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Show customers you care — digitally!

By Lauren Labunsky

The holidays are here and it’s a great time of year to truly focus on how your dealership is showing customers that you care about them. This could include things like excellent customer service, a special gift or offer, a holiday-themed sale or event, and more. But just as so much of the customer journey has moved online, the way you show customers that you care online is important too.

Consider the three main online platforms that your dealership likely uses most often to reach customers – your website, the emails you send, and your social media channels.

  • A note of thanks and well wishes for the season would make a great addition to your website homepage. It will be the first thing your customers see when they visit your online showroom, leaving a big impression.
  • It may not be realistic to send a holiday card to each of your customers, but sending an email is the second-best option. It doesn’t require very much time or resources, but an email with a warm holiday sentiment can make a big impact.
  • Social media is a great place to reach customers with a message of thanks for being a customer and follower, as well as deliver holiday wishes. Not only during the holiday season but year-round, social media is a place where you can show customers you care. Regularly interacting with your followers, responding to their comments and messages, and going out of your way to engage with the content on their pages sends the message that you value them and are happy to have them there. Your dealership’s relationship with customers through social media speaks volumes about your level of appreciation for them.

On social media channels like Facebook as well as business listings sites like Google Business, Yelp, and YellowPages.com, the ratings and reviews your dealership receives can serve as an indication of how far your business has gone to demonstrate care for customers. No business is perfect, but if your dealership goes above and beyond to provide quality customer service, it will show. One way to keep a strong grip on your dealership’s reputation is through regularly checking your ratings and reviews. That way, if an unhappy customer has left a negative sentiment on any of these platforms, you can address it as soon as possible and resolve the issue. Ideally, this will result in that customer removing or revising that negative review or rating. Staying on top of these platforms can be a challenge, but it is worth the effort.

Another element of Reputation Management for your dealership to consider is building up enough positive reviews and ratings from happy customers to overpower the negative ones. While it is not recommended to solicit reviews from customers, there are ways to encourage happy customers to express their positive experiences online, collecting those sentiments in an organic way. While this does require extra work on your part, your dealership’s online reputation is too important not to invest in.

Reputation Management is crucial year-round, but it deserves some extra thought as we approach the holidays as well as the new year. Your reputation is something that customers will see right away online when they go to research your dealership – is it an accurate reflection of how much you value and appreciate your customers and their business?

Just like your dealership can improve customer service-related practices and processes in-person, your business can also take steps to make improvements in the digital space. There are great opportunities for your business to display customer appreciation online – don’t forget to take advantage of them!

Lauren Labunsky is the public relations manager for Dealer Spike, a company that provides innovative websites as well as a suite of powerful online advertising solutions that help marine dealers help increase sales and service profitability. For more information, visit www.DealerSpikeMarine.com or call 800-288-5917.

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