In our recent article on why responding to online reviews matters, we explained how replying to feedback boosts customer retention, satisfies consumer expectations, and perhaps most importantly, inspires trust in your business. Recent Harvard research even shows that customers who receive responses may be willing to spend more on your product or service in the future — a clear demonstration of the financial power that review responses can hold.
Considering these benefits, it’s reasonable to assume that savvy business owners would prioritize responding to customer feedback. However, the statistics paint a surprisingly different picture, with some sources reporting that up to “75% of businesses don’t respond to any of their reviews.”
For the automotive industry, which is expected to face “significant challenges” in an economy that’s being radically reshaped by COVID-19, that type of oversight may be too costly to afford. Perhaps that explains why, compared to other types of companies, automotive businesses rank among the most likely to respond to online reviews — a trend that has far-reaching financial implications across the industry. If you own, operate, or provide reputation management services for an automotive business, you should know how review responses could impact your bottom line — and what you can do to improve it.
How Often Do Car Dealerships and Auto Businesses Respond to Customer Reviews?
In 2015, PR Newswire reported that “less than one-third of all dealer reviews on Cars.com are answered” — an issue that was especially pronounced in South Dakota, which was “home to dealerships with an average response rate of less than 10%.” Newer data shows that, while the automotive industry has taken strides forward, there’s still ample room for improvement.
For example, consider this 2017 data compiled by WebPunch, which compared response rates across the automotive industry, the restaurant industry, and four other industries. According to WebPunch, automotive businesses respond to 56% of their customer reviews, with a higher likelihood of responding to Google reviews than reviews that were posted on Facebook or Yelp. That means nearly half of all auto business reviews — about 44% — do not receive responses from businesses.
On one hand, this data suggests that the automotive industry outperforms others when it comes to responding to reviews, considering that the average non-response rate is closer to 75%. On the other hand, it also means that at least four in 10 reviews go unanswered — which means that at least four in 10 opportunities are being lost. If you aren’t actively capitalizing on these opportunities, you’re missing out on valuable business.
Fortunately, the solution is simple: start engaging with your customers by replying to their comments. Otherwise, your biggest competitors might beat you to the punch.
How Responding to Reviews Makes Your Dealership or Auto Business More Competitive
Responding to reviews may be especially crucial for automotive dealerships, which suffer from a widespread lack of consumer trust. As a Harris Poll of over 2,100 people revealed in 2016, “87% of American consumers disliked something about the process of purchasing a vehicle at a traditional car dealership,” while “61%…felt like they were taken advantage of at some point in the dealership.”
This lack of trust can translate to immense financial losses, with one 2019 article from DealershipNews.com pointing out that “car dealers are losing as much as $266 billion dollars a year in service revenue with a mind-boggling $15.9 million per average new car dealership because customers either don’t trust them or it’s an exercise in inconvenience.” Responding to your reviews is a simple, effective, and cost-efficient method of increasing consumers’ trust in your dealership, with the added benefit of helping you stand out from your less responsive competitors.
That doesn’t just apply to your positive reviews, either. On the contrary, it’s vital to respond to all of your customer reviews — including the negative feedback. As Forbes points out, “Kind, helpful, and problem-solving responses to negative reviews can save nearly-lost customers, and increase loyalty and trust of current customers.”
Of course, it requires some extra care to handle upset customers successfully. For insights into some of the strategies that your business can use, we recommend checking out our tips on responding to negative reviews, which offer two step-by-step methods for addressing poor feedback from customers. Or, for a simple and stress-free solution, hire your own dedicated response scribe from ResponseScribe and let our team take care of the work for you.
What Are the Most Important Review Sites for Automotive Businesses to Monitor?
According to WebPunch, automotive companies have a better response rate on Google compared to other review sites like Facebook and Yelp. Interestingly, the inverse was true in other industries, such as real estate, where Facebook reviews and responses take precedence over both Yelp and Google.
For automotive business owners, this is a critical insight. It suggests that, simply by allocating additional resources to the management of your Yelp and Facebook reviews, you can help your business stand out to customers in a positive light.
Of course, Yelp and Facebook aren’t the only platforms that auto business owners should be focused on. In addition to Google, Facebook, and Yelp, other important review sites to watch include:
- Angie’s List
- Auto MD
- Bing Places
- Repair Pal
Take Control of Your Online Reviews with Shout About Us
Do you manage or represent an automotive business, such as a car dealership, parts manufacturing plant, lease and rental service, RV/mobile home dealership, or auto repair franchise? Do you need a targeted, turnkey solution for all of your online review management needs? Give yourself a competitive edge with custom responses by Shout About Us.
At Shout About Us, we specialize in providing your automotive business with the tools it needs for effective and efficient online reputation management. Whether you prefer to let our experienced response scribes manage your reviews independently, or you’d rather get in the driver’s seat and take control of your own custom dashboard, we offer a wide range of features to fit your business.
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Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with more than seven years of writing experience. She joined the Shout About Us team as a content strategist in 2020.