Here’s How to Use It to Your Advantage
In the feedback economy, reputation is currency. Businesses stand to gain or lose significant clout in a world in which people readily and frequently share their unfiltered opinions about the businesses they use.
This certainly holds true for automotive dealer groups and dealerships. Buying a car is a major purchase that usually involves significant research beforehand, so it’s no surprise that consumers have strong opinions about their car-buying experience.
But for forward-thinking automotive business managers, the feedback economy isn’t something to fear — it’s something to leverage. Online reviews and social commentary about a business hold a wealth of information that can be used to fine-tune and improve the customer experience, ultimately helping the business attract and retain customers.
Here are three ways you can leverage the feedback economy to improve and grow your business:
1. Increase Visibility in Local Search Results on Google and Other Major Search Engines
Showing up at the top of local search results requires a complete, rich business listing; but that’s not all. Reviews play a huge part in ranking high in search — in fact, they are among the top five ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm. Moreover, increasing review volume boosts star ratings — research shows that when you request reviews, they tend to be positive, but when you leave reviews to chance, it’s more likely that unhappy customers are the ones leaving them.
Implementing a consistent, repeatable process for asking for feedback from every customer helps to build volume and increase your ratings and rankings, so you’re more visible in Google’s universe, and your ratings reflect the high-quality experience customers have with your business. Mobile review requesting solutions make it easy for showroom sales staff to request reviews during or immediately following a customer interaction, so the experience is fresh in their minds.
The more recent, detailed reviews a dealership has, the higher they rank in local search — and the more likely they are to show up on Google Maps when a car buyer is deciding which dealership to visit.
2. Engage in and Shape the Conversations People Are Having Online
Automotive reputation management depends in large part on the online conversation surrounding the business, because people place significant trust in others’ online opinions. According to SearchEngineLand, 88% of people trust recommendations about a brand from online sources such as reviews and social conversations as much as personal recommendations.
Automotive dealer groups and dealership managers that monitor social channels not only benefit from insight into the conversations happening about them online, they can engage with car buyers, customers and the community by responding to feedback in reviews and social commentary. When you listen and respond with professionalism and sensitivity to the opinions being expressed, you can begin to build and strengthen consumer trust in their brand. You can even begin to shape the conversation by creating relevant, timely social advertising campaigns with messaging tailored to address trends and concerns people are talking about.
The right technology can help you consistently monitor and engage in social conversations about your brand as well as organize, manage and disseminate relevant social content.
3. Tune into Online Feedback to Understand Customer Sentiment
Before the internet, automotive dealerships may only have learned how consumers felt about them if there was a problem and someone complained, or if they deliberately surveyed customers to collect their opinions. Today, an automotive dealership can gather feedback online, whether through formal surveys or simply by reading what people say in reviews.
By monitoring and tracking what customers say about you in reviews and social commentary, you can spot trends in how customers feel about you and respond in near real-time. You can also use online surveys to measure customer sentiment about specific aspects of the customer experience. Armed with knowledge of how customers feel about your dealerships or service centers, you can begin to make changes to improve sentiment. Doing so helps turn your customers into advocates for your business.
Enhance Visibility, Engagement and Sentiment for the Win
Automotive businesses can excel in the feedback economy if they don’t shy away from customer feedback but instead embrace it. The opinions and experiences customers share online hold the keys to creating a winning strategy for increasing visibility, engaging meaningfully with consumers and improving customer sentiment — and, ultimately, driving more revenue for your business.