Published 24 Oct 2019
This article was originally published in the Autofile Magazine - July 2019 issue.
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There are endless statistics that can be found locally and globally about the power of customer reviews, and how much they influence consumers’ buying journeys and purchasing decisions.
But the sources I take the most notice of are the ones directly from dealerships when customers have told them first-hand how important the reviews of their businesses were.
Some recent feedback I received from multiple dealerships, which was given to them by buyers during their vehicle purchases, further highlights and supports the power of customer reviews.
By now, we all know that most of the time potential customers narrow their choice of vehicles down to a few traders, and during this process they start to look to see what more they can learn about the dealerships in the form of ratings and reviews.
In these cases, it was businesses’ BuyerScore ratings and reviews that played a key role in the dealerships even getting to the customer’s final choice of which one to engage with and purchase from.
As an example, in one such case the customer had transferred for work from Auckland to Christchurch, and made a quick purchase of a vehicle from a trader in his new hometown.
After asking the consumer why a certain dealership was chosen, the reply received was “because of what all your customers have said about you on BuyerScore”.
Unless you own a dealership that specialises in unique, rare or uncommon vehicles, the chances are you sell similar cars to other traders at nearby locations. That means you need to leverage whatever you can to increase the probability of being chosen.
Customer reviews, especially from verified buyers – the ones who have purchased from you – hold an incredibly valuable place in your business, and play a very important role now and in the future.
The dealerships out there that get it, really do get it and they are laying foundations for future success.
If your business doesn’t get it – or doesn’t yet value the importance of reviews for both internal insight and external leverage – then you seriously need to think about your relevance as it becomes an expectation of potential customers.
If you don’t want to know what your clients think about your dealership and their experience in purchasing from you, you then can’t complain when sales go down.
Care about what your customers think, embrace it, improve on it, celebrate it and then leverage the hell out of it to influence future prospective buyers.
Also embrace the odd negative review that comes through. It’s hard to be perfect in every customer’s eyes because ratings and reviews are subjective at the end of the day.
There will also be the time someone drops the ball and the customer has a bad experience.
These occasional – and I stress occasional – bad reviews actually help establish even more authenticity around your business and that mistakes can happen.
But just like replying with thanks to all positive reviews, replying with some empathy and context around a negative review builds even more credibility and trust in future customers’ eyes.
Whatever your reviews tell you about your business, think about how they can influence others – both positively and negatively.
You need to fix any negative influences fast because the chances are high that the negative aspects are what not only decrease purchasing customers’ experiences, but how they may influence the ones that engaged with your dealership and didn’t purchase.
It could be something so simple to fix, but it’s costing you two, three, five or 10 sales per month.
Remember that all customers who arrive at your dealership are yours to lose. The conversion success of every opportunity your dealership has experienced is heavily influenced by a combination of factors when price is one of the smallest contributors.
Reviews are powerful today. However, that power will only exponentially grow in the years to come.
The Motorcentral blog is intended for educational purposes only. All writers opinions are their own and nothing published on this blog should be interpreted as a recommendation or advice in any way. Motorcentral is also not responsible for and does not verify accuracy of any of the information contained within this blog.
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