Keep an Eye on Your Yelp
Is it a law that all car dealers suck or does it just turn out that way organically? I live equidistant between three VW car dealers and now that my Jetta Diesel is pushing 10,000 miles, I need to get it serviced. I went online to check on what others say about each of the three.
Do I drive down to Cape Cod (where they suck) or over to Brockton (where they suck) or back to the dealership where the car was purchased (where my purchase experience was chronicled in a blog entry last June. Oh, and they suck, too). Decisions, decisions.
It got me thinking about the source of this suckiness: Yelp. Yelp is a Website that gives voice to the consumer. It collects comments—in theory both good and bad—about one’s experience at places like stores, hospitals, banks and, yes, car dealers.
Out of curiosity, I expanded my search of VW dealers in the Greater Boston area. The result: sucks, sucks, sucks, and REALLY sucks. Amazing...but what’s more amazing is that the car dealers seem to let it happen. I mean, where’s the rebuttal? At least on eBay if someone rips into the Seller there is a chance for a counterpoint. I would think that someone would notice that only the bad is being spoken about on Yelp and do something about it.
I finally chose the Brockton, MA, VW dealer. Funny thing was, I already had a bad taste before walking in the door thanks to Yelp. Things I normally wouldn’t notice became instant validation of the comments I’d read. And when the owner walked in and avoided making eye contact with the customers waiting in the service area that he walked right by, I started writing my sucky Yelp comments in my head.
But then a funny thing happened. The girl opposite me who had broken down on the highway and had to get a tire changed was given priority service and sent on her way. The guy next to me asked a thousand stupid questions and the service tech answered every one of them patiently. And my 90-minute projected wait turned out to be 45 minutes. It left me with a—gulp—good impression of the place. Dang! I had nothing to Yelp about.
If this particular VW dealer was guilty of anything, it is not monitoring its own reputation. Oh, and his bathroom is a mess, too. But why isn’t he looking up his own company and checking to see what people are saying about it? Why isn’t he encouraging (and perhaps even rewarding) people to Yelp about the GOOD things that happen there?
And the biggest question of all, why aren’t YOU?
We are in a customer driven and empowered world, one where no one has to listen to marketing bravado in order to determine whether or not a product, program, service or company is any good before trying it out. It’s a Yelp or be Yelped existence.
Consider yourself warned.