If you don’t have a process in place for managing your reviews, you are potentially costing yourself lost leads and money. A high volume of good reviews with great responses is one of the simplest and cheapest ways you can use to attract people to your showroom or service bay. Google loves them as does the rest of social media that uses reviews.
Here are a few simple facts to consider: nearly 88% of all consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a business and 72% of consumers say that positive reviews improve their trust in a business. As you know all too well, trust from your customers is money in the bank so good reviews are critical to your dealership’s success.
Let’s look at what you need to do for Google My Business (GMB) in particular. There are two paths to follow, with a series of steps in between.
Path 1 – Get On Google, Read and Respond to Your Reviews
Step 1 – If you have not done it yet, setup or claim your Google My Business Account
You have two options in this step: Set up your GMB account or claim it if it exists, but you don’t control it. Google has outlined the steps for taking either action very clearly in this help doc.
Step 2 – Read and respond to your reviews
- Take a deep breath, grab a drink and read your reviews.
- Respond to each review in a positive way no matter how irritated you might get. Here’s what you should do:
- Good Reviews: Thank the reviewer saying anything you can remember about them and your interaction. Every 3-5 reviews subtly plug something about your business. Use keywords that are relevant to your business such as “used cars” (if you sell them), your location, etc. For example, you could say: “We’re so happy that you had a great experience when you got the oil changed on your Ford Explorer.” Note that I described the customer’s state of mind, what they got done, and identified the type of vehicle. This response helps with keyword maximization and provides the type of detailed response that prospective customers (and Google!) will like.
- Blah Reviews: Same strategy as above, but indicate that you would love to know how to make them feel better or solve their problem. Use this as an opportunity to ask them to contact you so you can help them.
- Bad Reviews: NO MATTER WHAT, do not get defensive. Indicate that you wish things could have been better and ask them to contact you to resolve the issue. Also, AND VERY IMPORTANT, look for patterns in the bad reviews. You customer reviews are a great way for you to learn what you and your team are doing right… and wrong. If there is a repeated negative theme, address it in your business. That pattern is costing you money.
Ok, with the first round of work done, let’s look at the process that you will need to follow moving forward. Please know that this same process can be used for Facebook or other social media sites that allow customers to leave reviews.
Path 2 – Managing Your Google My Business Reviews
Step 1 – Setup a process for taking photos and sending them to your customers
It is very important to establish a process to take photos of your customers when they are happiest, such as after they buy a car or get their car serviced when it was giving them problems. Take the photos with your happy customers either standing by themselves or with one of your staff in the photo with them. Do your best to take photos with good lighting so are clear and bright. Get everyone to smile by telling a joke. Ask for your customers’ email addresses before they leave and let them know that you will be emailing them the photo along with a request for a review.
Step 2 – Draft a simple email including the following and send it to your customer
- Include the photo in the email. Photos make your review email more personal and encourage a feeling of reciprocity from your customer to supply a review since you took the time to send them a photo within a thank you email. Including a photo takes a bit of work. Most critical is that you need to reduce the size of the photo so that it sends easily via email. If you have photo editing software and know how to use it, perfect! If not, there are a bunch of free software options online. One I found, that is very easy to use, is SimpleImageResizer.com. All you need to do is upload your image, set the width to 640, click resize, and then download the image.
- Create your email. This email is critical. Both the email Subject and email should be polite, direct, and encourage a response from the recipient. Here is one example to consider:
Subject: Please let the World Know How Happy You Are with Us!
Dear [First Name]:
I hope all is well. Here is the photo we took of you you when you bought your car yesterday.
Our business, XYZ Dealership, lives and breaths on good reviews from our customers.
I’m writing to you today to ask if you’d be willing to leave a quick online review about [name specifically what you did for the customer. Examples include: “…your recent car purchase” or “…the recent servicing of your car at our dealership”, etc.].
If you had a great experience, please let everyone know by following this link to Google My Business Reviews.
Or, if for some reason you don’t want to share your experience or are not satisfied, please respond to this email and we’ll contact you immediately. We are in business to create satisfied customers and we want to know how you feel..
[Your First Name]
- Next, send the email ASAP. These emails need to be sent while your customers’ experience with you is fresh in their minds. That means send the email 1-2 days afterwards. Otherwise, your review response rate drops significantly.
Step 3 – Take 10 minutes to read and respond to your reviews daily
Just like we told you in Step 2 of Path 1, you need to read and respond to your reviews regularly. Don’t skip out! Whatever the review, you must respond as I outlined above. And, remember, if it is a bad review, contact the customer immediately. Your contacting them will show that you care and will likely reduce the likelihood that they will go elsewhere to spread bad reviews.
It is clear that getting better Google reviews is not rocket science. You don’t need any serious technical skills or knowledge. You just need to take nice photos, follow up with your customers right away via email, handle complaints quickly, and review and post responses to your reviews regularly. That’s it! Rinse and repeat every day and watch your reviews grow!