What happens to a car dealership when its average review rating jumps by a full star? To find out, we asked Victor Quintanilla, Business Development Director at Carizma Motors in Lubbock, Texas.
Maintaining a positive online reputation can be stressful for buy-here-pay-here lots like Carizma. In June 2019, Victor and his team were facing a 2.9 average star rating. Victor had used Podium at a previous employer. “I knew we wanted to get our reviews up to par, and Podium had done that for us at my last dealership,” he told us.
Although Victor knew that the majority of his customers were leaving happy, he found that the unhappy minority were the ones leaving the most reviews. He realized that part of the problem was that they weren’t asking customers for reviews until after they had already left the lot. The process was broken. Luckily, he had already found the solution at his previous job.
Texting at every checkpoint.
With Podium, Victor and his team have made the review invite part of the buying process. Since they’re already using Podium to text the customer, they now send them a review invite while they’re still at the Carizma car lot. This new approach started paying off quickly. Carizma went from an average rating of 2.9 stars to 4.0 in just three months—not to mention they more than doubled the number of their total reviews.
“The more five-star reviews you have, the more organic leads you get,” Victor told us. “I’m all about organic leads.” That said, leads only turn into revenue if you can capture them and provide a convenient buying experience. Before Podium, Carizma was having a hard time converting web traffic into foot traffic.
Turning leads into deals with messaging.
In the past, Victor’s team had tried a different solution for capturing leads. “It wasn’t as interactive,” he told us. “Yes, customers could text us 24/7, but they were really texting a third party who didn’t know what was happening on our lot.”
From July to August, Carizma doubled their total number of units sold from 30 units to 60. When we spoke with Victor halfway through September, they had already hit 60 units—25% of which came from Podium leads.
“In the car business,” Victor told us, “it’s all about the follow-up. It’s about that text.” Because Victor is responsible for training and managing salespeople at three different stores, he uses Podium to ensure that conversations between his reps and their customers are up-to-par. Because, the ultimate goal for Carizma isn’t only to collect 5-star reviews, but also to win lifelong customers.