For over 100 years, the motto “the customer is always right” has been used by countless businesses. And while it has been used to stress customer service in the past, it takes on a very different meaning into today’s socially connected world.

From a quick Google search, I found two reviews for the same dealership:

  • “I would not recommend this service department. They are either liars, incompetent, or both.” (The customer then explains the issue)
  • “I have been to a lot of dealers and by far this is the best one ever. The people are friendly and the technicians are the best in the business.”

Whether it’s a potential customer looking for sales or service, you should expect they will head to the web to see what previous customers thought about you. In fact, according to Vendasta:

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews

When these potential buyers read reviews, they tend to believe the customer was right, even with bad reviews.

You would think bad reviews are, well, bad. But 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see any bad scores.

What is a dealership to do?

One of the best strategies is to be responsive to the feedback. A potential customer seeing that the business accepts the bad feedback and is willing to make it right means they are more trustworthy.

On top of that, the dealership can turn a publicly unhappy customer vowing never to return into one that will come back for sales and services.

It’s also a good idea to respond to the good feedback with a note of gratitude. This adds another level of engagement and shows that you are personalizing the entire customer experience.

As the automotive dealership industry shifts from a product-centric to a customer-centric model, reviews will become a larger part of the customer dynamic. And when they leave a review, good or bad, the customer is always right.

Proactively and positively engaging with the feedback will help drive customer retention and loyalty while showing that you are a business that cares.