The 5 Most Common Reasons People Leave Dealers Negative Reviews

The 5 Most Common Reasons People Leave Dealers Negative Reviews

The Internet can be a cruel place.

It’s easy to write things online that you’d never say to someone’s face while you’re hiding confidently behind the shield of a screen. When you can’t see how someone else is reacting to your words, empathy and understanding get thrown out the window.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that a real person — a human who loves their dog and takes cream in their coffee and snorts when they laugh — is on the other end of what’s been written.

It’s a tough digital world out there — like when it comes to your dealership’s online reviews. A negative review can hurt or feel unjustified, and of course you take it personally (you’re a human too, after all).

Even if you’re the best dealership in the world, people are going to write negative reviews. Here are the five most common reasons for negative dealership reviews — and how to handle them when they come.

1. Bad Service

Let’s face it — no one is happy when they come in for service, so your service staff has ground to make up from the very beginning.

Your service customers are there for one of two reasons: something went wrong, or it’s time for regularly scheduled maintenance. Both things cost your customer money (and maybe a lot of it). In both scenarios, your customers have other things they’d rather be doing in the middle of the day.

So they’re already crabby, and if your service team doesn’t wave a magic wand to unveil a perfectly running vehicle in 20 minutes at low cost, they’re going to be even more irritated. A long wait or price miscommunication may send the customer straight to your Facebook page.

Remember though, sometimes the customer is right. Sometimes you will make a mistake (you and your team are human too, after all) and you’ll need to make it right.

2. High Prices

Some people just won’t like your prices, and they’ll go to social media to complain about it.

If you know you’re competitively and honestly priced, there’s not much you can do to change that — except maybe hire a digital marketing agency who can help you target to the right people (hint, hint).

3. Poor Used Vehicle Condition

There are few things that will destroy your customer’s trust more than when their recently purchased used vehicle breaks down after you assured them it was “in great condition” and was “a great deal.”

We know you can’t tell the future and may not have been aware of an issue, but it’s a great reminder of the importance of integrity when you set prices and make promises on used vehicles. We’re happy that the clients we choose to work with have that integrity — but not all do.

If you have too many reviews saying that a vehicle broke down shortly after purchase, it might be time to take a close look at what’s happening in your used department.

4. Rude Staff

Thankfully, this doesn’t come up too often, but it does happen. If a customer feels that they weren’t treated with respect by a member of your team, expect to find out about it online.

The best way to handle these situations is to reply to the comment — but keep it short and respectful. Offer a genuine apology, then attempt to move to move the situation offline. 

Something like this:

“John, I’m so sorry to hear about this experience. That’s not the standard to which we hold our staff, and I want to make this right. Will you please give me a call at [phone number]?” 

When the conversation is moved offline, it’s easier to handle these uncomfortable matters and get the full story of what really happened.

5. A Negative Sales Experience

“I feel like they just wanted to sell,” reads one dealership review.

“They wasted our time by having us test drive a vehicle we told them we couldn’t afford,” says another.

The sales experience can be frustrating for customers. There’s a lot of paperwork, and purchasing a vehicle is a big decision. If you’re sales team views a customer as just a dollar sign, your dealership’s digital reputation will reflect that.

Manage Your Online Reputation

Gold stars, representing online dealer reviews

It’s not a terrible thing to have some negative reviews — they show that real people have real experiences with you, and they give you the opportunity to publicly show how you handle hard situations.

Also, be proactive. We have some clients who send a review workflow email one week after a customer has purchased, asking them to rate their experience on a scale of one to five. If the customer clicks four or five stars, they are taken to the dealership’s Google review page, where they can publicly share their experience.

If the customer clicks between one and three stars, they are taken to a form on the dealership website, so the negative review can be shared away from social media. More importantly, this gives someone at the dealership the opportunity to address the feedback right away.

Like I said before: it’s a cruel world out there, but there are some good things on the Internet, too. If you’re looking to improve your dealership’s online presence and add to the good content out there, request a free digital audit from 9 Clouds.

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