“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” -Jeff Bezos, Founder/CEO Amazon.com
How important is it for your to look your best to a potential customer? Today it seems like many dealers are ignoring what’s said about them online, both positive and negative. Some want to put their heads in the sand and wait until the Internet “just blows over”. Folks, your customer is online most of their day and night. They’re talking about you. Pretending they aren’t is a risky proposition.
Your customer loves Yelp. Why? It’s local. They look forward to sharing their experience because it allows them to invest in the community where they in turn get value from the experiences of others. Car shoppers are increasingly relying on Yelp and other ratings sites. 84% of people say that online reviews influence their buying decision (Nielsen).Reviewers can also gain influence. The more reviews one writes and the more connections they have, these experiences with your business can reverberate not only through Yelp but to other Social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
What’s the best way to make sure you’re getting your love on Yelp? The key is to have a rock-solid internal process for capturing and maintaining a steady stream of willing customers to write reviews. I mentioned in an earlier post to consider this a referral request. Many frontline personnel feel awkward about asking but when it’s put in a way that makes them and the customer comfortable, then you get the results you’re looking for: “Our business is based on referrals. Would you take a moment to visit Yelp and refer us to your friends and family?” This is a great start to your internal process but it’s only the beginning.
I’ve developed a proactive system of capturing reviews and maintaining a consistent stream of “referrals” from your customers. Here are 6 ways to get your groove on Yelp:
1. Designate an Online Reputation go-to person who’ll take ownership of your implementation plan. They will be responsible for getting grassroots participation from your staff. They will monitor and respond to the community. Just as we had to tweak daily operations to handle CSI, online reputation management requires changes to how the store and the staff operate. It is a paradigm shift. Acknowledge it and get going.
2. Signage. Create awareness with your customers and your staff. Display “Love Us on Yelp!” signs throughout the store. F&I, sales offices, all entry doors, customer waiting area, Service Advisor and Cashier offices. Give new/used vehicle customers a uniquely-shaped card to take with them that reminds them you’re on Yelp. Put memos on paychecks, Repair Orders and Counter Tickets to create awareness too!
3. Reach out to your Raving Fans. Every salesperson and service advisor has them, especially those that’ve been with you a long time. These customers go out of their way to do business with you. These customers already love you–that’s why they keep coming back. Ask them to share an honest review–don’t push for positive–just their honest opinion. Oh and don’t stop doing this…ever. Customer reviews are actual marketing now.
4. Hold a monthly contest with the staff. Nothing motivates like a cash prize! Example: if the store gets 20 reviews by the end of the month, you’ll draw a name and that person wins the cash. Have the drawing open to all employees so you’ve got everyone motivated to achieve the same goal.
5. Recognize staff members who get 5-star reviews. A cash spiff or a nice mention during the weekly sales or service meeting goes a long way. When the other employees see it, they’re eager to be next.
6. Email marketing. Do a “Love Drip” campaign with a catchy subject line and a nice call to action. Provide a link to your Yelp profile so it’s as effortless for your customer as possible.
Stellar online reputations do not happen without grassroots participation from your staff. Leverage the power of your employees and institute an internal process to be proactive about your online reputation. Get your groove on and let your customers feel it, baby!