Mobials says the response to its Consumer Trust Certification program has been very strong in the first six months in market.
Close to 80 dealers have qualified for the certification, which identifies the most trusted and highest-ranking stores through the company’s consumer review system Reviewsii.
“Dealers are seeing tremendous value from increased impressions and equally important being able to showcase trust,” explains Mobials V-P of sales Cheryl Milani. “Progress has been incredible.”
The online review and referral company launched the program in the early summer at the same time it launched its Dealer of the Year Award in partnership with TRADER. It also rolled out additional tiers of its Reviewsii product that offered flexible alternatives to fit different dealership needs instead of the old one-size-fits-all model.
Any store that meets the following four components in a calendar year will qualify for certification banner – use vehicle history reports that conform with provincial regulations for all business to consumer sales; minimum of 25 reviews through Reviewsii; minimum of four-star Reviewsii rating; and honesty and integrity in listing vehicles on third-party online listing sites.
Certified dealerships are given marketing materials that identify it as a trusted brand. A banner ad is added to the dealership site that includes its Reveiwsii star rating.
The value of the program, Milani says, is rooted in current consumer buying habits.
“Customers are making the majority of their decisions online and only visiting 1.3 dealerships in their entire purchase process,” she says. “Consumers know and trust TRADER as a brand. By combining the power of the consumers voice with the branding of TRADER, dealers are able to differentiate themselves in the battle to become the one dealership the customer physically goes to.”
Reviews and ratings will syndicate and follow the brand to its listings on third-party websites like Canadian Blackbook, Carpages and TRADER.
Manitoba-based Birchwood Automotive Group has fully integrated with Mobials and is one of the most loyal and strategic partners.
Mobials says Birchwood does an incredible job of capturing the consumer journey from cradle to grave and has created an entire team to handle its presence in the digital space.
Roughly 50 dealerships are working through changing websites to accommodate the banner or are in the process of launching a new site with a new provider.
“The importance of having it follow the consumer through their navigation of the website site is something many of dealers are very savvy to,” she says, noting dealership groups including O’Regans, Boyer, Murray, Humberview, Hudson, Dilawri, Go Auto, AutoCanada and Lecluse have started the program with at least one store.
Ontario-based Leggat and Myers have their entire groups on board.
When asked about the dos and don'ts for dealers looking to sign up, she stresses the importance of getting customers engaged as advocates and sharing their experience to their friends and family on their social networks.
“Ask every customer every time how their experience was and take control of your online presence instead of letting unhappy customers vent on forums you cannot control like Google and Yelp,” she advises.
And take pictures. Include images in the reviews.
The company notes it is also important to not shy away from negative reviews. Aggregate them with the 1,000’s of positive ones, answer them and learn from them.
For Milani, she says the reason the program and the company is growing is because of the commitment to the dealer.
“We have become the number one auto review platform in Canada for a reason. We are an opt-in solution that allows dealers to showcase the reason people do business with them, and that is the experience,” she says.
“Consumers are shopping for cars online; that is where we showcase the reviews and that is where you can influence the buying decision.”