Increasing consumer trust with dealer reviews

Cars.com is getting ready for the Big Game this February, and we’re giving you the chance to win prizes every week at WhosGotGame2012.com!  Each week, we’re featuring a different character representing potential car shoppers Cars.com could be reaching through our ad in the Big Game, as well as asking how you would convert similar shoppers into purchasers at your store.

This week’s character is Brendan, a self-proclaimed “expert” who is skeptical about salespeople and thinks he knows better.  Let’s take a look at how you can solicit feedback from past customers about the great experiences they had at your dealership and use those recommendations to shift Brendan’s perception of your level of expertise and increase his trust in your store.

  • Ask!

Buying a car is exciting!  Make the most of a customer’s excitement by asking them to review their experience as you’re handing them the keys.  Make it easy for them to review your dealership by sending them home with mirror hangtags, “how did we do?” cards and links to your review sites in your follow-up e-mails.  You can also take a look at your CRM system for satisfied past purchasers and reach out to them to see if they would be willing to write a review.  It’s a great way to reconnect with customers you haven’t communicated with in a while.

  • Promote good feedback

Good reviews are really third-party testimonials – make sure they’re seen!  Include quotes from good customer feedback in signage around your dealership and on your website, ask happy customers if they would allow you to shoot a video of them recommending your store and post it to your web site and You Tube channel, and include links to your review sites in your lead response e-mails and other e-mail communications.

  • Treat negative reviews as opportunities

Let’s face it, not all reviews are positive.  While shoppers like Brendan may put more stock in negative reviews than positive ones, how you handle that feedback can demonstrate that you’re committed to providing good service and conducting business in a professional manner.  Always respond to negative reviews by acknowledging the customer’s feedback, then invite them to contact you privately so you can reach a resolution.  Responding publicly shows potential future customers that you care about their satisfaction, while taking the conversation offline allows you to come to a solution – or at least have a fair discussion – out of the spotlight.

Head back to Whosgotgame2012.com next week for another chance to win, and meet an all-new member of the audience Cars.com could be reaching through our commercial in the Big Game.  We’re giving away thousands of dollars in prizes, so cast your vote each week!

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