As consumers, we have preferences, and our preferences are so unique that they can be conflicted with the plethora of options that are put in front of us every day. As a result, we are encouraged to measure several variables before making purchases. We compare substitutes, complements, brands, packaging, price, overall lifetime value of the product or service, and we look for signs of credibility. Sometimes, a brand name just doesn’t speak loudly enough for a product’s reputation, so we reference the next best definer of quality by seeking the opinions of people who have purchased the product or service before – essentially, known as Word-of-Mouth (WOM) advertising/marketing.
Purchasing decisions can be heavily swayed by WOM at any point in the sales process while shopping offline as well as online, which means that it’s very important to keep your dealership’s website updated with the online version of WOM: Testimonials! Dealer websites that display their most current customer reviews and testimonials are perceived as more credible and, thusly, have a competitive advantage over competing websites that don’t provide any at all. In fact, a 2012 consumer survey on local (geographically-specific) online searches found a recent positive shift in consumer trust and appreciation of online reviews! Some of the most important findings determined the following:
- 72% of consumers surveyed said that they confided in online reviews and testimonials just as much as they did personal recommendations from other people.
- 65% of them felt that they needed to read approximately 2-10 reviews in order to have enough confidence about making a decision.
- 52% of those surveyed said that positive online testimonials made them more likely to use a local business (or dealership).
- 27% percent of these consumers always looked for the online reviews first in order to determine which local business to buy from.
Therefore, you can be certain that online testimonials are effective and credible sources of online WOM, are important factors of consumer decision-making, and help to establish greater trust in local dealerships like your own.
Selecting a Page for Testimonials:
If you don’t already have one, it’s a great idea to add a page to your website dedicated entirely to testimonials. Ideally, you would keep this page updated with the most current testimonials from customers raving about the quality of your dealership’s products and delivery of its service. Avoid having a testimonials page that doesn’t have any reviews loaded, because it could send a negative message to users, seeming as though nobody has anything positive to say about your business. So, if you have a testimonials page, but no reviews to post, then your website is better off not having that page, period.
If you choose not to dedicate one page to testimonials, then a good alternative would be adding them to other pages of your website, such as the home page, new and used equipment pages, and service and parts pages. Using website stats to identify the most popular pages and/or pages with high entry rates could also be a useful way of selecting pages to display customer reviews on. Thereafter, you may want to begin gauging the overall effectiveness that the testimonials have had on these pages by monitoring the change in bounce rate, users’ click paths, and other relevant factors.
How to Collect Testimonials for Your Website:
- Request them from customers in person, on the phone, via email, or in newsletters and obtain permission to post them on your website.
- Conduct buyer satisfaction surveys and post the results on your website.
- When customers mention commendable things about your dealership in casual conversation, ask them if they would mind putting it in writing or if they would mind being quoted for your website.
- Some testimonials are volunteered and come about sporadically, so keep an eye out for those opportunities, too!
Remember that your buyers can be your biggest salesmen, so allow them to speak up!