Dealerships that Manage their Reputations Increase Average Sales Volume by up to 10%
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — August 19, 2019 — Reputation.com, provider of the first and only complete cloud-based enterprise reputation and customer experience management platform, today released its 2019 Auto Reputation Report. The report is an in-depth analysis of online reputation for the world’s 28 largest automotive manufacturers across more than 16,000 individual dealerships. Reputation.com’s research revealed that a higher Reputation Score results in higher sales volume. Specifically, auto dealers see approximately 1% increase in sales for every 30- to 40-point increase in Reputation Score. The findings also show that dealers that manage their reputations effectively can achieve a 10% increase in average sales volume, whereas dealers whose Reputation Scores decrease see a corresponding drop in sales.
“Managing your online reputation is vital in any industry, but you could argue it’s even more significant in the auto industry, considering 95% of vehicle buyers use digital sources to conduct car-buying research,” said Michael Fertik, founder and chairman of Reputation.com. “Proactive communication is how brands can win business in the Digital Age. On the flip side, a lack of engagement with consumers on social channels and search engines could lead potential customers to consider competing brands or dealers with better reviews and responses.”
“Just like FICO scores indicate credit worthiness, Reputation Score has become the industry standard indicator of a healthy reputation and a company’s ability to drive revenue,” said Joe Fuca, CEO of Reputation.com. “Using the Reputation.com platform, leading dealers such as Hendrick, AutoNation and FordDirect , have been able to scale their efforts across locations, engage proactively with local communities and customers, and deliver a consistently exceptional car buying experience. In fact, 41 Ford and Lincoln dealerships ranked in the top 100 of our report, which is testament to their commitment to delivering great CX and the effectiveness of reputation management.”
“Reputation management has always been a priority to our business,” said Marc Cannon, EVP & CMO, AutoNation. “Continuing to lead within our industry is really a testament to each of our 26,000 associates who do everything to create a best-in-class experience for our customers.”
Tesla Among Auto Brands with Work to Do
While the auto industry maintains the highest average Reputation Score of the 70 industries examined by Reputation.com, managing online reputation remains critical to delivering exceptional customer experience, attracting new auto buyers and, ultimately, inspiring customer advocacy.
For example, Tesla’s unprofitability and free-falling stock shares have made news in recent months, and the 2019 Auto Reputation Report indicates the brand has a long way to go when it comes to consumer sentiment, as well.
Tesla posted a Reputation Score of 549, the second-lowest among the 28 auto manufacturers analyzed. Findings suggest the low score could be due to a failure to respond to negative reviews. Tesla responds to just 1% of the negative reviews it receives online, by far the lowest among the manufacturers included in the report. By comparison, the highest scoring dealer, Lexus, responds to 48% of negative reviews.
Further, Tesla dealerships came in with an engagement score of just 3% — no other manufacturer’s dealerships had an engagement score below 42%. Just 7% of Tesla dealerships claimed a Reputation Score above 700, easily the lowest rate among dealerships analyzed.
Auto Industry Beats other Industries in Overall Reputation Score
The report’s overall findings dispel the myth of the clichéd “car salesman.” In reality, auto dealerships have better overall customer sentiment and higher Reputation Scores than the other major industries Reputation.com has examined. Specifically, auto dealers have higher average online sentiment and are among the most responsive to online feedback.
Auto dealers posted an average Reputation Score of 607, edging out the hospitality industry (605). They also lead the way in review quality, averaging 4.4 stars out of 5 over the past 12 months.
“At Sonic Automotive and at our dealerships we place significant importance and invest our efforts in managing our online customer reviews,” said Rachel Richards, Chief Marketing Officer. “We closely monitor and respond to all reviews, positive or negative. Daily reports are reviewed at all levels of our organization including by our CEO and President.”
“Reputation Scores can change quickly in the Feedback Economy, so auto dealers and manufacturers should not become complacent,” said Fuca. “Consistent monitoring, responding and engagement are essential to successfully maintaining a positive online presence and proactively mitigating potential customer issues. Dealerships that invest in regularly monitoring and work to optimize CX at every touchpoint along the customer journey have the strongest advantage.”
Measured on a scale of 0 to 1,000, Reputation.com’s Reputation Score is a comprehensive index of the digital presence of business locations in more than 70 industries. It is calculated based on multiple factors measuring overall review sentiment across review sites, business listing accuracy and other indicators that reflect consumers’ car-buying experiences and opinions about dealerships — both online and onsite. For this report, Reputation.com analyzed online data covering more than 16,000 dealerships in the United States from reviews, listings, social media, search results and customer engagements from sources such as Google, Facebook, Cars.com, Edmunds and other sources.
“Reputation Score is a vital measurement for Hendrick Automotive Group that’s discussed weekly in direct calls between every General Manager and our Executive team,” said Edward Brown, CEO. “The reputation of our dealerships reflects on Mr. Hendrick himself and on our brand. Using the Reputation.com platform, we can monitor Reputation Score for each dealership and for the organization as a whole, drill down into the specifics for unprecedented insight into the service we’re delivering, and take immediate action on what we learn. That helps continue to improve the customer experience and inspire customer loyalty and advocacy in the communities we serve.”
Download the complete 2019 Auto Reputation Report to learn more.
Reputation.com, provider of the first and only complete cloud-based enterprise reputation and customer experience management platform that spans the entire customer journey – from finding a location on search, to conversion, to operational improvements that deliver a better customer experience.
The Reputation.com market-leading platform manages tens of millions of consumer reviews, surveys and social media interactions across hundreds of thousands of online points of presence for global companies in healthcare, retail, automotive, restaurants and others. To learn more, visit www.reputation.com.