Creating Brand Advocates Is Not as Hard as You Think

As countless messages fill the world, consumers increasingly turn to family, friends, peers and, even strangers, to make buying decisions. Whether those decisions are as broad as who to do business with or are centered around which item to buy to help solve their problem, word-of-mouth and online reviews have become a key part of that decision-making process. Too many bad reviews via word-of-mouth or online can instantly cause a customer to start looking for alternative businesses or products.

 

Negative reviews can cause you to lose business. This is why there has been a big push for the past decade or so in the reputation management area. Dealerships are increasingly sensitive to reviews and are monitoring and responding to them as needed. The prevailing theory is that customers with bad experiences are more likely to leave negative reviews AND unhappy customers will tell more people about that poor experience than happy customers will about a good one…. But is that really true?

An article on Entrepreneur reports that companies who deliver a positive customer experience enjoy revenue growth up to eight percent higher than market average. It also shared that, while customers with a negative customer experience will tell multiple people about that experience, they tend to do so once then move on to the next company.

 

Meanwhile, customers with positive experiences tend to keep coming back and, through a consistent positive customer experience, tend to tell more people over the course of time with each and every experience. The research revealed that over the course of a happy customer’s lifetime, they turn into brand advocates and create more than 14 times the value of those customers with negative experiences.

 

So, what does this mean when it comes to reputation management and handling reviews in general?

 

For the most part, dealerships tend to focus on and react to NEGATIVE reviews. Nobody really wants an unhappy customer – especially one that has taken to the Internet to share that negative experience with the world.

 

What typically happens is that management jumps right on that negative review and reaches out to these customers in an effort to resolve their issue. This accomplishes three things: 1. If you can solve the customer’s problems there’s a possibility that they give you another chance and perhaps even remove or edit the review; 2. By simply responding to the review publicly, other consumers considering your business will see you care about your customers and may not give those negative reviews as much weight in their decision-making process; and 3. This increases the chances that a customer continues to do business with you.

 

But what do many dealerships do with excellent reviews?

 

For the most part, nothing!

 

Perhaps if a particular employee is mentioned, he or she will get a “good job” from management. Everyone will be happy and thankful for the positive review. But what about the customer? While you are certainly listening to them because you see the positive review -- here’s the kicker: they don’t know that you are!

 

Customers with positive experiences can ultimately increase revenue and spread positive messages and word-of-mouth recommendations. Therefore, it’s just as important to acknowledge positive reviews as it is to respond to the negative ones.

 

Recognizing a positive review shows happy customers that you are listening to them and appreciate their business. Personalized “thank you” responses will go a long way with that customer. Acknowledging them reinforces the type of behavior you want to continue… namely seeing that these customers continue to share positive messages to their networks, which ultimately creates brand advocates.

 

In the end, responding appropriately to all consumer feedback, good or bad, is important. But for different reasons. It ultimately all ends up as a part of each individual customers TOTAL customer experience with you.  You probably can’t fix all of the unhappy customer’s problems. However, in the end, you can say you tried and others will see that you did.

 

For those happy customers, a simple thank you adds just one more piece to that experience. Either way, your dealerships will win more often than lose.

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