In the highly integrated world of online reviews and social media, many dealerships and lending institutions are struggling with building consumer confidence online. According to recent studies by R.V. Polk/Auto Trader and Google/Shopper Sciences, the average car shopper begins researching online. After hours of research and referencing about 18 sources, they narrow down their dealerships and financing options to only one or two before making the first hand shake.
These sources range from friends and family to anonymous reviews. Dealers and lenders now operate in this strange new world where they no longer control the flow of information. It’s no longer just about getting the customer to your door, but also about directing the conversation and what people read about you.
So how do you build trust in your brand online? The answer is simple – open consistent communication.
Before the internet, businesses held the power of information. Selling practices focused on sharing that information with customers on site, rather than over the phone. Now, the customer has the power of information and you need to openly communicate with them via any means available, including:
- social media; and,
- on your website.
But the buck doesn’t stop there. Before you even begin to engage with your customers, you need develop your core message, whether it’s family, customer service, or engagement focused. That core message will impact all avenues of communication.
By remaining consistent and active, you can direct the conversation rather than react to it. Build consumer advocates by encouraging people to share their stories and by quickly responding to both positive and negative feedback. In fact, ignoring or deleting negative posts is one of the worst things you can do online as it demonstrates lack of empathy. By responding, you prove to the general public that you take your customers seriously and will work with them to provide the best experience both online and off.
With over 35 years of consumer insights and a dedicated team of marketing professionals, EFG Companies can help you take a proactive approach to your online reputation with proprietary tools that broaden and deepen your reach and expertise. If you are ready to direct the conversation, contact us today.