Regardless of the type of business you own, receiving bad reviews is bound to happen sooner or later. While positive reviews can help raise awareness of your brand and business to new heights and attract new customers, bad reviews can tarnish a company’s reputation. This sends potential customers right to your competitors door!

When your dealership receives a bad review, what do you do? How do you respond? We’ll tell you how. And trust us, there is a strategy to this!

Bad Reviews Are Improvement Opportunities!

You may be tempted to ignore bad reviews of your dealership, especially if you find them unfair or exaggerated. But it’s important to respond to all reviews, good and bad. One reason to respond is to boost your dealership’s Google listing. More reviews, and more responses to reviews, will help your dealership appear higher in search results. Responding is a quick and easy way to get more eyes on your business.

Additionally, it’s essential to show other customers that you care. When you respond to a review, you’re not just talking to that customer. Whether you’re responding on Google, Yelp, even Facebook, you’re writing for everyone. Anyone looking through reviews can see your response to a negative review, and how you handle them can encourage them to or deter them from working with you.

When you respond to bad reviews with understanding, your dealership shows that it cares about its customers. Showing potential future customers that their satisfaction is important to you increases their confidence in your business. Don’t believe us? Check out this 2018 study by the Harvard Business Review. They found that responding to customer reviews is one of the best things you can do for your business.

Business search witha good review on google

How to Respond to Bad Reviews

Responding to your dealership’s good or bad reviews doesn’t have to be difficult. As long as you maintain your professionalism and show you care, responding to bad reviews is a simple process.

Remain straightforward and empathetic in your response. Let the customer know that you understand why they’re upset and you’d like to correct the situation. This shows that you’re invested in making sure every customer has a positive perception of your dealership.

Prompt response is also important. The longer bad reviews sit unanswered, the more people will see it without your response. We recommend getting notifications for reviews, which is easy to set up through Google. You can receive email notifications to your phone, so you know as soon as a review is posted.

Example Review:

John Smith: I visited RV Dealership and was extremely disappointed in their service. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Waited nearly an hour for a salesperson to approach me. The employee that finally came to talk to me was very rude. I was so upset that, after spending hours waiting, the employee told me they didn’t have the RV I was looking for and they couldn’t help me. It was the worst service I’ve ever had.

Owner: Hi John, thank you for bringing this to our attention. We’re so sorry to hear about this experience at RV Dealership. Our customer service is very important to us and we want to correct this situation. Someone from our dealership will give you a call as soon as possible so we can make things right.

Do's and don't of responding to bad reviews online

How Not to Respond to Bad Reviews

Negative dealership reviews can feel personal. But, remember not to treat them as such. These people are upset with your business, and you need to respond with courtesy and professionalism.

Generally you should avoid responses that refute the original reviewer’s point. Instead, try to be understanding. They’re angry and want to feel heard, not argued with. Apologize for the experience, tell them you care, and offer to reach out to them about the situation if necessary. If you can, you should correct the situation and ask them to edit their review.

Remember, a dealership’s bad reviews are an opportunity to learn directly from your customers. Good or bad, they let you know what stands out to patrons, enough for them to take the time to write a review.

Example Review

John Smith: I visited RV Dealership and was extremely disappointed in their service. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Waited nearly an hour for a salesperson to approach me. The employee that finally came to talk to me was very rude. I was so upset that, after spending hours waiting, the employee told me they didn’t have the RV I was looking for and they couldn’t help me. It was the worst service I’ve ever had.

Owner: Our RV Dealership salespeople are very busy serving all customers that walk through our doors. Our sales department strives to give each potential buyer one on one attention while they’re being helped. This is why you spent so much time waiting, as the sales team was helping other customers. Just like we expect the salesperson attempting to help you with your needs to spend as much time with you as necessary. We’re sorry our dealership was busy on the day you came in and would appreciate more patience in the future. Thank you, John.

Definition of fake in the dictionary, highlighted in yellow highlighter

Identifying Fake Bad Reviews

Among internet trolls stirring up trouble and angry dealership competitors, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter a few fake reviews in your time. Luckily, especially with some practice, they can be easy to spot.

If a review seems suspicious, talk to your employees. Ask if any of them know what the reviewer is talking about, especially when it refers to a negative encounter at your dealership. In addition, most review sites include the reviewer’s name. Should you have a customer database program, or any way to record who does business with you, you can look for the reviewer’s name in your database.

Another step to take when you spot suspicious bad reviews is to dig into the details. Check the date it was written. If there’s any details in the review that give a time frame, like referring to a certain RV on the lot, you can tell if the reviewer is being truthful. Also, if they refer to an RV you didn’t have on the lot at the time, it’s probably a fake review. 

The next thing to do is look into the reviewer. On sites like Google and Yelp, you can click the person’s name and see other reviews they’ve written. If the reviews are all over the country, all negative, or only of similar businesses, they might be fake.

Negative dealership reviews written by competing dealerships is, unfortunately, something you have to be aware of. After looking at other reviews by the user, you can take another look at the review itself. Reviews that mention another dealership they visited for a better experience or a better product are a red flag.

Handling one star reviews
Tackling Fake Bad Reviews

Now that you’ve identified a fake review, you have to decide how you’re going to handle it. You can flag reviews on Google and other sites, but it’s extremely difficult to prove to Google that this customer didn’t actually interact with your business. Even if you have no record of them on file, it won’t be enough for Google to take the review down. After all, if they didn’t make a purchase they might not be on file. Google Support will take you through the steps to remove bad reviews from your Google My Business profile.

Once you decide a review is definitely faked, and probably won’t be taken down, you have to craft the perfect response. We recommend being brief and pleasant when you defend your dealership. You shouldn’t explicitly call them an internet troll, but you should let others know that there’s no record of this person ever doing business with you

Example Review:

John Smith: My wife and I visited RV Dealership last week to walk through the Forest River Flagstaff Super Lite 529IKRL. We were hugely disappointed in RV Dealership. We waited inside for almost two hours before an employee approached us. I found everyone there very rude and the RV we toured was dirty. After this experience, we visited Competing Dealership and were delighted with the service. We ended up purchasing from Competing Dealership and couldn’t be happier. I would recommend them over RV Dealership for better service and better products.

Owner: Hi John, we take negative reviews very seriously. Our sales team gathers names and contact information from each shopper and we don’t have your name on file. Is it possible that you’ve mistaken us for another dealership, or even used a different name during your buying experience? We’ve been unable to verify your identity, but we’d like to investigate this issue further and make things right. Please contact [name] at [email] so we can talk further.

Reviews Can Grow Your Business, If You Pay Attention To Them

Whether your reviews are really bad reviews or done by internet trolls, it’s important to keep an eye on them. Responding to all reviews is one of the best things you can do for your dealership and your customers.

Let our experts handle your business reviews!

Don’t ever be concerned with how to manage your dealerships online reviews again! We’ll monitor and respond to your reviews quickly and professionally on all the essential platforms. Start your conversation with a NetSource dealer specialist today!

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