Cars.com Dealer Reviews have officially launched, giving every dealer nationwide the opportunity to drive their online reputations in the same place consumers are shopping for their next vehicle. During the beta period, more than 2/3 of our dealer customers opted in, giving them a head start in building their volume of online reviews and turning satisfied customers into advocates.
Dealer Reviews and other customer feedback sites can help drive additional traffic to your store, particularly when integrated into the sales process. Involving everyone at the dealership in soliciting feedback can often result in a higher review volume that trends in a positive direction.
Dealer Training Manager Jack Simmons recommends the following as his top five tactics for acquiring reviews:
- Ask. The simple act of asking is the most important factor in driving review volume. Mine your CRM databases, make Dealer Reviews part of your “thank you” e-mails following the sale and cultivate a culture at your store that rewards asking for customer feedback. Some dealerships are even offering their customers the chance to win big prizes for filling out reviews on Cars.com!
- Use negative reviews to your advantage. It’s difficult to please 100 percent of your customer base. Negative reviews happen, and in fact, they present the opportunity for you to publicly make a situation right, showing future customers how much you care about their satisfaction and the integrity of your process. Quickly resolve as many issues as possible and commit to soliciting more positive reviews to offset the negative one.
- Arm your staff with knowledge and reward their success. Cars.com offers resources to help you train your staff in building review volume, making it easy to incorporate everyone at your store into the process. Show one of the sessions from our Reputation Management Lab in your next sales meeting, encourage your staff to check out our interactive PDF and ensure everyone is following the Checklist for Success. Our most successful dealers are celebrating good reviews in their sales meetings, and many are even offering spiffs and other incentives to their salespeople to build positive review volume.
- Use the point-of-sale marketing materials we provide. Inserting one of our review widgets into your e-mail signature or customizing one of our flyer templates makes it easy to engage your customers without generating extra work for you. These tools are available in My Dealer Center or through your Cars.com sales representative.
- Get good reviews in as many places as possible. Because Dealer Reviews are accessible to customers right where they’re doing their car shopping, it’s important to build review volume on the Cars.com site. That said, having good volume across all review sites ensures that all potential customers researching your store get the right impression. This is particularly true with Google’s recent announcement that Places will no longer pull reviews from third-party sites into its search results. If you find you have a good bank of review volume on one site but are lagging on another, try running a month-long promotion with your sales staff and focus on one specific site. The next month, focus on another, and so on until your review volume is more uniform across sites.
For more tips on building your review volume and using reviews to enhance your online reputation, join Jack for two all-new webinars in Cars.com’s Reputation Management Lab. First, on Friday, July 29 at noon EST, Jack will share his strategies to build review volume and drive positive word of mouth online. Then, on Friday, August 5, he’ll follow it up with a webinar on responding to online reviews to build a winning reputation. Registering for the webinars here also gets you access to all of the content in our Reputation Management Lab!