Recently in a class I was teaching at Northwood University, some students asked why some dealership websites didn’t show more of their customer reviews if they are so important? “It seems like they are hiding their reviews instead of showing them off.”
I could not argue. Of the countless websites we reviewed this semester, only a few of them were proud of their customer reviews and made it easy to find them on their home page. Most others hid it in a drop down menu and even if someone located it, there was nothing exciting about the page.
Which begs the question, do customer reviews really matter?
As someone who came from the hospitality industry before my current role as CEO of PCG Companies, I always feel that customer feedback is very important to the success of a business. But maybe I am jaded because restaurants and hotels are frequented more often than a dealership in a consumer lifecycle so reviews are more necessary for the prior.
But still customer reviews have to have some validity because of the price point of the purchase. Consumers need some feedback on the dealer to make sure you will get a fair deal and a good experience. But if consumers always feel that the buying process is going to be painful anyway, or that going to one dealership versus the other is not that much different then does it really matter if there are no customer reviews to back up a dealership’s marketing claims?
I emphatically say it does.
New Customer Review Study is Out
The new Consumer Review Survey from Bright Local backs up my feelings. 20% of people say reviews for a dealership are important, and that is a 50% increase from last year. My feeling is this will only increase over time. It is a little like the chicken and the egg. If consumers don’t know there are reviews then how can they read them? But as smarter dealers are focusing on posting customer reviews, their importance to the consumer purchase process will only go up.
One of my friends recent car purchase experience reinforced my thoughts on the power of customer reviews. He told me before he went to any dealership he was going online to read dealership reviews. His thought was that he does this before every purchase he makes on amazon, or when he travels, so he expects that any company that he wants to buy something from should have reviews. If not, he doesn’t consider spending money with them.
On top of this, he took notice of one salesperson, Chris, who had the most mentions in the reviews. He eventually went to this dealership where he was greeted by a group of salespeople. He asked for Chris, the salesperson from the reviews by name. One of the group asked if he had an appointment with Chris. My friend said no he did not but wanted to speak to Chris.
This salesperson said that he could help him but my friend insisted on Chris. They asked again, why did he want to speak to Chris if he never met him or spoke to him before? My friend explained that he read about Chris multiple times in the customer reviews online
The salespeople seemed stunned. Chris came out from the back and he ended up gaining a sale. He used the power of marketing himself through his customers while his fellow salespeople waited for customers to show up
Smart businesses need to start thinking like Chris did.
Take advantage now while other dealers are still sleeping. Use the power of the hundreds of happy customers you serve each month to help your business stand out. How much easier will it be to have customers coming to your business asking for your products and services instead of your staff hoping they show up.