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].