I’ve talked in past blogs about how service departments, while the top revenue producers in most dealerships, are typically the least visible in marketing – whether that’s traditional, digital, or even on the dealership’s website.
Well, while it is important to ensure a healthy online presence for your service department, there is one key component that needs further discussion as I have not yet mentioned it very much — online review sites. It is of vital importance as they are in fact the largest consumer influencer in deciding where to service their vehicle.
Would you hire a contractor to fix your roof without checking their reviews? What about something as small as buying a new toaster? These days, most consumers search the web for information about whatever it is they are looking for to see what other people have to say about it prior to making a final decision. And that holds true in the automotive industry both in sales AND service. Yet most dealerships focus review-building efforts on the sales side, even though their service drive sees anywhere from 4 to 10 times the number of customers every day.
According to marketing agency, Vendasta, 92 percent of consumers now read online reviews – up from 88 percent in 2014. An ongoing review strategy is very important as 44 percent stated that a review must have been written within a month of their looking at it in order to be relevant!
And, perhaps even more important, 23 percent will visit the business after reading positive reviews. Imagine if close to 25 percent of all people looking to get their car serviced in your area chose you… that would make for a pretty strong customer acquisition effort, wouldn’t you agree?
Online reviews in general help your dealership’s overall reputation. By asking both sales and service customers for reviews you exponentially increase the number of reviews consumers can read. If a positive experience was had, your star rating on Google and other sites will increase, which benefits all departments in the dealership.
When it comes to vehicle service, there are three primary concerns a consumer will have: 1) Are they going to spend more than at another shop; 2) Will the experience be good; and 3) Can they trust your dealership not to upsell unnecessary repairs?
So, keep these in mind and work on these points. Cultivate positive experiences and then ask your customers to leave reviews about their service experiences. As a result, that anonymous customer seeking a place to service their vehicle will be more likely to see current reviews, trust them and bring their business to you, over a competitor.
Author: Tim Clay
Tim Clay, Chief Revenue Officer, Confident Financial Solutions. Tim Clay is Chief Revenue Officer with Confident Financial Solutions, a consumer finance company that offers an auto repair financing program for service centers and their customers. Clay has more than twenty years of experience in the automotive retail space and is a graduate of NADA Dealer Candidate Academy. Previously, he was COO and Co-Founder of ClickMotive, an automotive technology company. He has instrumented one successful automotive startup exit and one successful medical company exit.