How Car Dealerships Should Respond to Negative Reviews

How Car Dealerships Should Respond to Negative Reviews

"This is the worst experience I've ever had buying a car! They are HORRIBLE!"

Ouch. A bad review of your car dealership can ruin your day and possibly hinder future business. No matter how gracious and accommodating your dealership may be, there will be times when a customer walks away unhappy and decides to share with the world their dissatisfaction by slamming your business in a negative dealership review. It could be due to a misunderstanding about pricing, additional fees, financing, etc. Or, perhaps it was unrealistically high expectations on the customer's part. Whatever the reason, your reaction to a negative review is the key in preventing future damage to your online reputation. How can you make the best of a negative review? Here are a few tips that may be helpful.

  • Do NOT ignore a bad review. That review won't be going away any time soon. It will be seen by countless consumers researching dealerships in your area. Lack of response signals a disregard for customer care.
  • Speak to your employee(s) that dealt with the customer. Determine what may have caused this customer to walk away less than satisfied.
  • If possible, use the opportunity to re-open communication with the consumer. Devise a calm response that addresses all of customer's complaints. If there were mistakes made, acknowledge them.
  • Don't berate the customer for omitting information or being less than truthful. Essentially, if they have tossed insults, don't return them in kind. Turn the other cheek and respond with any information you feel is pertinent in a calm, respectful manner.

Negative dealership reviews give positive reviews credibility. And your dealership's thoughtful response to both good and bad reviews will demonstrate that your business cares for its customers, even when they aren't easy to please.

Here is an excellent example of a dealer's response to this negative review,

We are very sorry to hear about your experience. Please know it is never our goal to deceive a customer or play any type of games. We believe our positive reviews are evidence of this fact. When you originally visited our dealership on Friday, we knew you were interested in the S80 after spending quite a bit of time with your sales person. We also knew you wanted to speak to your spouse to make sure you were making the right choice. At this point, we offered you the option to take the vehicle home on an overnight drive and put a deposit on the vehicle. We understood when you decided not to pursue this option that you had plans for the evening and planned to come back to see us the following day. When you had called your sales person the next day (Saturday) to inform him of your pending visit the vehicle in question was in the front line available for sale. Your sales person again offered you the option to put a deposit on the vehicle to make sure it was available upon your arrival. We understand that you did not feel completely comfortable doing this. Weekends are very busy in the showroom and unfortunately someone had come in the dealership to look at that specific vehicle with a different sales consultant in the hour it took for you to travel to the dealership. It is our company policy to give the customer in the vehicle the first right of refusal as we feel it is the fairest option. This type of situation does happen from time to time where we have multiple customers interested in the same vehicle. It's our goal to be able to help everyone but sometimes our limited availability prevents us from doing so. We would love the opportunity to find a similar vehicle for you and even bring the vehicle to you for your inspection. We know you invested a lot of time in the process and we feel badly about this situation. Please feel free to reach out to me directly. Best Regards, Ricky Lovering

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