The 5 Star Rating: Attract More Customers & Boost Car Sales

By Canada Drives Newsroom | Dealer Services

Every salesperson wants a great survey score, and it usually impacts their pay. Dealer staff are trained to strive for the best Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) scores possible because of internal implications with the manufacturer. But five-star reviews are your customer-facing SSI scores and deserve just as much attention. How can you get 5-star customer reviews every time? We’ll show you...

Local marketing firm BrightLocal claims that “85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations,” and that it’s “the single most trustworthy and credible source of ‘advertising’ out there.” 

Did you know that 80% of shoppers – including 95% of millennial shoppers – read local business reviews? That’s a major shift from what dealerships commonly gear their marketing budget towards, isn’t it?

Think about your own online research and shopping habits. Your Google search lists several options, each with ratings attached to them. 

  1. First, you look for the star rating. You’ll mentally sort the options from highest rating down.
  2. Then, you authenticate those ratings by looking for the number of reviews.
  3. A high review count combined with a high star rating is what you’re looking for. In fact, a 5-star rating with just two or three reviews is outweighed by a 4.3-star rating with 40 reviews. 

Your customers think exactly the same way.

Hubspot Research discovered that reviews are powerful deciding factors for customers with 60% finding that reviews are trustworthy, and 73% of shoppers trust a business more due to positive reviews. 

In short, there’s no substitute for positive online reviews.

On the other hand, a negative review is damaging. BrightLocal shows that negative online reviews can drive away 40% of potential customers. 

Customers make their purchase decision with influence from other people through word of mouth and reviews. There’s no room for missteps here.

How to ensure you get good reviews

The good news? It’s easy to have customers write a review when they’re happy customers. More than two-thirds of customers are happy to leave a review if they’re asked, and 80% of people aged 18 to 34 have written a review on Google or other platforms. 

The key here is to have happy customers. 

To request honest 5-star reviews for your company, you must establish an environment and processes that provide a 5-star service experience. Not most of the time. Every. Single. Time. 

What factors into good reviews? Variables include but are by no means limited to: 

  • A friendly, prompt greeting
  • Store cleanliness and organization
  • Knowledgeable sales staff and management
  • Understanding the customer’s needs
  • Transparent and honest communication
  • Well-stocked inventory
  • Professional appearance
  • Convenient hours and location

You can see that it doesn’t take much to go off the rails from a perfect experience. That said, satisfied customers are willing to overlook minor concerns and give the 5-star review when requested, so long as their experience remains mostly positive.

The tendency is to compare your service to other businesses in your own industry and expect that you’re worthy of a top review because you did better than your competition. That’s not how a customer sees it. You’re not rated on a sliding scale but as a standalone experience. That means the customer experience must be excellent relative to all industries, not just automotive retail.

How to get set up for online reviews

Your dealership probably has some method for customers to leave a review, whether on search engines or another platform. But there’s more you can do, and it’s not difficult to get set up to capture as many valuable positive reviews as you can.

  • Google Reviews. One of the most popular places for customers to leave reviews is the most visible as well. Google Reviews are enabled when you have the dealership’s ‘Google My Business’ account established. It’s super easy and extremely effective.
  • Feefo. Reputation management provider Feefo integrates with your current online commerce tools to make it easy to collect online reviews that are displayed on your website. Since it’s third-party, it carries more weight. See it in action on the Canada Drives homepage.
  • Trustpilot. Also prominent on the Canada Drives homepage is a Trustpilot slider. Trustpilot invites your customers to leave reviews for your business easily. It’s a trusted review source in any industry.
  • Yelp. Establish a free business page on Yelp and customers can leave reviews online. Again, being third-party gives it credibility even though it doesn’t have the formal look others do. 
  • Facebook. Does your business have a presence on Facebook? If not, it should. Customer reviews on Facebook may not carry the same weight as other formal sources. Still, with the ability to leave ratings and reviews on your Facebook business page, it’s a good idea to run and maintain an account.

How to ask for a 5-star review

As important as they are, you should be asking every customer that seems satisfied to leave an online review. But asking for a top-rated 5-star review is a little more complicated. Here are a few tips to ensure the customer follows through with your request: 

  1. Ask at the right time: There’s a time to ask for a review and a time to wait. You should approach a customer at a peak emotional time like at vehicle delivery. Also, it’s great to ask for a 5-star review after you’ve spent time with them and there’s a strong customer-salesperson bond.

  2. Review the customer first: Say something like, “I’ve really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with you. You’ve been so easy to deal with and a pleasure to get to know. I’m wondering, would you be willing to leave a review about your experience?”

  3. Request a review in person: Asking over the phone or in an email isn’t horrible, but it doesn’t have the same emotion or connection involved. When possible, make the request for a 5-star review face to face. 

  4. Emphasize the importance of 5 stars: As you’re aware, most customers aren’t apt to give 5 stars without a little encouragement – the mentality of ‘there’s always room for improvement’ permeates the culture. Gently but clearly state how important five stars are personally and professionally, “A five-star rating would show that you’ve had a great experience. If you can’t give five stars, would you allow me the opportunity to correct the concern before you leave a review?”

How to deal with negative reviews - remove, respond, or ignore? 

There’s no way to avoid negative reviews in the customer service business. No matter what industry you’re in, some customers just want to blame you for everything. The question is, do you let negative reviews be or do you deal with them? 

You have to deal with them.

While you may be tempted to have a bad review removed, you probably shouldn’t. Instead, show readers that you’re willing to correct any mistakes by responding accordingly. Eight-nine percent of review readers read the responses from business owners, giving you an opportunity to have the last word in a positive light. 

Your best course of action is to apologize for the customer’s negative experience and express that you strive to excel in customer service. Then, offer a direct contact method offering to resolve their concerns. 

Don’t go into detail or defensive mode – prospective shoppers will see that as a strike against you and will expect you to do the same if they have a poor experience. 

A flawless customer experience is what every car shopper should expect. And when you provide it, make sure your dealership benefits from your hard work with a 5-star online review. It’s an incredibly valuable marketing tool for today’s online-savvy shopper.

Win sales and rave reviews from subprime customers

Since 2010, Canada Drives has been connecting dealerships with high-intent car buyers. 

With our sales-savvy methods, digital know-how, and subprime expertise, we deliver steady lead flow to help you satisfy more customers and close more sales!




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