How to manage your dealership’s online reputation

You have control over the way your dealership is perceived through your website and social media channels. Yet, when it comes to customer reviews, your hands are typically tied … or are they? In this article, we’ll look at tools that can help you track and respond to reviews, and I’ll share some best practices for dealing with negative online reviews so you can manage the conversation, preserve your good reputation and sell more boats.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts are emails that Google sends to you when Google finds a new mention of a search term that matches your chosen alert. To set up Google Alerts, simply go to Adding your dealership name as a Google alert query is an excellent way to keep track of all mentions of your dealership online.

Google+ and other review sites

Google+ is a great tool for tracking your online reputation. First things first, claim your Google+ business account. Once your account has been claimed, you can use Google+ to access and respond to customer reviews.

There are other customer review sites you should keep your eye on including Yelp, MerchantCircle, Angie’s List and

Claiming your business page on Yelp will allow you to respond when a customer reviews your business. When you’re signed up, you will also be alerted when a review has been published. That way, you don’t have to spend time monitoring each site – the information will come right to your inbox.

Your Facebook page is also a platform for customer reviews. These reviews will appear on your business page under Reviews.

Whether it’s good, bad or ugly, you should be aware of your reviews – and be ready to respond in the appropriate manner.

Responding to negative reviews

The way you respond to a negative review is just as important as the initial review itself. Apologizing to a customer and offering to make it right shows those viewing the review that you’re looking out for the best interest of the customer.

When responding to a negative review, you might be tempted to give your side of the story. But remember, customers aren’t satisfied with an excuse.

Use the review platform to turn a negative review into a positive image of your dealership. Ask yourself: What does my response say to those who are reading this?

Most customers want to see that you’re putting the customers’ needs first. The best way to do that is through a response that is apologetic, courteous and offers a solution to the issue at hand.

What if it’s not true?

It is important to reply to all reviews in a professional manner – true or not. The best way to approach this type of situation is to:

  1. Respond to the reviewer just as you would if they were standing right in front of you at your business. When you respond to negative reviews, try to find a solution to better serve that customer. Reach out to them by providing your direct line or email. Ask for more details and invite them to have a conversation offline about their experience. Take the time to understand their point of view so you can get to the bottom of the issue.
  2. Do not delete the post. Show the quality and professionalism of your business by addressing the problem. Admit your faults, fix them and carry on.
  3. Say something. Whether you receive a negative or positive review, post a public response. The lack of a response to a negative review conveys to readers you’re not engaged online and, as a result, the review will hold more merit in the user’s mind. Always respond to a negative review with a positive statement such as “We pride ourselves in 100% customer satisfaction; we have contacted this reviewer to address their experience at our dealership.”

Keep your audience in mind. Those who are reading these reviews are looking at the reputation of your company from the eyes of current customers before doing business with you.

Know that no matter what you’ve done to try to rectify a situation, a negative review may be the unfortunate result if you just cannot make that customer happy.  It will happen. Apologize, express regret, learn something and move on.

One comment

  1. is the only boating oriented review website out there. We’re boaters dedicated to the community, and offer the tools and tips to help you grow your business via inbound marketing.

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