How NOT to Handle a Bad Dealership Review

How car dealerships should handle bad reviewsMost cars come with a “check engine” light. Most people have ignored that light at some point. However, the problem that caused the light to come on in the first place generally doesn’t just go away over time. In fact, ignoring it can lead to even bigger problems. The same is often the case when dealers choose to ignore negative dealership reviews.

Since it’s virtually impossible to make every customer happy, your dealership will likely feel the sting of a bad review or two. How you handle those reviews is an extension of your customer service process and sets an expectation for the treatment customers will receive under your roof.

When Naked Lime investigates negative dealership reviews in an effort to craft the best response, we seldom encounter a situation in which no one at the dealership was aware of the problem before the customer left the building. Ignoring the bad review is likely to make customers feel like they have been wronged twice – once at the dealership and again by being ignored online, as if their experience doesn’t matter.

Avoid these other pitfalls that can make a bad review even worse:

Don’t delete. Deletion isn’t an option on most review sites, but even if the complaint appears on your own site, social media page, or another outlet you control, think twice before removing it. It is likely to reappear there or somewhere else and be even less favorable.

Don’t panic. The occasional negative review shows that you’re human and authentic, and how you respond to the review (because you will respond) speaks volumes about your integrity and the value you place on the customer experience.

Don’t copy and paste. Responding with a stock response might be simple, but it’s not effective. Investigate the circumstances and address the specific issues.

Don’t get personal. The benefit of having an outside party manage this part of your reputation is that we can get the facts and respond with a cool, clear head. Having someone without emotional involvement to help investigate and mediate can keep your dealership from appearing defensive and disrespectful to future customers reading the review.

Don’t fix it and forget it. Is there a legitimate lesson to be learned to improve future business? Maybe your process really is broken or a member of your staff actually does need further training. Take the opportunity to correct the problem, and maybe even earn the business back by thanking the customer for bringing it to your attention.

Reputation management should be more about a providing a good experience than about damage control. But, when the damage is done, having a strategy already in place to handle it can often turn a negative into a positive.