2016 Reviews Challenge

On November 1, 2016, WebSpin 360 launched a test. Six businesses had two months to test a new online reviews strategy.

We chose what we feel is the most difficult of industries – Automotive. It’s estimated that over a 10 year period, franchisee auto dealers each serve approximately 45,000 sales and service customers. Interesting, is that many auto dealers have less than 100 online reviews. That means they receive roughly one review per every 500 customers they serve.

Also, auto dealers are extremely competitive. They operate in what’s known as a “Perfect Competition Marketplace”. They sell the same products at the same prices in a confined market. You can be sure that the 2, 3,  or 4 Chevrolet dealerships in your area are actually in competition with each other. Each, is fighting desperately to take market share from the other Chevrolet dealers.

How the Test Worked
Six auto dealers were chosen. Each dealership adopted a new, simple strategy for obtaining online reviews. In no way, shape or form could a customer be incentivized to leave a review.

The Results
The results are pretty amazing. This new strategy generated an average of 113 positive online reviews for each dealership. 31 being the lowest, the highest being 251 reviews. Keep in mind, there are all 4 & 5 star reviews, 97% of which were posted in either Google, Yelp or Facebook.

When you consider that many auto dealers have less than 100 online reviews total, this simple strategy achieved in two months what many auto dealers haven’t accomplished in over ten years. That’s pretty amazing.

Here are the actual numbers for each dealership. Keep in mind, the location and size of these dealerships is pretty diverse:

Columbia Honda
118 Positive Reviews
4.6 avg rating

Capital Ford
31 Positive Reviews
4.4 avg. rating

Gwinnett Place Honda
251 Positive Reviews
4.6 avg. rating

Homer Skelton Ford
115 Positive Reviews
4.8 avg. rating

Homer Skelton Hyundai
54 Positive Reviews
4.6 avg. rating

Hyundai of Kennesaw
109 Positive Reviews
4.7 avg. rating

Wait, there’s more…
Another benefit of this new strategy was that it also suppressed a large number of negative online reviews. 144 in total. Each dealership suppressed an average of 24 negative reviews.

The lowest being 9, the highest being 60.

On a side note, one dealer’s CSI (customer satisfaction index) rank shot from 31st to 1st place in less than 60 days.