Word-of-mouth marketing has always been vitally important to the success of small and medium-sized businesses. For years, people would hear about a products or service from neighbors, family or co-workers and be influenced in some way by those conversations. But with the rise of social media and online review websites, consumers can now spread the word about positive or negative experiences faster and easier than ever before. And since nearly all consumers today research purchases online, reviews have become one of the biggest influences when it comes time for consumers to make decisions.

Service and Repair Dealer Reviews InfographicThe same trend is true when it comes to the automotive service industry. In a recent survey, 83% of consumers said they would likely look online for vehicle service and repair information.

But the question remains: How much do consumers really trust those online reviews from complete strangers? Because it’s different when word-of-mouth recommendations come from, well, the mouth of friends and family, right? Not exactly.

According to a recent study, 79% of all consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With that said, how effectively is your service department positioned online? Can potential customers find reviews – both the good and bad – when they’re looking for them?

As word-of-mouth continues to shift online, it’s imperative that you provide a platform for customers to share their experiences and that you engage those customers appropriately.

To get started managing your service department’s online reputation, download Scheduled Maintenance: The Dealership’s Guide to Achieving a Positive Online Reputation.