The first interaction customers will have with your business is likely to be online. Customers will invest time researching what you have to offer before making the effort to travel to your dealership. Without even visiting your location, a potential customer will start to build an idea of the type of dealership you are, and the kind of service they might expect from you.
One thing that potential customers will come across when browsing the web is online reviews. These can be a fantastic tool that you can utilise to best effect. If collated and managed properly, online reviews can be extremely effective at driving new potential leads to your business. Here at Spidersnet we know the importance of online reviews, which is why we have created this comprehensive guide to help you understand how best to use them.
ONLINE REVIEWS ARE GOOD FOR THE USER
Reviews, whether they exist on your own website or elsewhere, give a potential customer an idea of the kind of service your dealership offers. It’s good for potential customers to see feedback & interaction from real customers who have bought from you in the past.
60% of consumers consider ratings and reviews important when researching local businesses, and good review can make the difference between a customer contacting you or clicking away and looking elsewhere.
“60% of consumers consider ratings and reviews inportant when researching local businesses!”neustar
THEY’RE ALSO GOOD FOR ORGANIC SEARCH
Having reviews on your Google My Business or Google + profile makes your profile more “complete”. There is strong evidence that having a complete profile can help your Google My Business page to appear higher up within map search results.
If you have more than five reviews on your Google My Business page, your listing in the search results will display your aggregate review rating. This makes your listing look far more appealing and therefore the chances of people clicking on your website (we call this the CTR or click through rate), is increased.
Having the option for customers to add reviews or testimonials directly onto your site is a great way to gather written content that is completely free ! Within their reviews, your customers will naturally mention their hometown, the make and model of car that they bought and other relevant terms. All of these could help your website to appear in search engines for a mixture of search queries.
WHERE TO GET REVIEWS
There are a number of ways in which you can collect reviews and there are plenty of places already in existence that you can tap into to ensure your customers are leaving them. If you utilise all of these effectively then your business will benefit!
1. Google +
The reviews section on your Google My Business profile page is the most important place for you to gather customer reviews. As mentioned above, having more than five reviews here will change the way your listing appears in the map results, making it far more appealing for customers to click on.
Look at the search results below. The dealerships’ Google star ratings stand out. These star ratings can increase clicks by 20%.
There is also strong evidence that Google uses review quantity and quality as one of many factors to decide where to rank a site within it’s local search results.
Reviews on Google My Business are considered to be trustworthy by consumers, as it’s very hard to fake them. It’s difficult for a business to remove “bad” reviews from their profile meaning the consumer knows they are likely to be looking at a full range of honest reviews from real customers.
2. Third party sites
Some customers might not have Google accounts, in which case a well trafficked and trusted third party site might be a better option. The following sites allow customers to review your business:
- Trust Pilot
Customers who see these will learn more about your business through the reviews and, as long as the majority of your reviews are positive, they will be encouraged to visit your website.
3. On your own website
There is plenty of value to having testimonials and reviews on your site, but it’s not as important as getting your reviews on Google Plus or third party sites. This is because it could be very easy for a business to write their own reviews placed on their site and consumers are well aware of this. However, real testimonials can still provide useful insight for a potential customer and could provide that little bit of extra trust that leads to a customer making an inquiry.
HOW DO I GET REVIEWS?
Getting customers to give reviews is not easy and unfortunately customers who have had a bad service are more likely to leave reviews without any encouragement. However, customers who have had a good experience with your business are likely to be singing your praises to their social groups by word of mouth, they just need some encouragement to write about it online.
Contact your old customers
Email, call or write a letter to your past clients (avoiding any you know will provide a bad review). Ask them politely if they would mind leaving you a review on any of the places listed above. Even if only a handful of customers respond this can still be a hugely useful outcome. As mentioned above, you only need five reviews on Google Plus to get your star rating showing in Google search results.
Ask new customers
Make a habit of asking new customers for reviews soon after their purchase. Create business cards with the url to your Google Plus account and leave it in the new car. Here is an example we made using Spidersnet as an example dealership.
You could even get some customised car air fresheners carrying the same message and leave them in the car as a reminder!
WHAT IF I GET BAD REVIEWS?
If you are actively perusing online reviews, it’s more than likely that not every one will be glowing. A relatively small number of negative reviews is ok! In fact if every single review on your Google Plus page says your company is wonderful and gives you 5 stars, consumers may be suspicions that the reviews are fake.
Above is a nice example of how to quickly respond to a positive review. And below is an example of a professional way in which you can respond to a negative review.
Google Plus and most third party review sites give you an opportunity to respond to any reviews that you receive. If a potential customer can see that you deal with any complaints properly, negative reviews shouldn’t effect their decision to buy from you. Your response could even show them that you are a professional, trust-worthy dealership to buy from.
Don’t copy Google Plus reviews to anywhere else
It’s really important that the reviews that you receive on Google Plus are unique. If Google finds an exact copy of any review on your Google Plus page, whether it’s on your own site, or a third party site, there’s a chance it will exclude the review from your Google Plus profile, and that’s the one place you really want to keep it!
WHAT TO DO NOW?
Make sure you have a Google My Business page setup, If you don’t – add one here – it’s free!
- Have a look on Google Plus to see if you have any reviews – respond appropriately to any good and bad reviews
- Make a list of all of your past customers that you could potentially contact to ask for a review – then contact them!
- Get some business cards printed, or another form of handout to leave with any new customers