This should be no surprise to anyone. Car shoppers today are a savvy bunch. Before they step into a dealership, the consumer is likely to have done their homework; researching what vehicle fits their needs and where to shop. They ask family, friends and co-workers what they like about their cars and where they bought. Another resource that has gained influence with consumers is online reviews. To some extent, dealerships lack control over the information that influences consumers; however, you CAN endeavor to ensure that your online reviews reflect an overall positive experience that invites consumers to give your dealership a shot at earning their business.
True or false? The majority of online reviews are submitted by disgruntled consumers with unreasonable expectations. We can attest that this statement is false! The Edmunds Reviews Team analyzed a one-month period of dealership reviews posted on Edmunds.com, and found that over 90% of the reviews published were positive reviews for either the sales or service department, and the most common title for any review was "Great Experience." Here are some of the findings from our analysis to illuminate what qualities and experiences motivate consumers to write a 5-star review.
Many consumers begin by stating that they did not anticipate enjoying the purchasing process, or were even dreading it, but go on to use these keywords and phrases repeatedly to describe their experience:
- No-pressure, didn't feel rushed
- They listened to me
- Quick and painless — the dealership made the process easy
- Quick and clear communication (email or in-person)
- No games
- Final price was exactly as negotiated (no last-minute surprises)
- Professional and polite salesperson
- Attentive to customer's needs
- Salesperson went above & beyond — locating a specific vehicle, delivering vehicle to customer, staying after hours, etc.
Customers notice and mention the little extras offered by the dealership or salesperson — a cold beverage on a warm day, Wi-Fi, activities to entertain children, fresh-baked cookies, and massages/manicures frequently merit a mention. The primary goal may be to make the sale, but don't forget that the path to that end result is just as important. We also see positive reviews where the consumer did not purchase, but still felt compelled to submit a review because of the exceptional experience.
Finally, if you feel you've provided your customer with a first-rate experience, ask for the review. When sending a follow up email after the sale, include a link to your dealership page on Edmunds.com. Doing so provides a quick, no-hassle route for them to add their recommendation and enhance your online reputation.
Consumers trust Edmunds.com more than any other source in automotive for customer reviews, according to a recent study by Maritz Research. In fact, Edmunds.com was named one of the four most trusted review sites overall, along with TripAdvisor, Zagat and OpenTable. We've earned this trust by maintaining rigorous standards for authenticity and objectivity in our content and by evaluating every review against those standards before it is published.
2014 was a stellar year for dealership reviews here at Edmunds. Our published reviews almost doubled from 2013 and 2015 looks to be on its way to surpassing 2014! Here is an example of one of the many outstanding reviews published for one of our Five-Star Dealer Partners on Edmunds.
Congrats to all of the dealerships who, in making great efforts to deliver an outstanding consumer experience, have earned the Edmunds.com Five Star Dealer Award!
*To get more tips on tips on how best to engage and benefit from our Dealer Ratings & Reviews, feel free to contact your Edmunds representative, and visit our Edmunds.com Dealer Resource Center at http://www.edmunds.com/dealers/