Online Reputation and Review Management in Car Dealerships

More customers turn to online reviews for car dealerships when researching potential car purchases. So, it is essential for car dealerships to be aware of the impact that reviews and ratings have on their business. With the right reputation and review management strategy, car dealerships can improve their online presence, build customer trust, and increase sales.

Importance of Reviews for Car Dealerships

The Internet has revolutionized the way we conduct business, as well as how customers interact with businesses and view their online reputation. When making a purchase, a reliable suggestion or warning should be taken into consideration. Having satisfied customers is crucial for the success of any business, whereas a vocal unhappy customer could be enough to cause it to fail. Negative online reviews have greater reach and can potentially ruin a business. Mintel’s recent report affirms that 81% of consumers look up reviews online before purchasing any product or service. Also, online reviews are trusted by 88% of consumers to the same degree as personal recommendations. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to online reputation management.

Due to the increased use of online research and social media by auto shoppers before visiting a dealership, online reviews for car dealerships become also extremely valuable. According to DealerRater and Dataium’s study, if car shoppers found positive reviews online about a dealership, they are more likely to visit that dealer’s website and the dealership in person by 90%. Industry statistics also demonstrate that the majority of auto shoppers read 10 reviews about a particular dealership, as a “very” or “extremely” significant component of their research. Particularly, these reviews are almost indispensable for millennial consumers. The following tips explained below will help car dealerships with online reviews management.

Provide Outstanding Customer Service and Ask for Reviews

When customers visit your dealership, ensure a service experience that is nothing short of five-star quality. American Express’ research has found that if the experience is positive, customers tend to tell up to nine people about it. To provide a seamless experience, it must be consistent across all channels – whether they are online, calling your customer service department, or in-person at the dealership.

A survey conducted by has revealed that consumers are most likely to leave reviews for car dealerships during business hours. To take advantage of this trend, sending out requests for reviews during these peak times can be beneficial. Furthermore, dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave reviews than satisfied customers. Some customers may be reluctant to review in general, so to avoid their silent exit show them how passionate you are to hear from them. Take into account that providing them with an incentive (like free credit or a gift card) will help encourage them to leave a review and let you know about their experience. 

Respond to Reviews, Especially the Negative Ones

Many platforms are available to host reviews for car dealerships, but you should prioritize the major three: Google, Facebook, and Yelp if you want to host your dealership’s online reviews. There are a few alternatives, like,, and To properly manage your online reputation, you need to consistently observe each of these platforms and respond to reviews appropriately.

Taking the time to respond to reviews is significant, but the survey showed that a mere one-third of dealerships reply to their online reviews. Individuals who have had unsatisfactory experiences desire to be acknowledged with a prompt action. It is essential to tackle a problem before it worsens; if you respond adequately to a negative review, it can be managed. However, when disregarded, it can lead to long-term consequences. With the right approach to your responses, you may even turn a critic into an ardent customer.

How to Address Negative Reviews

When addressing negative reviews for your car dealership, it is important to be professional, courteous, and understanding. Show the customer that you value their opinion and take their concerns seriously. Apologize for any inconvenience caused and ask them to reach out to you privately to continue the conversation and resolve the issue. Keeping a positive online reputation is key, so make sure to offer a clear path to resolution. Doing so will show other customers that you take customer feedback seriously and are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that their experience is a positive one.

Overall, managing your online reputation and reviews is crucial for the success of a car dealership. Regularly monitoring and responding to customer reviews can improve your online reputation and attract more customers to your dealership.

P.S.: This article has also been published in the UCD Magazine

Sean Toussi

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