Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of That Bad Review

If you’ve recently received a few bad online reviews from previous customers, you may be worried about the potential impact to your online reputation. At first glance, a negative online review can seem like a curse just waiting to spiral your dealership into loss after loss. But, upon second look, a bad review or two can actually be little blessings in disguise. As a car dealership focusing on sales and customer satisfaction, it may seem daunting to deal with your first few bad reviews. Positive reviews reflect the happiness of your customers and the efficacy of your sales team, and negative reviews appear to reflect the exact opposite. In reality, a negative review is an opportunity for you to show your true colors to your customers - one that can help you improve your overall reputation and earn you more repeat business. Interested in learning how? Read more below!

Not All Bad Reviews Are Created Equally

Each and every bad review that pops up online is different, and treating them all the same can be one of the worst things you can do. Picture this: a customer leaves a bad review that says the following:

“When it was time for my 15 year old car to get an upgrade, I came into this dealership looking for a trade in. The sales team wasted my team with a low ball offer and I know my ride is worth more than that. Do NOT take your trade ins or sales to this place. Do not recommend.”

At first glance, the above review definitely looks like a mark against your sales team. However, upon re-evaluation, it becomes clear that this customer may not have had a bad experience with a specific rep or service, but was rather disappointed at the low offer given to them. To you as a dealership owner, it may be hard to take negative online reviews at face value and look at them on a case by case basis. But, customers stumbling upon this bad review will be able to discern the true nature of the review itself. They’ll see that this is a personal opinion, not a generalized mistreatment by your staff, and will be careful not to give too much stock into the review. At the end of the day, all bad reviews are different and subjective, not objective, and understanding this is one of the first steps you need to take when going about dealing with them. 

A Positive Reaction To A Negative Review Can Help Improve Your Brand Image

The aforementioned example is one of a “nicer” negative review, but let’s say you get a review that looks a little something like this:

“I went into this dealership to browse car options for my sixteen year old daughter and I had the worst sales experience of my life. The car salesmen was overly pushy and wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say, the manager I asked to speak to was rude and unattentive, and the whole thing was a waste of time. I’d recommend staying away from this dealership if you’re serious about buying a car.”

In this review, it’s clear to see that the customer had a less than pleasant personal experience with your staff. For potential customers coming across this review, this little blurb can speak volumes about the way your staff treat future buyers. The impacts of the review could have damaging effects on your business - unless you take the initiative and deal with it in a positive way. Instead of ignoring the review or responding to it with something snarky, consider publicly responding to the review on the site it was posted on with a positive, caring voice. Let the customer know you are incredibly sorry for their experience, and offer up ways to make it up to them. Make it clear in your response that their experience was a rare, one-time situation, and that customers at your dealership are certainly not undervalued. By publicly reaching out to the customer, you may be able to get them to change or remove their negative review, and even if not, you’ll be able to show future customers reading it that you do actually care about providing them with a stellar experience at your shop. You are being proactive about the way customers view your business, and that will help improve your overall brand image and reputation.

Staying On Top Reviews Is The Most Crucial Step

Receiving and positively responding to negative reviews is incredibly important in ensuring a flowing stream of customer satisfaction, but staying on top of these reviews is the first vital step. The hundreds and thousands of reviews posted online can be good, bad, and somewhere in between. While they may seem irksome and irrelevant at first, the reality is that you simply can’t do business today without them. Instead of dreading negative reviews or paying them no attention, learning how to harness their power for the good of your business will help bring you closer to your customers, which will, in the end, bring you closer to improved success. From our perspective, the best way to handle bad reviews is to confront them head on and stay on top of them, which is exactly why we made this easy to do in our Lot Rep system. Now you’ll be able to manage your positive public brand persona while making sure negative reviews never “happen” to you again!