The Irony of Automotive Customer Reviews


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Over the past two months I have been watching the ratings and review counts on for their 2010 Vendor Awards. Each year car dealers have the opportunity to voice their opinion on the best vendors that serve the automotive industry.

The Driving Sales Vendor Awards have become a benchmark for peer review. All votes are carefully validated to ensure that the person voting is actually a dealership employee.

This year my company was listed in the categories for which we offer products and services and each year we make sure that we ask our customers to take a minute and posted their rating for our services. We make these requests on the phone and also via email.

We have friendly “battles” with our industry competitors but it’s all good for keep the competitive spirit alive. Now that the voting for the 2010 Driving Sales Vendor Awards is closed, I wanted to share an observation.

The Review Process

I’m sure you know that getting YOUR customers to post reviews on Google Places is hard. After someone purchases their car and gets home, it is hard to motivate them to take action remotely and post a review from their home IP address.

What is even harder is to get OUR car dealer clients to rate their vendors (us) on the DrivingSales Vendor Awards. Our automotive clients put off the task just like your car buyers…its ironic.

For example, for Internet Trainer, I have trained hundreds of car dealership employees at conference, workshops, and through webinars. Many of these automotive professionals have joined one of the PCG managed online communities or they are in our email database. Only a small percentage have taken the time to read my email advising them of the voting process and visited DrivingSales to vote.

In another category, only clients of PCG can vote in the Automotive SEO Vendor category. What is ironic is that we help hundreds of rooftops with their SEO and most indicate that they are satisfied when we ask them (Does this sound familiar?) Most all have committed to voting online. (Does this sound familiar?) Yet the review counts are very low! (Does this sound familiar?)

I’m not complaining. Many of our great supporters voted this year but it did not come without a tremendous investment in time and resources. Verbal phone commitments produce low online voting results.

We Need a Better Approach

So this process has really educated me that we need to think of new ways to motivate our customers to take the time to click and post a review online once they leave the dealership. If car dealers are coming to realize that Internet Reputation Management is important, what call to action could I have created to make our car dealer clients vote?

The answers are there….automotive retailers who are part of this community just have to ask why they didn’t take time to vote for their favorite vendors? If you did vote, what motivated you to take time to vote? We need to start discussing the psychology behind voting online.

For the record, I understand that everyone is busy. I also understand that the dealer/vendor relationship can be strong or weak. But if car dealers are to move the needle with their own Online Reputation Management program in 2011 and increase their Google “Star Counts” on Google Places, we need to discuss what is working best.

Car dealers who are having great success getting their clients to post directly on Google Places, please speak up. I have some ideas to share but that will be in a follow-up article this month.

What ways can car dealers increase the success rate of getting their customers to vote on Google Places, DealerRater, PrestoReviews, Yelp, etc. from home?

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Brian Pasch
Brian Pasch is an 20+ year veteran of the direct marketing industry. His career has spanned both management and technology roles. He is known for his expertise in consumer data warehousing models as well as digital marketing strategy. He is the author of four books on marketing and his latest book is entitled "Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing."


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