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.
In auto services, sales-oriented corporations are taking a backseat to tech innovators and customer experience leaders. The sales process no longer begins when a potential buyer arrives at your service center or dealership. With connectivity and digitalization disrupting the industry, brands must recognize that digital channels are a crucial success factor. They must invest in technology that will better engage consumers and make every part of the customer journey pain-free, even long before they set foot in physical stores.
Online reviews, a platform for consumers to discover and assess auto services brands, can influence consumer decisions from the start of their customer journey. Here are a few numbers that demonstrate the type of impact that online customer reviews have on the automotive sector:
- Search is the first place people turn to when they need auto maintenance information quickly. (Think with Google)
- 67% of consumers see reviews as influential when choosing a new auto service. (Online Reviews Statistics)
- 91% use reviews to find a car dealer and find vehicle maintenance. (Broadly)
By managing your company’s reviews, your team can protect and improve your online brand reputation, boost your search engine performance, and foster brand trust among existing and potential customers.
Best Practices: Automotive Review Management
This guide should help your organization discover actionable strategies and approaches in online reviews and online reputation management.
Streamline Review Responses
Success in managing your automotive company’s reviews starts with the commitment to becoming a responsive brand. According to online reviews statistics, close to 50% of customers will visit a business location again when they see the company responding to negative reviews.
Make sure your team knows how to respond to negative reviews as well as positive feedback. Thank positive reviewers for taking the time to share their experiences. For negative reviews, always remember to address valid feedback and remain empathetic to show your brand cares about its customers. The sooner you can get back to your customer, the greater your chances of improving the situation.
For brands with multiple locations represented by multiple business listings and profiles across multiple directories and review websites, responding to reviews presents a challenge — especially without an effective automotive review management program in place.
Enterprise reputation management software can solve this problem and help your organization stay on top of what car buyers are saying. With the right solution, you can aggregate all of your locations’ reviews within one dashboard and send personalized, even automated responses to reviews across your locations.
Today’s top brands are simplifying their tech stacks by working with ReviewTrackers. Rather than deploying disjointed solutions and adding more technologies to the stack, they are leveraging ReviewTrackers’ award-winning online reputation management software to break silos and consolidate their operations.
Add Reviews to Your Marketing Infrastructure
Reviews can work in perfect harmony with your overall marketing strategy and should therefore be added as important assets in your marketing infrastructure. After all, reviews provide the type of social proof essential to inspiring consumer trust and confidence.
- Reviews are one of the top 3 Local Pack / Finder ranking factors, and can help your business rank higher in search results.
Incorporating reviews into your external communications and brand messaging — whether it’s on your website, social media profiles, online listings, dealership pages, or search and display advertising — can boost the performance of your marketing campaigns and automotive review management strategy.
Using a website review widget to embed or display reviews on your own website can even improve your conversation rates, decrease bounce rates, and improve your ad quality scores.
To maximize the marketing potential of reviews, your organization should also consider investing in a local listing management solution. This allows your team to ensure that all your brand’s listings are complete, correct, and up-to-date. A local listing management tool should also be able to help you feature the top reviews on your listings and showcase what your happiest customers have to say about your automotive services brand.
Generate Car Buyer Feedback by Asking for Reviews
In today’s multichannel world, car shoppers and owners actively seek information from all types of sources to guide their purchase decisions. Organizations that are highly visible in search results and on social media enjoy a natural advantage. However, just because your auto brand ranks number one on Google or has 1,000 more Facebook likes and Twitter followers than your competitors does not necessarily mean it has gained the trust of consumers.
One of the key factors in an organization’s ability to develop meaningful, trust-based relationships with customers is having a steady stream of reviews.
However, your brand won’t always generate reviews organically over time. This is why it’s crucial to have a strategy in place for proactively asking for reviews from customers.
If you’re just getting started with ways to ask, email should be at the top of your list of channels. As much as 70% of reviews come from post-transactional review request emails. Other channels used for review requests include SMS, various types of customer satisfaction surveys, review landing pages, and review request automation software.
Important note: not all business review sites allow businesses to request reviews from customers. Ensure that your efforts are in compliance with each individual review site’s guidelines.
Act on Review Insights to Deliver a Better Auto Buying Experience
To keep up with the pace of disruption, automakers and suppliers must deliver experiences that reflect the lives of their customers. However, the worst way to learn about the customer is to guess.
Data and insights from reviews should help your brand capture the voice of the customer. Your organization must invest in well-developed customer experience analytics tools and programs in order to truly understand customer needs and desires.
With insights in place, your organization can make the transition from digital strategy guesswork to streamlined research processes and personalized, customer-centric marketing.
Build a 5-Star Reputation for Your Automotive Brand
Many of the world’s leading automotive brands and suppliers have learned to effectively manage reviews in ways that attract customers and drive business growth.
The heart of your company’s review strategy should lie in your ability to engage with customers, listen to what they’re saying online, and show appreciation for their feedback.
With the right approach, your brand can leverage reviews to build a 5-star reputation, outperform your competitors, and make a positive impact on the bottom line.