How a customer perceives your business is vital to the dealer’s everyday operations. It’s important because customers will be sure to research your business online before they even arrive at the dealership. Star ratings, like the ones you’ll find on sites like Google+, Yelp, and Facebook, are crucial to your marketing reputation.

According to Business2Community, 88% of consumers view online reviews just as high as they do personal recommendations. 90% of consumers also research a business online thoroughly prior to visiting a business. With that sheer number of consumers researching online and reviewing your business, negative reviews are inevitable.

According to a survey by Pew Research Center, 77% of U.S. adults own a smartphone and 96% U.S. adults, aged between 30 years to 49 years, use the internet. The Internet has speedily become the number one source for finding information. With all the various sites that allow consumers to write reviews online, it’s never been easier to research a business or a dealership in this case.

Why Do Online Reviews Matter?

Below are just a few statistics that will help you to fully understand the importance of online reviews.

  • 73% Of Customers Say That They Trust Businesses More If They Have Positive Reviews.

It’s common sense that people aren’t likely to have a great deal of trust with businesses with a number of negative reviews. Similarly, if a business has a majority of positive reviews, then they’ll feel that they can have the same great experience that the other reviewers had.

  • 68% Of Consumers Trust The Opinions Of Online Reviewers

It’s no surprise that the Internet is full of opinions. As one of the most popular review sites, Yelp has over 145 million visitors per month. That number includes people who are sharing and looking for opinions of businesses. You should also note that people are looking at these reviews and piling on information before they’ve even arrived at your business. Thus, the importance of what reviews they see.

  • 85% Of Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations

The majority of today’s consumers trust the opinions of strangers online as much as they of their close friends. Reviews from anonymous users won’t be included in this, as they do not seem genuine. But, reviews which are personal, thorough, and articulate make the review seem like an exchange between friends.

  • Consumers Are Likely To Review Bad Experiences More Than Good Ones

Sharing your opinions online regarding your customer experience can be an easy route to releasing your frustration at the business. To a reviewer, it’s more about ensuring that someone else won’t have to go through the same experience as you have gone through. A bad review is inevitable, but it doesn’t look as bad when surrounded by great ones.

  • It Is Possible To Turn Negative Reviews Into Positive Reviews

Negative reviews can negatively influence the prospective consumer. Many sites feature a reply option, so that’ll give you a great place to reply to any negative reviews. You could remedy the situation by offering an apology. Often times, when a business reaches out to a customer after a negative review, reviewers are likely to post an update or edit their original review.

So, what can your dealership do if and/or when you receive bad Yelp reviews? It can get somewhat convoluted, but there are a few key things that are vital when dealing with negative online reviews. Below are our top inbound marketing tips on how you should respond to online feedback.

How To Respond To Negative Yelp Reviews?

 

  • Do Not Ignore A Negative Review

It’s not easy to fight the emotion when you receive a surprise negative review on Yelp. However, fighting fire with fire is never the answer, and in the end, it’ll just result in a larger fire. The best strategy that you can deploy is diplomacy.

Your response should:

    1. Use Positive Language – Everything from the semantics matter in online reviews. So, even with one-star reviews, you have to strive to sound unambiguously positive. 
    2. Reassure Other Customers – A customer’s impression of a business improves when they can see the business actively and professionally responding to online reviews. 
    3. Address Legitimate Concerns – In situations where the Yelper has raised a legitimate concern, you must offer a solution or explanation. If there was a misunderstanding, then you will need to provide clarification. 
    4. Welcome Critics Back – Bad reviews are actually great for providing you a platform that helps you make the situation right again with unhappy customers. You can invite them back to get a second chance and hopefully turn critics into fans.
  • Report Spammy Or Inaccurate Reviews

In cases where the reviews feature inaccurate details or just seem fake, you should do whatever you can to get it removed. You can report the review straight to Yelp. However, Yelp will only remove it if information provided does not describe an actual customer experience. So, be sure to provide specific evidence with your claim.

  • Respond To Online Feedback

Responding and monitoring customers online is, in fact, a large aspect of the automotive lead nurturing process. If someone leaves a comment, regardless of whether it’s good or bad, you should continue the conversation. You should reply and consider sharing additional information that you might deem helpful.

  • Encourage Positive Reviews From Satisfied Customers

Positive reviews are great at neutralizing negatives ones, so it’s important to acquire as many as possible. If you can think of a customer that you know had a great customer experience, you can reach out to them and encourage them to share their experience on Yelp. The more recent the experience, the better and more accurate the review is likely to be. Keep your message to the point, short, and sweet.

All in all, it is inevitable that you’ll receive negative feedback. However, the important thing is how you respond to those negative reviews. So, remember to respond to negative reviews as promptly as possible. You should then speak with your employees to ensure that those specific situations do not occur again. If possible, use that opportunity to re-open communication with the consumer. However, it’s important to know that negative dealerships give credibility to the positive reviews.

 

Sources: B2C, BrightLocal, SlideShare, Zendesk, OutboundEngine

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