Our proprietary Reputation Score has become the go-to metric for the automotive industry to benchmark the strength of a dealership’s and OEM’s online reputation against their peers. One reason Reputation Score has grown in popularity is that we consistently improve it to be relevant to how customers give businesses feedback and how businesses in turn respond to that feedback, whether on their websites, social media, Google, and many other touchpoints. We are working hard to make Reputation Score the most useful single metric in the automotive industry. Today we’re pleased to announce some big improvements to Reputation Score taking effect on January 1, 2024. Read on to learn more!
What Exactly is Reputation Score?
OEMs and dealerships value Reputation Score as a leading performance indicator – giving marketing executives at corporate headquarters a numerical value to assign to their overall brand health, while also providing dealership managers with detailed customer feedback and areas for improvement. Reputation Score delivers benefits when OEMs and dealerships act on that feedback: dealership locations with a high Reputation Score generate 7X more actions on their Google Business Profiles.
Your Reputation Score – which can range from 100 to 1,000 – gives your business a comprehensive, accurate representation of your online standing against their peers’ reputations, delivered in real-time. It also provides actionable insights that can help you improve where needed.
To calculate Reputation Score, we first use AI to dig into publicly available data across the web. (We have the largest location-based data set of consumer reviews in the auto industry to draw upon.) Then we assess your business’s performance across a variety of important online areas like your visibility, engagement, and sentiment. We roll up all those factors into a single, easy-to-understand metric that provides a comprehensive check of your reputation. In one glance, anyone in your business can learn what affects your score, why your business is leading or trailing your competition, and how to improve.
What Factors Make up a Reputation Score, and What Changes Are We Making to Them?
We’re able to calculate Reputation Score by pulling in feedback from several inputs. Here is a quick recap of all of them, with a call-out to changes we’re making for US Automotive Customers:
- Star Ratings. The closer you are to a five-star rating, the better. A strong star rating demonstrates a commitment to customer service and will help drive customers to your locations.
- Review Volume. This represents the total quantity of reviews — both positive and negative — that have been written about your business. Review volume has a big impact on locations’ search rankings and on your Reputation Score.
- UPDATED: Review Spread. The spread refers to the quantity of reviews across the sites on which reviews are being posted for a single location — from Google and Facebook to dozens of industry-specific review sites. The broader the spread, the better. What’s new: We’ve made an important change that applies exclusively to the automotive industry. The review spread score will include the evaluation of review volumes on an automotive dealership’s multiple Google Business Profile departmental listings, including Sales, Service, and Parts. This score will also have less impact on the overall score in the updated algorithm. Recommendation: ensure you’re driving reviews in ALL departments, not just sales. Adopt similar processes that strong departments use to gather more reviews across other listings.
- Review Recency. Recently published reviews convey that the business is requesting feedback from their customers and that their customers are active and engaged. Newer reviews also help drive up search rankings for locations.
- NEW: Enhanced Review Quality Score. Enhanced Review Quality Score considers high volume and recent high-quality reviews. This category replaces Review Length. To achieve a stronger Enhanced Review Quality Score, you should encourage customers to be specific and detailed in their reviews. This is more important than customers writing lengthy reviews.
- Search Impressions. This plays a role in how your business looks when customers search for your locations on Google or other search engines. The higher your business or location appears in the search results the easier it will be for consumers to find it, learn about your brand from other customers, and give you feedback.
- NEW: Listing Completeness. This measures whether your listings are fully optimized, including both written and visual content. If your locations optimize their listings – putting as much relevant material into them as the listing site allows/offers — customers can more easily find the answers they need to make a purchase decision. This category improves upon the category formerly known as Listing Accuracy, which focused narrowly on the accuracy of essential data such as name, address, and location. (And yes, we still measure accuracy.)
A Big Change to US Automotive Reputation Scores: Department Listings on Google Business Profiles
We’ve made one other important change specifically for the automotive industry: the quality, completeness, and accuracy of department listings on your Google Business Profiles will now affect your Reputation Score. The importance of quality listings specific to service, sales, and parts in the auto industry continues to grow, and Reputation Score reflects that. Bottom line: If you don’t have department listings on major directories like Google, we strongly recommend doing so. It gives your customers a better experience and makes the right department easy to reach.
Note: Customers who are not in the US Automotive Industry will not see Department Listings reflected in their Reputation Score recalibrations. For details on what changes will take place in other industries, please review this article.
What US OEM and Dealerships Should Do
Businesses should always ask for reviews, respond to them, and learn from them in order to improve their Reputation Scores. To recap from the above, businesses should step their efforts in some key areas as a result of the changes we’re making:
Take Stock of Your Score
First, log into reputation to review your 2024 Reputation Score Impact Report. It will give you an idea of what your score today would be if calculated using the 2024 methodology. This will give you a baseline for understanding what changes your team can make to be ready for January.
Make Your Listing as Complete and Accurate as Possible
Focus on Listing Completeness instead of just accuracy. Optimize your listings across platforms by adding crucial details like Department pages, photos, inventory, appointment links, and Q&A. A fully optimized listing improves your Reputation Score.
Think Quality of Review, Not Length.
Encourage customers to be specific and detailed in their reviews, pointing out examples to illustrate their points, why they felt the way they did about their experience with your brand, what you did well, and what you could do better (if a review is negative). Customers should include names of employees they worked with, the products or services they purchased, and the facility quality, if applicable. All of this will give you more insight into specific actions you need to take in order to improve your customer experience.
Leverage Social Media for Public Score
Be actively engaged on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter/X. In particular, respond to customer feedback you receive on social – a very public way to demonstrate that you care.
Remember, your Reputation Score is a metric – it’s not a substitute for taking action. It’s important to learn from your challenges and strengths in order to know how to improve everything from your sales to your service lane. We can help you do that!
Turning Insights into Action with Reputation Score
If you have any immediate questions about how these Reputation Score updates will impact your team, we encourage you to reach out to your account manager, who will be more than happy to discuss these updates in detail.
Reputation Score is not just about numbers; it’s about empowering your brand in the digital world. Join the ranks of businesses that have elevated their online presence and experienced the power of Reputation Score. Contact us to learn more about how to Turn insights into action, and see your reputation soar to new heights.