Dealers' #1 source for auto industry news, content, coaching & analysis

How to improve online reviews for your car dealership

Remaining accountable is key to building the type of credibility and reputation that successful car dealerships need to compete in the digital world. 

Competing in the digital age can feel like an insurmountable challenge for car dealerships that don’t have a solid plan for boosting reviews. 

The last thing any potential car buyer wants to see is a Yelp, Google Maps, Facebook, or BBB page littered with unresolved issues that fit the stereotypical car buying tropes. Since most major metropolitan areas have multiple branded car dealers within a drivable radius, having poor car dealership reviews can cause would-be buyers to skip over your store and move on to one where buyers will feel more comfortable before they ever walk through the door. 

Boosting car dealership reviews is not a simple fix. It requires diligence and effort from multiple team members and a carefully executed plan: 

  1. Offer world-class service
  2. Request reviews when buyers are most likely to leave them
  3. Create a process for monitoring and promptly responding to reviews
  4. Train staff on how to exceed expectations

Offer World Class Service


The best way to avoid poor reviews is to ensure that every member of your team is properly trained and dedicated to providing the best possible service to every guest. 

This service-first mentality starts before potential buyers even contact your store. Before the first touch, potential buyers will likely review your website for inventory or other information. Is your website updated? Are your photos crisp and plentiful? Is your contact information up to date? Is the BDC chat or text feature up and running? Bottom line: your website is your first service impression, so it needs to be great. 

Once a potential buyer connects with the store, the clock starts ticking because there’s a good chance that yours is not the only store they’re contacting. Providing the requested information quickly and accurately will ensure that you understand buyers’ limited attention spans. It will also help them by minimizing the hassle of dealing with multiple car dealerships. 

Once you lock an appointment down, it’s time to start really impressing buyers once they walk through the door. Everything from a cold beverage to a snack and a comfortable chair while waiting can help a buyer feel special. If you know a buyer is coming, having the vehicle ready to go will make your buyer feel like you value their time and expedite the buying process. 

Great service is all about setting expectations properly, and training your team to actively listen will ensure that under-promising and over-delivering is the default way of doing business. Once you complete a test drive and pull a customer in to wrap up the deal, your customers will appreciate the attention given to their needs. They will be much more likely to not only purchase, but to leave a positive review.

After your customer leaves, the service cycle has only begun. This is another opportunity to follow up and wow customers who may not expect a proper follow-up after the sale is complete. 

These are not the only tips, of course, so sit down with your team and discuss what service-related activities can make the long-lasting impact that your store needs. 

Related: How to use loyalty programs effectively

Request reviews when buyers are most likely to leave them

Buying a car is an exhilarating process for most people, and capturing the review at the zenith of a customer’s elation is a surefire way to improve car dealership reviews all around. 

It pulls the review away from the negative/complaining side of the brain and into the positive, uplifting side where buyers want to talk about their positive interaction with your store. To capture this energy, ask buyers to leave reviews as soon as they leave your store, or if you’re really bold, ask buyers to post a review as they wait for financing, or while they wait for their vehicle to be cleaned and gassed up. 

The longer a customer waits to post a review, the less “new and shiny” the whole experience will be, and the less likely a customer will be to post the review at all. Hit them as their happiness over their new vehicle is at its peak, and enjoy the positive reviews that come as a result. 

Create a process for monitoring and promptly responding to reviews

Much like your store’s CRM system, letting your reviews on popular platforms get out of hand is a surefire recipe for disaster. 

To properly cover reviews, store leadership needs to assign service-oriented champions to regularly monitor all car dealership reviews, and promptly handle any issues that are brought up in review audits. This means that you’ll not only need protocols for thanking customers that leave positive reviews, but also create protocols and a chain of command to address any potential negative reviews. 

If a customer is voicing their concerns on a review platform, there’s a good chance that the service process had one or multiple breakdowns. Sure, there are customers who are just cantankerous, implacable, and difficult to deal with, but the majority of clients are not impossible to please and ultimately just want to be heard and have their issues fixed promptly. Although not every situation can be handled cleanly, many can, and these poor service situations also allow dealer leadership to properly identify and react to any trends that are prominent throughout negative reviews. 

Handling the issues promptly will stop the situation from festering, and most people will either amend or delete the negative review as a result of the attention focused on their concerns.

Train Staff On How to Exceed Expectations

Never assume that everyone on your team knows how to properly exceed expectations. 

Building a culture of service is typically built from the ground up, and successful implementation of a service-focused culture comes from consistent training of your entire staff, as well as the implementation of effective one-on-ones that treat negative reviews as learning points for success. Although staff may not agree with the negative reviews presented, these scenarios are effective coaching opportunities for everything from overcoming objections to practicing active listening. 

Building these types of habits can offer more success to not only individual salespeople, but bring success to the car dealership as a whole. 

Service first, excuses later 

Remaining accountable is key to building the type of credibility and reputation that successful car dealerships need to compete in the digital world. 

This “old school” mentality is effective when mixed with the modern tools of doing business in the digital world, and it will help your car dealership’s reputation thrive within your community. Increasing your review count and the average score will also have a ripple effect on the rest of your dealer’s operations, from vehicle service to body shops (if so equipped). Skilled leaders will appreciate this valuable metric and the ability to use it as an opportunity for continuous improvement. 

Bottom line: It’s time to put service first and save the excuses for later. 

Did you enjoy this article? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by connecting with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok to stay up to date.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.

Alessandro Mannino
Alessandro Mannino
Alessandro is the Director of Product at He has a long-lived passion for cars and loves to help people save money on their purchase by putting vehicle history data in the hands of the consumer, giving them the leverage and negotiating power to save money and avoid potential lemons. Alessandro’s motto when it comes to cars is “it’s best not to make lemonade out of lemons when you’re making a car purchase.”

Related Articles

Manufacturers In This Article

More Manufacturer News

Latest Articles

From our Publishing Partners