Online reviews are a big deal: 93% of consumers report that they’re influenced by them. Whether on Yelp, Google My Business, or an industry-specific listings site, what customers have to say about you online is very important. 

And that’s especially true in the world of dealerships. Building up some goodwill on your review pages can go a long way to casting your dealership in a positive light. 

And while you can’t control what people write in their reviews, you can control how you react to them. Let’s walk through the best way to respond to reviews of your dealership. 

Acknowledge All Reviews, Good & Bad 

In a survey from ReviewTrackers, more than half of all customers indicated that they expect a response to their online reviews. However, the same survey found that 63% of the time, those reviews go unanswered. 

It’s in your best interest to respond to every single review that comes in and to do so quickly. Apply the rules of email etiquette here – would you be okay waiting a week to respond to a customer if they emailed you? Hopefully not! Give their review the same kind of timely attention you would if they had reached out to you individually. 

Remember that, in many cases, customers don’t have a personal email for the ownership or management at your dealership. Writing a review is their only way to bring their praise or critique to your attention. 

Give It Some Thought 

Unlike with an email, whatever you write in response to online reviews will be up there on the internet for the world to see. That’s why it’s a good idea to draft something and reread your work before clicking that post button. 

Taking an emotional step back to respond to negative reviews is especially important. When someone says something unfavorable about your dealership, your impulse might be to get defensive or point out the role the reviewer had in creating a negative experience. This is not the way to go. 

Instead, take a deep breath and open up a word document or separate tab so that you can draft your response on a clean page. Reread the critical review with an objective eye, and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Being empathetic can guide you towards a thoughtful, genuine response. 

Take It Offline 

For those worst-of-the-worst reviews, it’s a good idea to take things offline. First, respond to the review directly, acknowledging the customer’s negative feelings, then apologize, and then let them know you’ll be following up individually. From there, send them an email, apologize again, and extend an offer to make things right. 

This method of responding to those negative reviews allows you to show to review readers that you are committed to making things right for all of your customers, but it spares them the front-row seat to the drama of your back-and-forth with this angry customer on a public forum. 

Online reviews matter for your dealership. And while it’s great to try to solicit as many positive reviews as possible, it’s even more important that you respond to all reviews–from the happiest to the angriest. Dealerships that take the time to respond to reviews demonstrate their commitment to making every customer happy, and that’s the way to build trust and win over new business. 

If you’d like some help managing your online reviews, we’re here for you. Reach out today.

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