By Ryan Leslie
DealerRater wants to know: What is “Your Reputation?”
No amount of money invested with a Reputation Management vendor can undo the results of a pattern of poor customer experiences at the dealership. There is no distinction between an online and offline reputation, both parts make up the whole. As an example, the negative online results of a “Bait & Switch” or “just get ‘em in” mentality in the store can’t possibly be managed by an outside vendor because they are powerless to fix the source of the problem.
There are 3 P’s you need to consider when it comes to your dealership’s Reputation Management strategy:
• Your dealership’s reputation is yours to Protect:
You protect your online reputation in the store and in your digital interactions. Management must set standards for customer experience, online and off, and hold the team accountable to those standards. The common opinion — the way in which people think about your dealership — must be an internal priority worth protecting.
• Your dealership’s reputation is yours to Preserve:
You preserve your reputation with a solid process to request reviews from your happy customers. You also preserve your reputation by closely monitoring the reviews you receive, responding to negatives, and addressing any opportunities for improvement. Legitimate negative reviews often result from a breakdown in process. Your store management must hold your team accountable to your expected standards of performance.
• Your dealership’s reputation is yours to Promote:
Promoting who you are as an organization starts in the dealership, it ALWAYS has! Long before the Internet era, who you are drove what you did and what you did defined who you are! The internet era has magnified, and in some ways accelerated the importance of who you are as an organization to the consumer. Consumers recognize that they have a choice and they want to work with only the best. They can eliminate you from their search based on the information they find about you online. Your reputation, what others think of you, is an important differentiation between you and your competitors that are also vying for the customer’s business. It is worthy of your promotion, both online and off.
You can never outsource who you are. Any vendor involvement should be secondary to your own. Some vendors provide valuable tools to help you strategically manage your reputation online, but at the end of the day, it is YOUR reputation to Protect, Preserve and Promote.
Ryan Leslie, Director of Dealer Reputation Strategy, can be reached at [email protected].