Renault have adopted a new service which allows customers to share experiences at each of Renault’s network of dealerships. Following the purchase of a new Renault or after visiting an aftersales department, customers will be contacted by Renault’s Customer Satisfaction team and asked about the experience. Renault says “the new transparent system will allow customers to see the previous performance of the dealership and will promote the high level of customer experience enjoyed by customers”.
So how important are customer reviews for other prospective customers whether buying a car or needing a service?
90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know, 70% trust opinions of unknown users.
David Johnson of Persuasive Concepts states that one peer recommendation is worth 200 traditional media impressions.
The benefits of a customer review is that it helps other prospective customers make a more informed choice. If a customer provides a review saying the experience with their dealer was great, the trust then builds with other prospects who read his or her review. It is a proven psychological affect that people assume the actions of others reflect correct behaviour within a purchase situation.
To put it simply, reviews provide social proof. We live in a time where we put a lot of emphasis on what other people are saying before doing business. Reviews are particularly important when we are uncertain what choices to make, for example when we find ourselves in unfamiliar situations.
A good example of advocacy is Ford’s Fiesta agents, normal people who act as brand advocates, carrying a positive message that they update on social media platforms. They share information about a brand and act as a resource for potential customers to engage with.
MINI too have taken what Renault are doing a step further. Halliwell Jones Southport MINI have included the customer rating scale in the picture above on the first page of their homepage. It immediately enables the potential customer to view how this dealer is doing. It reveals comments that were made by the public, good and bad.
Dealers need to listen closely to what their customers say. It will help the dealership to identify the differences between customer perception of their service and what the dealer believes they are delivering. Managers need to make sure the organisation is clearly communicating the level of service it can deliver. Over promising and under delivering has been the failing of many businesses.
Dealers need to make it easy for their customers to leave information, whether that’s a form on the web site, a Facebook page, even a pen and paper in the dealership. Investing time in increasing the number of customer reviews will increase the number of advocates an invaluable benefit to the business.
How can a dealer listen to what is being said about their business outside of ear shot?
Google alerts is a good tool for this, it automatically notifies the user when new content is published that mentions the dealer’s name or manufacturer for instance. Links to these publications can then be sent directly to the user’s e-mail to read and review.
It can be particularly useful to follow reviews so you can engage a customer that posts a negative opinion and thank customers that left positive ones. Setting up a monitoring service means the dealer can react quickly to good and bad news.
If you want to start to encourage an increase in your customer reviews and harness them into your car dealer marketing strategy check out some tips fromDavid Johnson’s Next Generation Dealer Services.
Positive reviews ultimately helps sell more cars, a benefit that no dealer would want to discourage.