In the competitive field of automotive sales, any tactics you can use to set yourself apart from your rivals are welcome. One tool that you might already have at your disposal, but is currently under-utilized, is online business reviews. On their face, they might not seem like much, but they can help improve customer trust, boost your standings in local SEO, and help you stand out among the many dealerships in your area. Below are seven business review hacks that will help give your business the upper hand.

1. Ask for business reviews

This might seem too obvious, but the best way to increase the number of online business reviews for your dealership is to just ask. The odds are your happiest customers might not think to leave a review, but if you prompt them to do so by asking – especially if you make the process as painless as possible – they most likely will oblige.

2. Make it easy

The second best way to secure business reviews is to make it easy – not just for your customers to fill out, but for your salespeople to send. Using an online review management platform like the one offered by Podium gives you the best of both worlds. It enables invitations to be sent via text message, while also allowing your customers to fill out a review via whatever review platform they already have access to, eliminating many of the barriers that previously existed.

3. Engage reviewers

It’s important to maintain an open line of communication between you and your customers. And what better way to show that you are listening and care about customer feedback than responding to online reviews. This is especially important for negative reviews. To effectively respond to a customer who has had a bad experience you should first and foremost apologize. Then follow up with a proactive way to right the wrong. This will show that you value feedback and are willing to take action when someone has a bad experience.

4. Repurpose reviews

Businesses that aren’t utilizing their online reviews across the entire marketing mix are missing out on a huge opportunity. Savvy businesses are using online reviews in print, on their blogs, across their websites, and even on billboards. Just because these business reviews originated online doesn’t mean they have to stay there.

5. Increase reach with local SEO

Online reviews can dramatically impact a business’ positioning in local SEO. Generally, a business that meets Google’s algorithm requirements can appear in the Map Pack. According to Moz, it is estimated that review signals like review quantity, review velocity, and review diversity make up about 8.4% of Google’s total local search algorithm.

6. Build trust & loyalty

Right or wrong, car salespeople sometimes get a bad wrap, but much of that can be mitigated by positive online reviews. According to BrightLocal, 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Because of this, online business reviews can go a long way toward building consumer trust as they decide which dealership to give their business.

7. Gain real-time insights

Online reviews can help you make more educated business decisions because you will be receiving up-to-date information about your operations and in turn your employee performance. With Podium, your business’ feedback process is seamless, instant, and informing. Stop the guesswork and get the ability to see and report on every review your business gets in real time.

Max Steckler
Max Steckler Head of Strategic Automotive Partnerships

Max Steckler, is an auto professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects auto dealerships and businesses with their customers.

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