dealer reviews, service reviews, online reviewsIf a service customer called and left an angry message on your Dealer Principal’s voicemail, would they have their call returned?

Of course they would. But when customers leave online reviews about their service experience, they’re often not treated with the same sense of urgency. In fact, only about one-third of dealer reviews on have been replied to.

Whether it’s due to lack of time or a misperception that positive reviews don’t warrant responses, not replying to customers who have taken time to share their feedback is akin to having a customer on the showroom floor say, “Thanks for helping me,” and the sales consultant walking the other way.

RELATED: Easy Things to Do TODAY to Fill Your Service Bays Tomorrow (via DealerRefresh)

By taking just a few moments to respond to each online review, your dealership can differentiate itself from competitors, cultivate relationships with customers, both present and future, and ultimately sell more cars.

Use these three simple tips to get started.

servicews reviews example

1) Assign Responsibility 

Assign someone at your dealership to read and share all incoming reviews, both positive and negative. By having a dedicated person responsible for monitoring reviews, you can ensure you’re always on top of customer issues, as well as aware of the exceptional work of your staff. If a customer writes about a dealership employee going the extra mile, share the kudos at your next team meeting.

Work with your local rep or account manager to make sure the right people are on your store’s dealer reviews alert distribution. Individuals on this list will receive an email every time a new review posts.

2) Escalate Feedback

Have a service customer raise a new-car warranty question? Get a complaint about dirty footprints being left after an oil change? Each customer issue is unique, so escalate specific feedback shared through reviews to the appropriate dealership staff member.

By making sure the right people at your store know what’s being said about the dealership’s work, you can identify one-off issues before they become serious long-term problems. When feedback is positive, use it as a way to reinforce your dealership’s commitment to exceptional customer service and fine tune already-strong processes.

3) Correct process issues (if necessary) and respond 

Once customer feedback has been escalated, make time to respond to the review.

When responding to reviews, be sure to read the customer’s feedback in its entirety. It sounds obvious, but only skimming a customer’s message may result in an embarrassing or confusing response, not to mention take up more of your time in the long run.

If the review is positive, thank the customer for their business and share how you look forward to working with them in the future. This can be short and sweet, but if you can reference specific details about the service appointment or the customer’s interaction with the dealership, adding a personal touch can go along way.

If the review is negative or mixed, acknowledge the customer’s concerns and offer immediate next steps to resolve the issue. Having a General Manager or Owner write the response and provide their email address and/or direct phone number to follow up can speak volumes about how your store does business.

Learn more about how your dealership’s service department can tune-up its online reputation in our latest service ebook Scheduled Maintenance.

UPDATED: 2/4/2015