How to Respond to Reviews

Managing reviews takes only a few minutes a day

You must have a plan to respond to reviews because good reviews are money in the bank. Don’t believe me?  According to Podium, a leading interaction and localized reputation management company, when a prospective customer sees a good Google review, they are 38% more likely to visit your location and 29% more likely to consider buying from you.

Now for the reviews.  Basically, there are 4 types of reviews you will encounter on social media sites:

  1. Positive Reviews – The “We love you!” reviews
  2. Negative Reviews – Grrr, but there is something to learn here
  3. Neutral Reviews – Wishy-washy requires a response all its own
  4. Fake Reviews – These are a pain, but the reality of our world today

Positive Reviews

We love these reviews!  They give us a lift and let everyone know how well we did.  But there is an art and logic to how you should respond. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Thank the customer.  Reinforce what they said to emphasize the good points and let them know that you are pleased to hear that your hard work is paying off.
  2. Use keywords that are relevant to your site, but keep it light since no one likes overkill.  Obvious keywords are your dealership name, location, car models, service bay, parts, etc. If you need help, contact us.
  3. Mix it up.  Don’t use the same response every time.  Take the opportunity to emphasize something your dealership does that makes it unique (playing on keywords too).  For example, talk about your service bay, a new model you have in stock, or mention the cities and towns you cover to let everyone know who you serve.
  4. Let everyone know about your reviews.  If you get a great Google My Business review, put it out on other social media and vice versa.  Play it up; it’s free advertising!

Negative Reviews

These reviews are hard on the spirit.  They are no joke, but if you want your dealership to thrive, you must respond with mental judo, turning a negative into a positive.  Look at the negative review as an opportunity. 70% of unhappy customers will buy from you again if you fix their problem. So here’s what you need to do:

  1. If you are upset, wait, and then respond.  I would suggest that you grab a drink first, but that’s probably a little off the PC track.  😉
  2. Stay on message.  You are representing your dealership and you are writing for those who read your review and not just the reviewer.  
  3. Take the high road and apologize and ask the reviewer to contact your dealership or you personally to solve the problem.  Use language that suggests that this problem is unusual such as “We must have been having a bad day. Let us fix it for you.”.  
  4. Always bring positives back into the mix.  Talk about what you do right when you can along with your apologies and other mea culpas.
  5. And, finally, and most importantly, learn from the review.  Look for patterns. We found that one of our customers would have 5 good reviews and then a horrible one.  5/5 and then 1/5. In reading through the review it was clear that the dealer had someone on staff that was a problem.  Look for these things and fix them, even if they involve you, BECAUSE THEY ARE COSTING YOUR DEALERSHIP MONEY.

Neutral Reviews

Neutral reviews should be viewed about the same as negative reviews, since they signal to a reader that you didn’t create a happy customer.  So, think of neutral reviews like light-weight negative reviews with a bit of happiness thrown in:

  1. No matter what, start with a positive and thank the customer.  This let’s everyone know that you care and appreciate their feedback.  
  2. Don’t dwell on the negative, but pull the positive aspects of the review to the front by quasi-repeating it.  Use this as an opportunity to apologize like you need to do with negative reviews.
  3. Finally, invite the reviewer to contact you to see how you can improve and tell them that they are welcome in your dealership any time.  Be welcoming. It pays off!

Fake Reviews

To me, these reviews can be the most painful, especially with Google My Business, because their system for logging fake reviews is suboptimal at best.  But, in general, here’s what you should do:

  1. Check out the social media platforms FAQs or information on how to handle fake reviews.  Follow the instructions to a T and file your report.  
  2. Never say anything negative… but if the platform doesn’t have a workable option, then just note that you don’t have a record of doing business with the individual and ask them to contact you to clear up the confusion.
  3. Keep your review factory going.  If you do not have a review management process, check out this article I wrote a little while ago.  It was written for Google My Business, but applies to almost any social media platform and serves well as a sister article to this post.

Parting Advice

That’s it.  My parting advice is that you should always:

  1. Keep your cool
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Keep your responses short and to the points above

And make sure you have a process in place for generating new and positive reviews. Again, check out How to Get Better Google Reviews for instructions on how to get that process going if you don’t already have one.