The Importance of Reviews to Dealerships

With the advent of consumer review websites – think Yelp, or – word of mouth advice has become widespread, easy to find and easy to utilize. Many dealerships ignore these listings, but this is a mistake. Consumer review sites provide dealerships with unique opportunities to interact with their consumers, either assuaging their complaints or thanking them for their praise. Either way one fact cannot be ignored: consumers of automotive products are on these sites and are using them actively.

Consumers are Using These Sites
A study done by Yahoo and Cobalt found that 73% of car shoppers will read online reviews of dealerships written by other shoppers and that these reviews are more important to shoppers than location of, or loyalty to, a particular dealership. J.D. Power and Associates found that 95% of the people using these consumer generated reviews during their car shopping process found them to be useful. While 21% of people who read consumer generated reviews changed their dealer selection based upon what they had read, according to the Yahoo/Cobalt study.

There is inherent power in consumer generated reviews. Consumers are more likely to believe the reports of a fellow consumer than a dealerships review. For the obvious fact that a dealership is trying to sell the consumer a product, where as a consumer is trying to inform their fellow consumers. That’s why it is important to encourage consumers to write reviews about your dealership and to inform other consumers. For dealers that are worried about the repercussions of encouraging their consumers to write reviews online, they need not worry. The study done by Yahoo and Cobalt found that 86% reviews posted about dealerships were positive, 10% were neutral and only 4% negative.

User generated reviews also give dealerships the opportunity to expand their customer relations efforts. On review sites dealerships can respond in real time to reviews that consumers post. This gives dealerships the opportunity to potentially turn a negative review into a positive one. By responding to negative reviews dealerships can work through consumers’ complaints, rectify any negative situation and ensure that their experiences with the dealership moving forward are positive. Also, by responding to negative reviews online, a dealership can showcase that they take their reviews seriously, showcasing to potential consumers the dealership’s emphasis on the consumer and their wants.

Importance of Accurate Data
The fact that so many consumers use review sites like Yelp,, G+Local or any number of yellow page sites, stresses the importance of being on these sites. Many of these sites pull the content that is in their listings from several sites across the Internet. As a result many dealerships think that they don’t need to be active about updating their information in directories and review sites. This, too, is a mistake. A recent study done by Implied Intelligence found that across the most popular local directories and reviews sites a business’ information found in directories, if not actively managed, can often be incorrect. Many directories can have duplicate listings for your business that have incorrect information or display the wrong URL or the wrong telephone number. Some local directories or review sites do offer more complete and accurate data, but according to the study no single data directory or review site offers full coverage. Even the best performing sites could not improve their data accuracy and data coverage.

That is why it is so important for dealerships to be active about claiming and editing their listings on review sites and directories. It is not enough to hope that the data that these sites use in your listings is accurate. Often times they are not, and if you are not taking ownership of your listings then anyone – consumers or even competitors – can edit your information and list wrong data. For dealerships, claiming and editing their data on review sites and directories is the only way to ensure that their data is accurate.

Posting Reviews on Your Site
Another useful tactic in getting consumers to view a dealership’s consumer generated reviews is to post reviews on their website. By taking reviews from directories and review sites and posting them on your website, you can create a one stop location for consumers to research your dealership and then see what others have said about it.

The majority of auto consumers are using user generated reviews as a part of their car buying process. By remaining active on reviews sites and directories dealerships can leverage the reviews that consumers have posted to improve upon themselves and showcase to future consumers their value as a dealership. With consumers reporting that online reviews influence them more than loyalty to a specific brand or dealership, the importance of these reviews is paramount to dealers.