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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’m sure some car buyers have the same skepticism trusting a dealers websites reviews like I do the Mayan Calendar. If I did then we both know the world is toast on December 21st.

I’ve heard some ORM vendors advise that the first step to increasing positive reviews is to capture your own customer reviews in a “testimonial spotlight” page on the dealership website. I’m pleased to see the wave of dealers requesting feedback in tandem with CSI requests and yet perplexed by the notion of a first step, directing them to the dealers testimony review page in the buying moment or after the purchase. I’m all for requesting reviews from the customers I.P after they leave the dealership, but posting on the dealerships site as the first step? Forget the first step logic for a moment and lets resonate in reality that customers will be suspect of any company’s site testimonials in the coming days to measure credibility. They already are.

For the dealers who spend all day everyday pushing customers to post reviews on the dealerships site, what happens when Google starts the slap claiming the reviews are not valid. The dealers are not a 3rd party review authority. Isn’t it Google’s power to make sure your found as the authority based on you being a more credible, honest, and candid source for both customers and search engines?

Yelp and Google are far more credible than a dealerships website.

Consumers know you can control the content on your site. The overall consumer sentiment senses that the dealer website does not have bulletproof credibility like peer-to-peer reviews do on 3rd party review sites.

Some dealerships are only populating positive reviews with 0 negative. This is hardly believable, and not aligned with what consumers will start demanding of dealerships in the future. The public demands and respects what their peers say about a dealer on highly ranked review sites much more than what is being said about the dealership on a dealer’s website.

My Uncle John’s opinion and review is be much more believable than any article I can read in the Wall Street Journal or a dealerships testimonial page on the dealer website. In a world where small is big, authority review sites, bloggers, relatives and friends are more influential than the American institution or media establishment or for the sake of this example, the dealership.

I also think most of us want less overlap between CSI requests and requests for reviews on 3rd party sites. I see firsthand how customers get befuddled considering which customer feedback mechanism to use and dealers thwarted by which ones we push.

Validated content is genuine, without manipulation

There’s no perfect answer to any of this, however, our statistics show customers are more likely to post the most authentic, honest, natural sounding review, once they get home or back to work. Bottom line is search engine algorithms are running bots and give higher ranking for validated content. Validated content is genuine, without manipulation and soon enough the public and Google will deem a review as valid when the review positions (filtered/unfiltered) cannot be bought to hide the bad and lift the good, that they are unchangeable from the inception and post live in real time.

Furthermore, one of the largest missed opportunities is the complaint. From my analytics, dealerships who welcome complaints from follow up communication are amazed at the uptick of unsatisfied customers and welcome the opportunity to understand underlying issues and then resolve. High class problem, right? The good news with follow up emails after the customer visit is you avert some of the most visceral slander that once online pretty much damages the dealers bottom-line.

It's a great time to look at partial automation of reputation building. Send a video email after the car sale or R.O. with what I call “organic drip” reputation review requests. This means a natural, day-by-day follow-up program with your customer after they make a purchase. Automating the process pulling from your DMS nightly, building reviews on review sites can work in tandem with your CSI survey requests whether you present a customer survey during or after the purchase.

Jerry Hart
Schedule a 5 minute
Demo of eReputationBUILDER

Ask a Question: jerry(at)erepbuilder(dot)com
For more information, visit

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Make Excuses.....or Make MONEY!!

First of all I would like to congratulate Willis GM in Smyrna, Del. for not only being the AIS dealership of the month, but also for sending in one of the best testimonials I've ever seen in my 10 years in the car business! I must say hats off to the whole crew; and it truly is a pleasure working
with your dealership!

If you missed the bus on having a GREAT November, I hope you wake up before it's too late to have a good December and to end the year with a BANG!

At this time of the year, not everyone has fallen into "holiday mode" and some dealerships are really ramping it up for the season! It's very easy for us to blame the holidays on having a bad last two months of the year. Yes, it's true that Thanksgiving, as well as all the December holidays, fall towards the end of their months respectively. Traditionally - and people that have been in the business for awhile know - we try to get as many deals as we possibly can the first two to three weeks of the month, just in case our numbers aren't what we hope towards the end of the month. However, let's face the facts about the general public/consumer:

- People have saved all year for "this time of the year"
- People are out spending money much "more freely" than usual
- Perception is that the "best deals of the year" are made NOW.

Let's also face some "dealership" facts:

- Dealers are trying to make month-end quotas
- Dealers are trying to make YEAR-end quotas
- There is a lot of OEM bonus money when dealerships hit their goals
-Salespeople that are certified through their franchises, such as Chrysler 5 Star, or Gold certified salespeople, are also trying to hit their goals with units sold to maintain their status and maybe
boost their CSI grades as well.

Bottom line: Let's get some of that spending money into our dealership! We are going to do everything we can as a dealership to make a deal! It's up to you to make sure our potential customers know that!

Wehave to make perception a reality through the phone, and in the showroom, that the BEST deals are in fact made NOW! This is not a myth!
Some dealers will even LOSE money to sell you a car, because it could mean tens of thousands of bonus dollars or incentive money from our manufacturers. I have watched the owner of a dealership that I previously worked at actually lose over $2,000 to make a deal. You say how? That particular deal, made on the last day of the month, was the number 30 new car for the month, and we hit our OEM goal and got $1,000/copy for EVERY new car we sold that month.
Yea, YOU DO THE MATH! It actually MADE the dealership $28,000, but the important thing was that our customer that was in the right place at the right time got the deal of a lifetime.

Moral of the story: We can sit around and blame the holidays for not being busy, or we can create urgency and relay to our customers that this is in fact the best time to buy a car. I guarantee if you get excited and make sure your customer knows that they will miss out if they wait, you will have a nice bonus check! Or, you can just except that they are going to wait "until the New Year" or "when I get my tax return," has anyone heard that one before?

-Andy Fedo
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