It’s FAR more accurate to call it “PERCEPTION Management” since your prioritization of it (or LACK thereof) will drive public opinion of your dealership’s credibility and its revenue. Whether we’re talking about perception of your operation as a whole – or that of individual departments, or personnel – letting things slide will only HURT your dealership in the long run.
Don’t believe me? Here are some stats you need to know.
1. American consumers will share a bad experience with up to 15 people, on average.
If that doesn’t sound like much, ask yourself how many vehicles you sold today. This month? This quarter? This year? Now multiple that number by 15. WHOA. Take it a step further and do the same with your service customers. Depending on the individual experiences of each one of you customers, you could be losing – or GAINING – huge chunks of business. Especially when you consider that, on average, people will tell 15 people about a negative experience, but only tell 11 about a positive one. And that’s only word-of-mouth, not online reviews or social media posts which have a FAR more expansive reach.
2. 85% of consumers claim to trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Let’s unpack that. Whether we’re talking about “word of mouth” or online reviews, the impact of customer experience on your dealership is pretty much the same. It means that people are just as likely to trust the feedback of a complete stranger than they are that of a close friend or family member. Now consider how many negative, or even critical reviews have been left on your site or social media pages. Whether the review is accurate – or not – doesn’t matter. People are paying attention, and forming THEIR opinions accordingly.
3. 3 out of 4 consumers claim to trust a dealership more based on the PREVALENCE of positive reviews.
No surprise there, right? The more positive reviews, the better! But what about the fact that…
4. 60% of consumers will avoid a dealership based on the PRESENCE of negative reviews.
PRESENCE of negative reviews…not PREVALENCE. You could have all the good reviews in the world, but recent negative reviews (especially ones that appear to be UNRESOLVED) will hurt the credibility of your dealership. It all depends on how deep a potential car buyer wants to dig and – let’s be honest – many won’t dig too far.
5. 49% of consumers will ONLY do business with a dealer who has a four-star rating or higher.
What’s your dealership’s rating across various platforms. Facebook? Google? Yelp? Hopefully it’s four-stars or higher. And hopefully it’s not as low as 1 or 2-stars, because…
6. Dealerships with only 1-2 star reviews fail to convert 86% of prospective car-buyers.
That’s right – EIGHT-SIX PERCENT. Now keep in mind, 1 or 2 star ratings don’t necessarily mean that you’re doing poorly. It COULD mean that you’re not securing enough reviews overall on a particular platform, so a small number of negative reviews on that platform are driving your cumulative rating. Either way, GET ON IT because….
7. Dealerships can increase their revenue by up to 9% for every additional star in their Yelp! rating.
And Yelp! is just ONE platform.
Bottom-line, you need to be paying attention to your dealership’s reviews across ALL platforms. Be proactive in securing positive reviews, responding to them in an appreciate manner. But most importantly, be PUBLICLY responsive to negative reviews, so that prospective car buyers and service customers can SEE that you’re paying attention to ALL customer feedback. It conveys that your dealership prioritizes customer satisfaction, and serves to attract more business.
Again…Reputation management is PERCEPTION management.