By Jennifer Karpus, Tire Business staff
ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 2014) — Engaging customers online can help grow a business, and companies that are not participating online are missing opportunities, those attending a seminar at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC) in Orlando heard this morning.
Regardless of one’s own opinion about them, online reviews are there and people are reading them, Ross McArthur, director of sales & business development at online consultants Net Driven, said. With online reviews, it is all about gaining trust.
Mr. McArthur, whose presentation covered the importance of positioning a business online, referenced an article from Third Door Media Inc.’s “Search Engine Land” website that said that 72 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Word-of-mouth advertising has always been one of the best, if not the best, form of marketing for a business, he noted. With online reviews, consumers do not just have to power to tell a few friends, but the ability to broadcast their experiences to the masses.
Among the biggest concerns for tire dealers when handling online reviews are how to keep track of them and how to handle negative comments.
Mr. McArthur said one bad review can actually be a good thing, because consumers may question if the reviews are legitimate if the business being reviewed previously had always been rated five stars.
When a company does get a negative review, Mr. McArthur said, the best thing to do is respect it and respond to it. Regardless if it is right or wrong, that is how the customer feels.
There are many review sites — such as Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc. — where a consumer can post reviews. Mr. McArthur advised business owners to think about their company’s manpower and be realistic about whether there is someone in-house who can track reviews or whether the business should pay a third party to handle it.
If the owner decides to do it in-house, he said, tackle the big sites first because they will host the majority of the reviews about a business.
ITEC 2014 for Tire Dealers/Auto Service Professionals runs through Aug. 22 at the Caribe Royale Conference Center in Orlando.