5 Star Reputation – Digital Experts for Independent Dealers

How to Respond to Negative Reviews Online

Online reviews are a crucial part of a user’s experience when searching the internet for a reliable used car dealer. For example, when a potential customer searches for a local term, such as “used car dealers near me,” search engines now understand that users highly value reviews when choosing to visit a nearby dealership.

One of the main ways in which customers develop trust for a business is through reading reviews of other people’s experiences, this then gives them the reassurance that other consumers have been treated well and encourages them to get in touch themselves. If negative reviews are ignored or angrily replied to then customers automatically have a poor perception of a business before they’ve even clicked on their website, picked up the phone or entered their forecourt.

Handling negative reviews effectively can be tough, so Click has compiled some advice on how best to reply to the not so positive comments about your dealership online!

Be Polite and Remain Professional

No matter how you feel about your customer or how angry you are about their online review, it’s vital to remain calm and reply in a prompt and professional manner. Even if dealers do get negative feedback, it can easily be spun into a positive by engaging with your client in a constructive fashion and showing that you’re a responsible business rather than an unreliable outfit who don’t care about customer satisfaction!

Being genuine can go a long way with customers, which makes negative reviews a fantastic opportunity to show how transparent you are in order to build trust. Everybody gets the odd bad review and nobody expects perfection online but by responding in a positive and friendly way the human effect can have a positive impact on current and potential customers, rather than leaving a sour taste in their mouths.

Keep a Cool Head and Think Before You Type

It’s utterly infuriating when you pour your heart and soul into a business and somebody trashes it online. Initial instinct is often to go on the defensive and try to fight fire with fire but if you act in the heat of the moment you’ll end up regretting it! Seriously, don’t do it!

Most people wouldn’t write your dealership off based on one negative comment. In fact a lot of customers will gain respect for your business if you reply to the comment in a friendly and helpful manner. It’s inevitable that at some point you’ll get a negative review, everybody does! But it’s worth remembering that it’s not a good idea to fly off the handle and make your business look bad. Instead use it to your advantage, say that you appreciate the person taking the time to comment and go above and beyond the call to sort out their problems.

Flip The Situation to Your Advantage

Use the negative sentiments to draw attention to your business’s positive aspects by highlighting your company’s strengths in your reply.

For example: “Hi John, Thanks for taking the time to give us some feedback. I’m sorry you feel you’ve had a bad experience. We’ve been in business for 20 years, we cater for hundreds of customers a month, and we strive to provide the best used car buying service for the people of Stoke-on-Trent.” This is a brilliant way of framing your company story whilst still making the customer’s views feel acknowledged and valued.

Keep an Eye on Closed Review Websites

Closed review websites such as Judge Service are a great tool for handling negative reviews that are potentially damaging and untrue, as if dealers can prove that they haven’t sold anything to the person who left the review then the site owner will often take them down straightaway. With these kind of websites, users must confirm that they have been a customer of a dealer before they can post a review about them, this then gives a dealer chance to check their records and spot any rogue comments. It’s sad to think that there are people in the industry who use such underhand tactics but it does go on and you don’t have to put up with it. If any review seems suspicious at all and it’s not on an open review website, it’s definitely worth querying with the platform owners as they only want legitimate reviews of businesses to be displayed.

Use an Online Reputation Management Platform

There are currently around 90 review sites on the internet, making it near enough impossible for dealers to check them all every day for reviews about their business. This means that you are susceptible to negative reviews going unnoticed and ultimately having a negative effect on your company’s reputation.

Online reputation management software now exists that monitors all UK review websites for feedback about your business. This type of system can flag up negative reviews straightaway, as soon as they are posted, so that they can be dealt with promptly and potentially turned around. An email notification is sent for every negative review in order for dealers to take action and prevent damage to their hard earned reputation.

In summary, when dealing with negative reviews it is important to remain calm, be polite and professional and if possible use it as an opportunity to shoehorn in the good work that your company has done over the years. It’s also important that dealers are aware of negative reviews and having an online reputation management product is a sure-fire way to make sure you don’t miss a trick. Reputations are hard to build up and easy to knock down, don’t bury your head in the sand and ignore negative feedback!

To find out more about how Click Dealer’s new cutting edge online reputation management system ‘Click Reputation’ can protect your dealership against negative online reviews email us at marketing@clickdealer.co.uk or give us a call today on 01782 904 715.


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