It’s no secret that today’s shoppers use the internet to inform their purchases. With so many resources available, digital makes it easy to research makes and models and compare prices. But it’s not just about price: almost two-thirds (61%) of shoppers won’t contact a dealer before checking their reviews, according to a CarGurus consumer poll. That’s because reviews help validate the dealership experience and build a shopper’s trust with a dealer before ever setting foot on the lot.
Not only do reviews give shoppers the transparency they crave, helping them choose one dealership over another, but they also benefit you, the dealer. CarGurus dealers with a 5-star average rating receive over 2x more connections per vehicle than dealers with a 1-star average rating. Plus, a stellar reputation will help you earn the prestigious CarGurus Top Rated Dealer Award, which helps you bolster a cycle of trust and transparency between your dealership, existing customers, and in-market car shoppers.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to grow your reputation online. Here are some simple tips for managing your reputation and building trust in your dealership.
Encourage customers to leave reviews
Before you can effectively manage your online reputation, your dealership needs to have some reviews. Include signage at your dealership that tells customers where they can leave a review online. Following up with customers after the sale is another great way to ask for feedback and request that buyers leave a review.
If you’re not a CarGurus Top Rated Dealer quite yet, consider creating physical cards that prompt shoppers to leave a review about their experience with your dealership on CarGurus.
Respond to reviews – both positive and negative
Turn a customer’s negative experience into a positive one by responding to a bad review addressing their concerns and offering your side of the story. A thoughtful response can go a long way in showing the original customer that you care about providing good service and help calm potential customers who have read the review.
Your dealership should see every review – even positive ones – as an opportunity to influence a future buyer though. Replying to a positive review with a simple “thank you” will reinforce your dealership’s commitment to customers and have a lasting impact. People notice that extra effort.
Learn from your reviews
Online feedback gives you a window into how your customers perceive your business – pay attention. Train your staff on how to handle and address reviews that come through your system. Then, identify the things you and your team could be doing better and make a plan to fix them. Publicize any improvements that come out of your customers’ feedback to show people that their comments are valued.
Be strategic about who you reach out to for reviews and when
While you should encourage and remind shoppers to leave reviews of their experiences, the review submission should take place at home. Never have the shopper submit a review while they’re still at the dealership. Reviews should be submitted pressure-free and after the purchase to ensure their authenticity. And it goes without saying, but reviews should never be written or submitted by employees, friends, or relatives, and especially not for your own property. At CarGurus, we have a variety of systems in place to monitor for and prevent any fraudulent review submissions.
Leverage your Top Rated Dealer status to build shopper trust
The CarGurus Top Rated Dealer Awards celebrate car dealers for their exceptional service and commitment to customer satisfaction, and the most trusted dealers are among this select group. We launched this award seven years ago because we believe in putting trust and transparency at the core of the car-buying transaction. Dealers are named a Top Rated Dealer based on real reviews from CarGurus shoppers, regardless of whether or not they’re a paying customer. That transparency builds trust not only with dealers but with shoppers who are searching for a dealership to purchase from.
For more information about the Top Rated Dealer program, contact your CarGurus rep.