here are some best practices for when you’re adding and managing the information in your listing:
- Make sure your profile information is complete, correct, and up-to-date.
- Include the most vital local business information: business name, phone number, and business address.
- Regularly monitor your reviews. It’s a great way to stay on top of what customers are saying online about your business.
- Respond professionally, politely, and promptly to reviews, both negative and positive. The more engaged you are, the more business opportunities you’re able to create.
- Post fresh content on all listings and sites where you have presence to improve your online visibility and minimize the impact that previous negative reviews may have.