Knowing what your customers are saying about you online, whether positive or negative, can help improve business success in many ways. Positive comments can be used for marketing purposes, either by sharing online reviews and social media posts, or even taking aggregate scores (or star ratings) and shouting about them on your website and marketing materials.
Negative reviews can be used to improve the way your business operates. Monitoring and responding to these comments can also enhance your reputation, as a previously unhappy customer can feel valued if their concerns are addressed. Even a simple, public response can help turn a negative review into a positive, as it demonstrates your business’s commitment to your customers’ happiness.
Where are your customers talking about you?
There is a myriad of websites, forums, social networks and more where your customers can write, post and share comments about the products and service received at your car dealership. In our Customer Services eBook we cover some of these in greater detail, so download your free copy to ensure you don’t miss any. A few examples include Google, Facebook, AutoTrader and Yelp.
You should be checking as many of these as possible and responding to both positive and negative comments alike. Engaging with your customers keeps your business in the forefront of their memories when it comes to buying a new car, booking a service or renewing a financial aftercare product. It can also be a great place to win more custom or retain an unsatisfied customer by reassuring them their comments have been taken on board and, if appropriate, offering an incentive to return.
How to respond to negative reviews and comments
Before the internet, word of mouth was how negative reviews spread and had an impact on car retailers. While customers do still discuss both negative and positive customer service experiences, the internet has provided a platform for them to publish their opinions to a much wider audience, and for those opinions to be available online for a long time. In our previous blog, we looked at the impact of the digital age on customer service, which you can read here.
The importance of responding to negative comments cannot be overstated. Always ensure your initial response is public and posted on the same platform as the review. Ideally, this will be done as a Reply on Twitter or Facebook, for example. This reply can be as simple as an apology and an explanation of how their complaint will be dealt with as well as how that customer can pursue an outcome. Further conversation can then be conducted privately, to protect the customer’s personal information.
As always, ensure you use the same tone of voice you would if speaking to that customer in person. Those who post online about their dissatisfactory encounter with a business can be much more confident in their opinion than they would be in person and, on occasion, a minority may resort to angry and sometimes verbally abusive language. No matter how the customer phrases their dissatisfaction, you should always use a friendly, informative tone. Try to get to the root cause of an unhappy customer’s frustration and offer a way to deal with the issues they have brought to your attention.
Further information on online customer service can be found in our latest eBook: Customer Service – Essential to Success