Scoring Big with Dealer Reviews

Jack Simmons

When Ricky Lopez joined Green­way Dodge in Orlan­do, Fla., in 2009 as Inter­net Sales Direc­tor, Gen­er­al Man­ag­er Con­rad Let­son asked him what the store need­ed to do to step up its game. Cus­tomer reviews were at the top of Lopez’s list giv­en their poten­tial to dif­fer­en­ti­ate Green­way in the mar­ket­place and dri­ve more busi­ness. Green­way has set a goal of acquir­ing 1,000 Cars.com Deal­er Reviews by the end of 2012, and they’re well on their way.

Here are a few of the most impor­tant com­po­nents of their suc­cess:

• Get man­age­ment buy-in. “Poten­tial cus­tomers want to know how you’ll treat them in ser­vice, in the F&I depart­ment, on the show­room floor – every­where,” said Lopez. “Con­rad got behind me 100%, and that real­ly set the tone.”

Per­haps the most impor­tant com­mit­ment from Let­son, Lopez says, was his will­ing­ness to tie rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment to com­pen­sa­tion.

• Reward review acqui­si­tion. In order to receive a bonus, each sales­per­son at Green­way must obtain three reviews per month – one of which must be on Cars.com. Ser­vice depart­ment bonus­es tied to ROs are released only when the depart­ment makes its reviews quo­ta. Lopez also insti­tut­ed spiff pro­grams to get cus­tomers engaged in the suc­cess of their favorite Green­way per­son­nel; one month, the deal­er­ship ran a con­test that offered din­ner for two at a nice restau­rant to the sales or ser­vice asso­ciate who got the most reviews.

•Han­dle neg­a­tive reviews. When one cus­tomer missed out on a used van he was inter­est­ed in, he took to Greenway’s reviews pages to com­mu­ni­cate his dis­ap­point­ment.

“He was angry that the vehi­cle was sold, and he warned oth­er cus­tomers in his review not to shop with us,” said Lopez. “It wasn’t true, but we still reached out to him imme­di­ate­ly and offered to put him in a bet­ter vehi­cle to make up for any mis­un­der­stand­ing.”

The customer’s sis­ter came with him on his return vis­it; Greenway’s response to her brother’s com­plaint and the store’s com­mit­ment to cus­tomer ser­vice gave her con­fi­dence to pur­chase a new vehi­cle as well.

“In our mar­ket, poten­tial cus­tomers can buy the vehi­cles on our lot in five oth­er places at about the same price – we all buy them from the same place, after all,” Lopez said. “The thing that sets us apart the most is our reviews.”

Check out the full case study about Greenway’s suc­cess with Cars.com Deal­er Reviews to learn more about what the deal­er­ship is doing to suc­cess­ful­ly man­age their online rep­u­ta­tion and engage cus­tomers.

Jack Sim­mons, Deal­er Train­ing Man­ag­er at Cars.com, can be reached at 800.298.1460 or [email protected].

 

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