Online Reviews– The Key To Boosting Auto Dealer Sales

According to, 87 percent of consumers are influenced by positive reviews, but it only takes one negative review to cost the company 30 potential customers. Just as one positive review can reign in potential leads, one negative review can have detrimental effects on sales.


(Photo By: twobee/

In our previous blogpost about social media in the automotive industry, we briefly discussed the effects of online reputation, but the subject is so crucial to auto dealer success, we decided to dedicate an entire blog to auto dealership online reputation management.

Twenty-four percent of buyers consider online review sites to be the most helpful factor in deciding where to make purchase —

Just under one quarter of consumers find online reputation sites the most influential factor when making a decision, outweighing the number of customers who favored the company’s website– 15 percent. While this statistic may seem daunting, there are ways to maintain control and utilize these sites to your advantage.

Negative Reviews:

Eighty-six percent of consumers said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews — Dimensional Research

No matter how attentive your customer service is, there will inevitably be  dissatisfied customers. However, the simple act of responding to these negative reviews and showing customers that you are making an effort to help displeased customers can have major influence on their purchase decision.  According to Bazaarvoice, seven out of 10 reviewers said a response to a poor review from the business changed their opinion.

Once a response has been made, make sure a customer service representative contacts the displeased customer. Usually these issues can be resolved, and if you ask the customer to follow-up on their previous review, they will most likely say yes. This follow-up comment by the initial reviewer then shows other potential customers that your dealership sincerely cares about their experiences and goes above and beyond to make sure every customer is satisfied.

Ninety-six percent of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91 percent of those will simply leave and never come back  1Financial Training services

It’s important to maintain communication with the negative reviewers, but keep in mind that of those customers with bad experiences, there are that many more who share the same experiences, but don’t bother posting a review. Use these negative reviews as a learning experience and make sure to sincerely take the customer’s review into consideration. Fixing these gaps in communication and improving customer satisfaction is a great way to stop these negative reviews before they start.

Online Monitoring:

It’s important to create Google Alerts and use Twitter monitoring apps (we recommend Twilert) to stay current on what people are saying about your dealership. Also, review sites like Trustpilot allow you to create a company page and receive email alerts when someone writes a review. It’s crucial to respond back to these complaints as soon as possible– the sooner you respond, the better the customer will feel.

Promoting Positive Reviews:

If someone had a great time with your company, encourage them to share this experience on social media or a third-party review site. Maybe run a promotion where customers create a video about their positive experience with your company and could win a prize– additionally videos are a great SEO booster and will appear in search engine results before negative comments in plain text.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive:

One of the best ways to stop negative reviews from harming company’s reputation is to be proactive. Promote the positive reviews via social media. Understand the rules for posting on these third-party sites, and if a negative review does not follow the site’s protocol (e.g. does not have proof of purchase) flag the review to be taken down. Dan Sorensen, online reputation management expert, recommends creating a plan on how to best use every online platform your brand uses and staying dedicated to monitoring all of these platforms and third-party websites. The sooner you start managing your online reputation, the sooner you can begin emphasizing the five-star reviews your customers have written.