Showing posts with label Online Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Online Reviews. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Recognized by Automotive News with DeliveryMaxx program

Business is pretty simple. If you provide a good product, and great customer service dealerships will increase sales and have the opportunity to win customers for life.

Two years ago, Southwest KIA located in Dallas, Mesquite, and Rockwall hired DeliveryMaxx to provide a Social Media Marketing and Online Reputation program that would help the North Texas Dealership spread their message to the world. Since that time, the stores have seen an increase in overall sales by 18% with some of the highest CSI Scores in the industry.

DeliveryMaxx has developed and currently has a Patent Pending with the United States Patent Office for one of the most comprehensive digital solution programs available in today’s market. The program combines the exciting time customers take delivery of their new vehicle and their review or testimonial about their experience. With the combination of these two pieces documenting a customer’s dealership visit; DeliveryMaxx is able to market the dealership to the world increasing sales, CSI scores, branding, repeat and referral business, service conquest, and a variety of other advantages.

“The program is very simple to use. Our sales people take a picture of the customer utilizing the DeliveryMaxx app with their smartphone. Our finance managers capture a review or testimonial from our customers which is posted directly to the major review sites by the customers themselves. We provide bullet points of events and specials to DeliveryMaxx and they write customized blogs for our dealerships” states, James Seale, General Manager of Southwest KIA Mesquite.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Do Great Products or Services Receive Positive Online Reviews?

In October of 2011 a class-action lawsuit against Yelp claiming that they were removing negative reviews in exchange for “advertising” was dismissed with prejudice (meaning they cannot be sued again for the same reason). It’s now two months from 2013 and already it seems the complaints of extortion are not going away; instead they appear to be growing more frequent in numbers as awareness has risen that something fishy could be going on at Yelp.

So far, courts have allowed Yelp to hide behind Section 230 of the Communications Act. For the uninitiated, Section 230(c) (1) of the Communications Act provides:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am the Co-Founder of DeliveryMaxx and we have a patent pending product which helps companies, particularly automotive dealerships obtaining positive online reputation.  As I always tell my clients, "nothing will replace excellent customer service and an outstanding product."  However, if companies excel in both criteria than why should these businesses not enjoy the rewards of positive online recognition or reputation?

When Google changed their algorithims to scrape fake reviews, DeliveryMaxx was not worried and stood out above the rest of Online Reputation Companies because we identified and implemented a method allowing the consumer to share with the world about their positive experiences immediately. In fact, we have posted several blogs that our clients loved while these guys hated us pulling down the curtain.  When most of these companies had to close shop or make up an excuse to their clients about why the reviews were being scraped, DeliveryMaxx's client base grew 300% overnight.

As one can imagine, other marketers are not happy with our methods or how we share them with the world because they do things wrong or unethical.  DeliveryMaxx practices what we preach and that is to provide a great product or service coupled with outstanding customer service.  In return, we and our clients have a strong customer loyalty.

Now, the issue with Yelp and its label of being an extortion site.  First, let me state that I have no problem with a company saying they will not post business reviews without that company paying to be on their sites.  This is a true "pay to play" business model, and there are some good service sites that consumers utilize to make their purchasing decisions.  The Better Business Burea (BBB) identified a need for the consumer to rate companies on the business and services provided.  The BBB investigates and allows a response from businesses and then makes a judgment for all to see.  According to the BBB's website: "Fulfill all licensing and bonding requirements of applicable jurisdictions; provide all license and bonding information upon application for BBB accreditation; and provide periodic updates upon request of BBB" and "If a business has been accredited by the BBB, it means BBB has determined that the business meets accreditation standards which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB accredited businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public."  Clearly, this is a pay to play evaluation for businesses.

However, Yelp has been criticized over the fairness of both negative and positive reviews on the site. A competitor can easily write an anonymous review with either extreme in mind. Yelp states that it will not censor reviews, but will remove suspicious reviews. Reviews are filtered for accuracy and reliability by an automated process that is intended to be neutral. The Oakland, California based East Bay Express published a 2009 story highlighting businesses that said that Yelp salespeople offered "to hide negative customer reviews of their businesses" by paying for advertising sponsorship contracts, and that positive reviews were removed and negative ones appeared when the business refused. In February 2010, two law firms filed a class action lawsuit, later dismissed by a federal judge, accusing Yelp of "extortion" on behalf of a veterinary hospital in Long Beach, California that made similar claims. Partially in response to these allegations[not in citation given] and in a move to increase transparency, Yelp added a feature that shows which reviews were filtered by its filtering algorithm. Nonetheless, Yelp continues to receive criticism over the filtering system as well as accusations by business owners of review manipulation.

Like every Web site that depends on consumer critiques, Yelp has a problem with companies trying to manipulate their results. So it set up a sting operation to catch them. The first eight businesses — including a moving company, two repair shops and a concern that organizes treasure hunts — will find themselves exposed on Thursday.

Now businesses caught soliciting favorable reviews are increasingly running the risk of getting slapped with a badge of shame like this one:


Is this right?  At first glance, I don't mind cheaters being punished if they are wrong.  I loved what Lance Armstrong overcame to win an unprecedented seven Tour de France races.  However, he cheated.  No matter how much I enjoyed seeing him dominate his sport, he did not play within the rules and his accomplishments are now erased from the record books.

The same should go for businesses that practice obtaining fake reviews.  However, the question still remains to the businesses that are judged and virtually hanged in the virtual courtyard of consumer opinion without much recourse to clear their name.

In today's world:

  • 66% of consumers use the internet to research an item online before their purchase
  • 89% of consumers research vehicle reviews online before they make their purchase
  • 62% of all consumers read consumer-written product reviews online (with the highest percentage coming from 22-35 year olds (82%) with 36+ at 45%)
  • 69% of consumers who read reviews share them with friends, family, or colleagues, thus amplifying their impact in consumer behavior
  • 82% of consumers say their purchase decisions have been directly influence by the user reviews, either influencing them to buy a different product other than the one they had originally been thinking about

The facts are businesses have to get positive published online reviews in order to sustain profitability.  They have to find mediums to share these positive experiences with the world.  The consumer is all to willing to share there bad experiences which is not a bad thing.  The fact is that consumers are not as willing to share great experiences online.  This is where the problem is created.

So my question to the reader is this.  "Is it wrong to allow EVERY consumer to review a businesses product or service immediately whether the review is positive or negative?"  If you say "no" than what is the best method?  I am of the belief that Google, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages, CitiSearch, Yahoo should allow the consumer to write a review immediately, and not punish the business for providing this opportunity within their brick and morter confines.  Unfortunately, there are cheaters.  If review sites like Yelp catch the cheaters, that is a good thing.  But should good ethical businesses that provide exceptional goods or services be punished for identifying methods that allow reviews to be published immediately?  DeliveryMaxx has been very successful in providing our clients with published positive reviews on all of these sites.

Ultimately, the consumer will provide the answer.  Our enterprise system will prevail.  The consumer will find the flaws in the review sites that don't have correct filters and stop trusting those sites.  They will also find the sites that are non-biased and choose to research information and make their purchasing decisions accordingly.

Finally, if a business wants to succeed then they must provide a great product, and outstanding customer service.  Some things will never change.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Marketing Your Automotive Dealership is NOT that Hard to Do

Recently, I traveled to New Mexico to consult with a dealership about their marketing strategy.  The conversation went a bit like this:

DeliveryMaxx: “What are you currently doing with advertising today?”

Dealership: “We are doing print (newspaper), TV, Radio, and I have a billboard two exits down.”

DeliveryMaxx: “How is that working for you?”

Dealership: “I can’t really put an ROI on it, but I think it is branding us.”

DeliveryMaxx: “In a perfect world, what would you like your marketing and advertising do for you?”  

Dealership: “We want it to brand us, talk about our customer service, and help us sell more cars?”  

DeliveryMaxx: “At least you know what you want it to do for you.  Now, is that strategy working?”  

Dealership: “I’m not sure.  That is what we have always done.  I do know this.  We are spending a lot of money for this advertising, and I can’t measure the results.”

 As a marketer, I see a lot of marketing and advertising spends, but the strategy is all too often ambiguous at best.  There is nothing wrong with traditional advertising.  However, in today’s climate businesses have to maximize their advertising spend.  Is your marketing and advertising accomplishing your goal?

 Before we talk about strategy, let’s use the traditional billboard advertising medium and see if that is providing the best return for your automotive dealership.  The cost to design and produce a billboard averages $ 900 to $ 5,000 depending on the content and who creates the advertising piece.  For a 4-week cycle (marketing companies charge this way because they get an extra month of fees) your cost will range from $ 900 to $ 5,000 for city and interstate signs.  Many of our major highways command as much as upwards of $ 10,000 per cycle (4-weeks).  DeliveryMaxx’s offices are in Dallas, Texas and a recent price quote I received for signage on Loop 635 (LBJ or Lyndon B. Johnson Highway) was for $13,600 per cycle and an additional 25% during December.


 What is Your ROI for this Ad?  What are you trying to say?

 I am not advocating vacating your traditional media spend.  In fact, Ford and General Motors allocate 70% of their advertising dollars worldwide to traditional media.  However, dealerships must have a precise strategy especially during cost-cutting initiatives.  Too often, I see strategies that are the equivalent of throwing ideas into a fan and seeing what sticks on the wall.

Do your marketing meetings produce results like this?

 Marketing and Advertising your automotive dealership is relatively easy to do.  Motivating the consumers’ actions take some well thought out strategy. 

First, you need to identify where the eyes of your consumers are looking.  According to JD Power & Associates Automotive internet Roundtable nearly 80% of all vehicle buyers consult the internet before making a purchase.  That means, you should move more of your dollars to Digital Marketing or Social Media versus traditional forms of advertising.

Second, what is the goal or consumer behavior that you are trying to accomplish?  When considering what type of vehicle the consumer is going to purchase they research published online reviews, blogs, friends and family via Facebook, Google plus, & twitter, and then dealership websites (generally in that order).  Ultimately, your goal is to entice the customer to view your website or visit your dealership.  So how do you influence the consumer to give you a chance to sell them a vehicle?

You have to have a plan.  Social Media is not going away.  It is too convenient and immediate for the consumer.  Sites may change, but the medium is here to stay.  Therefore, how do you talk to potential customers?  There are hundreds of Social Media Sites that resonate on the worldwide web.  Sites such as Pinterest demographics are 97% women.  LinkedIn is dominated by the workforce.  Facebook has replaced many phone conversations.  FourSquare is the new GPS.  YouTube has replaced MTV.  Google Plus is the new business card.



 For centuries, businesses have become great their customers have advertised for them.  In the past, it was by word of mouth at a family gathering.  Now, Social Media has made it acceptable for society to share anything from what you had for breakfast to where you went last night.  People will actually take a picture of food and show it to the world.  This is no different for your business.


 The Math is Simple!

The average Facebook user has 245 friends.

If you sold 200 vehicles in a month and your customer showed off their vehicle on Facebook, you would be branded to 49,000 new potential consumers a month.  That’s just Facebook!  Don’t forget about the other sites as well as online reviews.

Now, think about this.  If 1% of those customers were interested in your dealership because of the positive message that was sent by your client, you would have an additional 490 opportunities for a new sale.

The above photo of this happy family from Southwest KIA Dallas was put as their public image on Facebook for the world to see immediate after they purchased their vehicle.  In one hour, the photo received 15 “Likes” and 10 comments.  If each of the Facebook users who “Liked” and “commented” on the photo also had 245 friends then that one sale would have REACHED 6,370 people. Remember, this family also reviewed the dealership online, and their family portrait went to hundreds of other Social Media sites.  In short, they became a virtual billboard for Southwest KIA.

Marketing your dealership is not that hard to do.  You just have to have a great product, excellent customer service, and a strong strategy to share your message.

For more information on Social Media Marketing, Online Reputation Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Local Search Engine Optimization (LSEO), and Customer Loyalty & Retention, please visit DeliveryMaxx.