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Dealers warned of damage to reputation and lost sales in ignoring bad online reviews

Karen McKenzie Dragon2000

Too many dealers handle bad reviews inappropriately, resulting in a damaged reputation and loss of potential customers.

According to recent research from search agency BrightLocal, more people are reading reviews on a regular basis (50% vs. 33% in 2015), with 91% of consumers regularly, or occasionally, reading online reviews. Only 9% of consumers don’t read online reviews.

According to Dragon2000, as reviews are becoming increasingly influential, it is essential that dealers handle bad reviews is a professional manner, so they send the right message out to prospective customers.

Karen McKenzie (pictured), operations manager for the software provider, said: “Bad reviews are a fact of life and no dealership can keep everybody happy, all of the time.

“The important thing to remember is that potential customers will read how a dealer has responded to a bad review, as it gives consumers a clear indication of how complaints are handled. 

“If a bad review is ignored by a dealer, or they respond in an inappropriate or unprofessional way, prospective customers will understandably form a poor opinion of the dealership.  How a dealer handles a bad review can be potentially more damaging then the review itself.

“Online reviews bring a great opportunity for dealers to enhance their reputation online and convince potential customers to get in touch. In fact, reviews are one of the most powerful marketing channels to help drive sales. Reviews and star ratings give dealers ‘social proof’ which helps car buyers refine their research and make quicker decisions, on which local dealers they will contact.

“Good reviews can also be used across all marketing channels including press, online and outdoor advertising; across social media and on dealer websites.

“Reviews can be very powerful, and if successfully incorporated in to a Google AdWords campaign, they can help dealers to increase click-through rates and boost conversions.”

The BrightLocal survey also shows that 84% of people trust online reviews, as much as a personal recommendation, 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business and 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. 

A further 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important.

Google recently took the step of displaying reviews and ratings from trusted third-party review sites within a businesses’ ‘local knowledge panel’, which appear underneath the information that has been submitted to the Google Business Page, titled ‘reviews from the web’.

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