Boost Your Dealership Reputation: Strategies for Getting More Car Buyer Reviews

Young guy laughs when he looks at a contract for the purchase of a new car

In the fiercely competitive world of car sales, online reviews wield significant influence over a potential buyer’s decision. Did you know that more than 80% of car buyers consult online reviews before stepping into a dealership? Positive reviews, in particular, are a powerful tool that can build trust, attract leads, and give your dealership a competitive edge. Conversely, negative reviews can deter potential customers and harm your bottom line.

This guide will take a deep dive into the world of car buyer reviews, exploring proven strategies that can ethically boost your positive feedback. We’ll also provide you with some insider tips on how to effectively manage both positive and negative reviews, all with the aim of bolstering your dealership’s reputation.

The Importance of Dealership Reviews

  • Trust and Credibility: Positive reviews are more than words on a screen. They act as social proof, assuring car buyers that your dealership is reputable and provides a positive customer experience. This trust and credibility can be a game-changer for your business. 
  • Visibility in Search Results:  Search engines like Google favor businesses with numerous positive reviews. Your Google My Business listing is crucial for local SEO in the automotive industry.
  • Increased Lead Generation:  Car buyers are likelier to contact or visit a dealership with a robust online reputation and numerous positive reviews.
  • Gain Valuable Insights:  Reviews offer a direct line of customer feedback. Analyzing positive and negative feedback can help identify strengths and areas for improvement within your sales and customer service processes.

Strategies for Getting More Car Buyer Reviews

Provide an Exceptional Customer Experience

The best foundation for generating positive reviews is delivering an outstanding customer experience at every buyer journey stage. This is a collective effort, and your sales staff play a crucial role. They are not just salespeople but product experts and guides, not pushy sales tactics. Their interactions with customers can significantly impact the overall experience and, ultimately, the reviews your dealership receives.

  • One of the key Pillars: For generating positive reviews is your sales team. Train them to be product experts and provide helpful guidance, not pushy sales tactics. Their knowledge and approach can significantly influence a customer’s experience and, consequently, their review. 
  • Transparent Pricing: Price transparency builds trust and reduces the likelihood of negative surprises that trigger bad reviews.
  • Streamlined Buying Process: Minimize friction points, whether paperwork or financing wait times.

Make Leaving a Review Easy

Remove any barriers that prevent customers from sharing feedback. The strategies we’ll discuss are designed to be easy and convenient for both you and your customers. Here’s how:

  • Follow-up Text or Email: Send a brief message after the sale with a direct link to your preferred review platform (Google My Business, DealerRater, etc).
  • QR Codes: Place QR codes on “thank you” cards or in your showroom, allowing customers to scan and leave a review instantly.
  • Website Integration: Prominently feature a “Leave a Review” button on your dealership website.

Time Your Requests Strategically

Ask for reviews while their positive experience is fresh:

  • Immediately After the Sale: If the customer expresses satisfaction, ask if they’d be willing to share their experience online.
  • Post-Purchase Follow-up: After a few days, send a check-in email and include a review request if their initial experience was positive.

Personalize Your Approach

A one-size-fits-all message is less effective. Instead:

  • Mention the Customer by Name: This shows you value their individual experience.
  • Reference a Positive Interaction: Briefly mention a specific aspect of the purchase process they enjoyed.

Automate the Process

Use reputation management software that automates review requests and helps manage reviews across platforms. Many solutions integrate with your CRM for seamless review collection.

Responding to Reviews: Build Trust & Improve

One of the crucial aspects of managing your online reputation is responding promptly to all reviews. This demonstrates your commitment to customer feedback, even if the review is negative. A timely response can show that you value their opinion and are willing to address their concerns. 

  • Thank Positive Reviewers: Express gratitude and reinforce your commitment to excellent service.
  • Addressing Negative Reviews
    • Empathize and Apologize: Acknowledge the customer’s frustration and offer a sincere apology.
    • Take It Offline: Provide a way for the customer to contact you directly for resolution. Avoid public arguments.
    • Learn and Improve: Analyze negative reviews for recurring issues and address them to prevent future negative experiences.

Harnessing the Power of Positive Reviews

  • Website Testimonials: Feature positive reviews prominently on your website with the customer’s permission.
  • Social Media Amplification: Share glowing reviews on social media channels to build social proof.
  • Targeted Ads: Use review quotes in pay-per-click ads to attract car buyers actively researching their options.
  • Sales & Marketing Materials: Include positive review excerpts in brochures, email campaigns, and other marketing materials.

Leveraging Reputation Management Tools

Consider investing in a reputation management platform specifically designed for the automotive industry. These tools offer features like:

  • Automated Review Requests: Streamline the process of collecting feedback after a sale.
  • Review Monitoring: Track and manage reviews across multiple platforms from a central location.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Gain insights into the overall sentiment of customer reviews.
  • Social Listening: Identify online conversations about your dealership and address customer concerns proactively.

Building a Positive Online Reputation: A Continuous Process

Building a solid online reputation as a car dealership requires ongoing effort. However, by implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can cultivate a steady stream of positive reviews, attract more car buyers, and solidify your position as a trusted leader in your local market. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Prioritize exceptional customer experience at every touchpoint.
  • Make leaving a review easy and convenient for car buyers.
  • Personalize your review requests and respond promptly to all feedback.
  • Utilize positive reviews to showcase your dealership’s strengths across marketing channels.
  • Consider a reputation management platform to streamline and optimize your online review strategy.

By following these steps, you can transform online reviews from a potential challenge into a powerful asset that fuels your dealership’s success.

Ready to take control of your dealership’s online reputation and generate more positive car buyer reviews?

Review Spike can help! Our user-friendly platform simplifies review collection, automates review requests, and provides valuable data to help you analyze customer sentiment and improve your sales process. Sign up for a free trial today and see how Review Spike can help your dealership build trust, attract more leads, and drive sales in a competitive market.