REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Reputation.com released its 2019 Auto Reputation Report, 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 their 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,” Fuca added.
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.
Tesla posted a Reputation Score of 549, the second-lowest among the 28 auto manufacturers analyzed. Finding 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.
The report’s overall findings dispel the myth of the clichéd untrustworthy 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.
“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.”
To download the full report, click here.