WALTHAM, Mass. – DealerRater, the world’s premier car dealer review web site, today announced that since enrolling in the DealerRater® Certified Dealer Program in 2011, overall 2013 Dealer of the Year Winner Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, has built its online reputation into a critical competitive advantage in the Detroit Chrysler market. Customers now often walk into the showroom indicating that they chose to work with Shuman based on the reviews that they have read on DealerRater.
Situated in Walled Lake, Michigan, Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram plays in a highly competitive market with approximately 50% of their consumer base representing employees or friends/family of employees at the neighboring Chrysler manufacturing plant. For years the dealership focused efforts on being a leader in SSI and CSI. However, in early 2011 it realized that its online reputation was taking shape on its own by means of a handful of unhappy customers that were prone to provide feedback on third-party online review sites.
Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram began focusing on building reviews on Google and Yelp. However, after encountering a number of challenges in getting reviewers to successfully post reviews on those sites, the dealership sought additional options. Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram became interested in DealerRater because of its exclusive focus on reviews of auto dealers. It quickly enrolled in the DealerRater® Certified Dealer Program with the goal of becoming the top rated Chrysler dealer in Michigan. This was not without its challenges; the dealership began with just four reviews on DealerRater, three of which described a negative experience. “We had consistently earned top ratings in SSI and CSI for years, yet our online consumer ratings were low since only a few dissatisfied customers were posting reviews,” said Bob Shuman, Principal Owner.
In order to help encourage sales staff to integrate DealerRater into their sales process, Bob Shuman and Shuman General Manager, Joe Zeigler, stressed the importance of third-party reviews at daily sales meetings. “We set the expectation that employees should aim for a verbal agreement from the customer for a review on DealerRater after each sale. To reward positive results, we began emailing five-star reviews to the employees tagged in that review, along with a personal note recognizing the importance of that achievement. We copied all employees on these emails, encouraging the team to strive for great reviews,” Shuman stated.
The next step was to reach out to customers to request reviews from multiple angles. The dealership implemented several DealerRater tools, including the display of DealerRater promotional table tents and also handed out rating reminder cards to customers. Sales employees were trained to share the dealership’s DealerRater Dealer Review Page with customers during sales visits. The sales team also added a link to Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram’s Review Page to their email signatures so that all follow-up correspondence included a subtle reminder to write a review.
The dealership also integrated their DealerRater reviews and impressive online ratings into their marketing strategy with a simple message: “Don’t take our word for it, check us out on DealerRater.com.”
This marketing slogan is incorporated into all online, radio and print marketing campaigns as well as throughout their dealership web site.
Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram invites all customers to post on DealerRater, whether it reflects a positive or negative experience. “We firmly believe that our credibility on DealerRater has grown because we are not afraid to have a negative post here and there,” says Shuman. “It only lends credibility to the hundreds of positive reviews that we have built.” When negative reviews appear on DealerRater, the dealership consistently responds in a way that directly addresses the customer’s complaint. It also takes advantage of DealerRater’s 14-day private reconciliation period before consumers’ negative reviews are posted live on the site by providing empathetic private and public responses. The dealership has found that such responses turn a significant number of negative reviews into positive ones, and that their responses demonstrate to the public that they are serious about addressing customer satisfaction concerns.
Utilizing DealerRater’s Push™ tool, the dealership has grown its review count on other third-party review sites, in addition to DealerRater. Satisfied customers have been sharing their DealerRater reviews on other review sites like Google+ and Cars.com, giving the dealership an even greater online presence without specifically targeting those sites.
By leveraging the tools of the DealerRater Certified Dealer Program, Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram now has nearly 1,000 lifetime reviews and an overall star rating of 4.9. These results have earned Shuman the status of Overall 2013 Dealer of the Year, as well as Dealer of the Year national status for all four of their brand categories. Shuman has also been able to differentiate the dealership from other local competitors through its service department, garnering over 185 positive service-related reviews.
DealerRater was founded in 2002 as the first car dealer review website worldwide. DealerRater is the world’s #1 online resource for anyone seeking trusted third-party information on automobile dealerships. DealerRater features nearly 40,000 U.S. and Canadian car dealers, nearly 1,000,000 consumer reviews and over 1 million cars for sale. DealerRater attracts more than 9.5 million consumers every year who visit the site to search for car dealerships, read reviews, write their own descriptive reviews, and find car deals – all for free.