The auto industry moves fast. Drivers want to get their car and get back on the road as quickly as possible. So, when customers turn over this fast, why would any auto business concern itself with online review management?

The answer is simple: Online reviews matter — especially to an industry filled with in-and-out consumers.

According to Forbes, 97% of people turn to online reviews before selecting a local business. When you consider how many people in your community are going online to decide where to take their vehicle for service, review management becomes one of the most important tools for winning new customers and keeping a pulse on how they feel about your business.

Online comments run the gamut: Happy customers will sing your praises and recommend you to their entire network; disgruntled customers will do the opposite. Making sure the former is what potential customers see first is crucial to your success.

Thanks to advanced online reputation management tools, it's never been easier.

Building trust, one review at a time.

Trust is key to every customer relationship, especially in the automotive world. Few other businesses are so vulnerable to being branded by the disreputable practices of a few bad apples. Fortunately, the rise of online reviews has made it easier to separate your auto business from the pack and to bury the old stereotype of the untrustworthy auto mechanic or salesperson. Engaging with customers' reviews shows them that you're not there to just fix their car and make money, you're there to give them the top-notch service they deserve.

Good reviews are no doubt a boost for your business. But it's how — and how quickly — you respond to negative reviews that can help you build trust in your community. Negative reviews help you see your business from the consumer's perspective; they let you see your workflows, processes, and services through the customers' eyes. By swiftly responding to a negative review and communicating how you're addressing concerns, the Harvard Business Review notes, you can prove that you're dedicated to resolving customer complaints. You might even turn a salty customer into a sweet one.

Helping the good outshine the bad.

Time is the biggest obstacle to building trust when it comes to customer reviews. Managing your online reputation can feel like a full-time job — one that you don't have time to do when cars and customers are lining up.

Automated online review management solutions let you keep tabs on comments posted about your business on Yelp, Tripadvisor, Facebook, Google, and more. You even receive a scorecard that reflects what people think about your business across these sites. Automated solutions notify you when new reviews are posted, letting you respond in real time. And you can proactively improve your online reputation by sending automated notifications to your best customers to solicit positive reviews.

These automated capabilities can help you strengthen your relationships with your existing customers and capitalize on word-of-mouth marketing to find new ones. That way, you're free to focus on what you love: the cars.

Repeat business, repeat reviews.

Automotive businesses have one built-in advantage for online reputation management: repeat business. The regular cycles of vehicle ownership — new car purchasing, oil changes, spring and fall tire seasons, routine maintenance schedules — provide a steady stream of recurring customers. Generating even more repeat business and enhancing your online reputation through a customer loyalty program could encourage trusted customers to spread the word about your business.

With a streamlined digital loyalty program, you can collect customers' reviews and contact information and enable repeat customers to earn points and redeem rewards — and do it seamlessly at your point-of-sale terminal. You can also integrate your loyalty program into your reputation management system by awarding loyalty points for online reviews.

Your customers get rewards. You get positive reviews. Everyone's happy.

Harness the power of satisfied customers.

Knowing which reviews represent legitimate feedback about how you run your business and which provide opportunities to refute outdated automotive stereotypes is a powerful tool for auto business owners. Cultivating a positive online reputation for your shop by harnessing the power of satisfied customers is even better.

Online reputation management tools help you boost your bottom line by doing both, and they're even stronger when supported by a customer loyalty program. Best of all, you can take advantage of them without taking any time away from managing your business.

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