Why Car Dealerships should respond to negative online reviews
In today’s society, people are less likely to pick up the phone to get in contact with you about an issue. It has been found that approximately 75% of users believe it takes too long to reach a live agent on a phone call. This has led people to use the internet to make a remark or complain about their experience with the business. Reviews are vastly becoming increasingly prominent online; social media platforms, alongside search engines allow users to write a review of the business based upon their experience.
Positive reviews can be fantastic for a business as 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation. Therefore, a negative review can be extremely testing for a business.
Reviews can be written on multiple platforms and sites so it’s important that you monitor what is being said about your business, by doing this you can also analyse your businesses strong and weak points by spotting recurring issues and positive comments.
On the internet, due to ease of access to social media profiles, people expect instantaneous responses. This is why some users prefer to post a review of their experience on Facebook as opposed to an email as it requires an immediate reaction.
All reviews need to be acknowledged no matter what they consist of, no-one likes to get a bad review and as a Dealer Principle your initial reaction may be to take it as a personal insult. However, no matter how you feel about it, it will not resolve the issue of having a customer that is unhappy with your products or service.
If you think it’s better to ignore a negative review, it isn’t. Not responding to a review is a response; it gives the impression to the individual, as well as anyone else, that you disregard your customer’s complaints, issues and thoughts. Thus making your customer service look poor , as often a disgruntled customer just wants to be heard. You can then attempt to resolve the issue and this would reflect positively on your business.
Individuals like to post on social media because it attracts attention and because they feel as if they are helping others by preventing them using your service, in case they get a bad experience too. Research has found that 70% of buying experiences are based upon how the customer feels they are being treated. It is therefore important to respond so you can change their and other people’s perception of your dealership.
Responding to negative reviews makes your dealership stand out from the crowd as most do not acknowledge any reviews. Whether positive or negative, an acknowledgement of a review will make the customer feel valued and this will promote a positive perception of your dealership.
When acknowledging any review you must remember that the post and your response is public, this means that even in months to come the review will be accessible to anyone.
When you receive a bad review, even though you may take it personally, you should respond in an objective manner. An easy way to do this is to have a template response, for example;
‘Dear …, We are very sorry to hear that you are unhappy with … Would you mind calling us so we can discuss this further?’
This kind of response is easy as it covers a wide spectrum of potential issues raised, it also takes the issue off social media immediately thus preventing it from going viral. However, depending on the situation a phone call may not be necessary e.g. a car issue where you could ask them to return to your showroom over the weekend to look over the vehicle.
When a business demonstrates that they actively want to resolve an issue it shows they care about the customer’s satisfaction.
Sometimes online your tone of voice can be lost and it may actually read a different way to others than you intended it to. This is why we recommend you ask for a second opinion before posting your response to a review, whether it’s a good or bad one.
Once the response has been posted and the issue resolved, you may be able to ask the reviewer to amend their review or remove the negative one. However this will only really work if you have asked them politely and have worked closely with them to resolve the issue.
If they refuse or they aren’t approachable for this, then you can encourage your other customers to write positive reviews on the platform in order to ‘push-down’ the negative ones.
Lastly, we recommend that you look for the positive in the negative reviews; What can you learn from the review and how can you use this to develop your dealership to give the best products and services possible to your clients.