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The Importance of Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are the modern day equivalent of good old fashioned word of mouth.  We’ve all been to that party or family event where a friend or family member has gone on about how good the new restaurant in town is, or how well their new barbecue works.  The truth is, it’s in our nature to pay attention to these stories.  It’s somehow easier for us to try something new, knowing that someone else has removed some of the risk for us. Online reviews are no different.  In fact, according to this study, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.  This is the reason that reviews play such an important role in influencing our purchases or at the very least driving us to check out a website. Here are some guidelines to follow when seeking your own customer review success.

Look for opportunities to improve

On the surface it would appear that customer reviews mainly benefit other customers. While there is certainly truth to this statement, it’s really just one side of the story.   Customer reviews are also a fantastic source of information for your dealership.  In them, customers are giving you clues as to how your customer experience can be improved.  Be sure to pay special attention to patterns.  For example, several customers mentioning the same issue is a sure sign that there is an opportunity to improve.

Ask and you shall receive

Not getting very many reviews?  Try making a point of asking customers to write a review on Google.  It’s been proven that 7 out of 10 people will leave a review for a business when asked. You can have fun with this by setting a goal for yourself or your team. Try obtaining at least 3 reviews a week.  In no time you will have dozens.

How to handle negative reviews

Negative reviews should not be feared.  They should be looked at as an opportunity for your dealership to shine.  It’s important to engage with the customer that left the negative review as quickly as possible.  Also, make sure your first touch point with them is private, as opposed to trying to fix the issue publicly.  Start by thanking the customer for their feedback, then acknowledge their frustration and proceed to offer a resolution.  The goal should be not only to fix the issue, but to do so in a way that they are truly impressed with the resolution.  After handling the issue privately, you can proceed to respond to the negative post publicly.  First acknowledge the issue and then describe the resolution that took place.  Onlookers will likely be impressed with how the issue was handled and you may also find that the original one star review turns into a higher rating.

Make it a process

To truly reap the rewards of customer reviews, you will want to create a process so that reviews are handled in a uniform manner.  Start by creating a process for asking customers to leave a review (think back to the goal of collecting three a week).  From there you want to ensure that all reviews are actively being scanned for opportunities to improve.  This may be something that can be done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  Lastly, you want to ensure a process is in place for handling negative reviews.  This should take priority.

Conclusion

Customer reviews are here to stay.  In fact, their influence on the success of a business is likely to grow even more as people find new ways to share their thoughts on new and existing platforms.  Take advantage of the opportunity to better understand your customers and therefore improve your business, all by staying connected with your customer’s feedback.

Leave your comments below on your experiences with customer reviews.