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July 1, 2013



To All Hyundai Dealers:


With pleasure, I announce the launch of Hyundai Customer Reviews powered by SureCritic, a new and innovative program created for your dealership’s Service Department.  Hyundai Motor America designed this web rating and review program for you to leverage customer satisfaction in order to more efficiently market your dealership’s reputation, increase web visibility, and ultimately grow customer retention.


In today’s consumer-driven marketplace, automotive retailers need a web presence.  In fact, your Service Department has one, whether created by you or not.  HMA collaborated with a group of our dealers to create a program that ensures a positive presence with verified reviews from real customers.


Our approach is simple.  Customers complete a four question web survey about their service experience.  Customers can share their review on the social media sites of their choice.  Dealers can address and fix customer complaints before lower ratings post on the web.  Dealers can also share reviews via social media sites.


A six month pilot among 22 dealers produced fantastic results.

·         Ratings averaged 4.7 on a 5-point scale.  All dealers performed at 4.3 or higher.

·         95% of customers would recommend the dealer for service.


The law of averages applies to the web: The more real reviews your dealership receives, the closer your score reflects real performance, which is over 4-stars for most Hyundai dealers.  The many positive reviews overshadow the few negative reviews, but these negative reviews lend credibility to the process.


Hyundai Customer Reviews launches as a voluntary program, and I encourage all dealerships to participate.  Web ratings represent the CSI of the future.  HMA will guide you through the enrollment process and support you through the simple start-up period.


Hyundai Customer Reviews comes at no additional cost to you.  That’s how strong we feel about it.


Watch for a communication from Frank Ferrara, Executive Vice President of Customer Satisfaction, with program details.


Stay humble, stay hungry,

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  • I asked a friend of mine, Jerry Hart his opinion on this announcement. Here is his opinion:

    Hey Sean

    Thanks for asking about Hyundai's Reputation Management Process.  Indulge me for a moment.

    There are four problems with this approach Hyundai is embarking on.  

    SureCritic says
    The purpose of SureCritic is to offset other business review websites that might be damaging your dealer’s reputation with inaccurate information. SureCritic representatives call your customers, ask a few questions about their experience, and post the review on a SureCritic Business Review Page (BRP) affiliated with your business.   

    Like this one

    Inaccurate information on a site like Yelp is not reason enough to spend most of your reputation time and money soliciting reviews that get posted on a marginally ranked - not well known review site. 

    Problem 1
    Posting reviews on behalf of a customer is not best practice and will eventually compromise the overall ranking of a dealers reputation and ranking, especially Google, Yahoo and Bing.  It's in the major search engines best interest to de-rank any other 3rd party review site and get them off the first page.  Search engine algorithms track reviews and from what I.P's the reviews have been published.  With SureCritic posting the review on behalf of the dealer, over time the dealers may see Hyundai SureCritic review pages fall down the search stack losing search equity. I would imagine the dealer using SureCritic review pages may feel more in control of his reviews for reasons I've listed below, but at what expense long term.  As more well known review sites gain more authority, a SureCritic review page will likely be de-ranked as they continue to compete against more well known household name review sites like Google, Bing, YP, CitySearch, Merchant Circle, and Yelp who have brand recognition as a consumer trusted authority for providing 'real, honest, unbiased, authentic reviews'.   

    Problem 2
    Bing and Yahoo do not appear to favor SureCritic review pages. I struggled to find anyone of their dealer clients on page 2.  With 18% of the U.S. car buyers using Bing now, how does that help the dealer long term? With Bing partnering with Siri on the Iphone [Yelp already has] - mobile prospects will only see Bing and Yelp reviews first on mobile devices. Iphone has 40% mobile market share. On mobile, SureCritic review pages will not have the power to be found. 

    One positive for SureCritic is in smaller markets where less review sites compete, SureCritic does better with Google for some dealers, ranked on the first page, usually at position 5 or below.  Downside is we know 75% of review seekers will click on the first organic link on the search stack.  With that logic, the solution does not appear sustainable long term.  

    Problem 3
    If the dealer receives a star rating lower than four, dealer then has 14 days before the comment goes live on the company’s SureCritic review page. The goal of that 14-day window is to give dealers an opportunity to resolve customer issues before their complaint can be seen by the rest of the world.  In my opinion, that can be viewed as manipulating the definition of what we call organic reputation management. If SureCritic is calling back the so called disgruntled customer to capture the resolved positive review, is it likely the customer on the phone will not be confrontational with a SureCritic customer service representative?   Our data shows only 4% will share negative feedback to the dealer to their face or voice dissatisfaction over the phone.  SureCritic does post the original complaint if not resolved after 14 days and will add the resolved response later from the customer who shared over the phone to a customer service representative the positive resolution.  I myself would not call that completely authentic mitigation when a previously soured customer is called on demand who then shares with a rep over the phone their true feelings of what really happened. Will a SureCritic rep hear the real truth?  I'm just sayin'   [SureCritic may have other means other than phone to capture a resolved complaint. I've not heard of it.]

    Problem 4
    Hyundai dealers who request customers post away from the big 3rd party review sites will have lost a precious opportunity to have an authentic and honest review posted on a the review sites that will lead the front page search engine race long term.  Numerous ORM companies do what they offer. Just like GM having dealers push traffic to a dealers website reputation landing page for reviews; essentially this does little to position a Hyundai dealer in the market leading authority position in the eyes of the search engine algorithms. Even worse, a potential customer is suspicious that this unknown review site may not have unbiased and honest reviews. Search engines weigh 3rd party reviews favorably over a custom dealer Hyundai review page. The alarms will go off when the ranking for these custom pages slowly fall down the search stack and are on page 2 or 3 of Google, Bing and Yahoo for primary auto centric keywords queried by the consumer.  What's unfortunate is all the satisfied customers who could have posted reviews on 3rd party sites will have posted a review on a dealer landing page where prospects may simply find the reviews less believable.  As we see SureCritic review pages face enormous competition from the 800 pound review sites, the question we ask now is; will the rating stars that a Hyundai prospect finds on a SureCritic Hyundai page hold enough credibility against the more well known review sites.  I would say no. 

    Jerry Hart

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