Robins & Day: Why Should Dealer Groups Engage with Customers Online?

How auto dealers engage with and understand buyers continues to change. Those who take advantage of online feedback will stay ahead of those who don’t, as a wealth of insights can be found in reviews and social posts. It’s critical to engage with your customers online and encourage them to leave feedback for you – positive, neutral or negative – not only to collect and benefit from feedback, but to build trust and credibility with autobuyers and bolster your online reputation.

Back in 2016, Robins & Day — a manufacturer-owned dealership group selling Peugeot, DS and Citroen vehicles, as well as thousands of used cars from all major manufacturers — began its Online Reputation Management (ORM) journey. We recently spoke with Harry Pennington, Head of Marketing and James Weston, CEO at Robins & Day to learn how the company overhauled its online engagement strategy, and what benefits it has realised since implementing Reputation.com.

What is the biggest challenge with respect to online reputation for your company?

Pennington: “The biggest change has really come from within the dealerships. Before, they were mainly focused on their Customer Satisfaction Index results, but now it’s much bigger than that. They need to focus on how the business looks online. It’s so important for retaining customers and gaining that conquest business for the future. We wanted to change the way our staff engages with customers, understanding that after leaving a dealership, that customer may go online and leave feedback on their visit, which can influence other potential customers.”

“Salesman and the Service Team are now thinking about customer satisfaction, not only from a CSI perspective but also from an online perspective — and whether the customer is going to go home happy and leave a good review for the business.”

— Harry Pennington, Head of Marketing at Robins & Day

What are your core business values?

Weston: “About four or five years ago, we created our values as a group, which are extremely employee-focused, to get the employees on track with what we want to achieve as a business in the UK. Using a platform like Reputation.com really helps us to align with our core values: People, Pride, and Praise.”

Pennington: “With People, it’s all about the people that are working in the business; with Pride, it’s about having pride in working for Robins & Day. And Praise is all about receiving praise for the good job that we’re doing, not just internally within the teams, but from our customers, as well. That really does help it to be ingrained within our business.”

How does ORM relate to your core values?

Weston: “Robins & Day’s new values are closely tied to some of the key benefits of an ORM program. We wanted each employee to feel connected to their customers, and to be rewarded and acknowledged for their hard work and great customer service. Customers are encouraged to leave feedback specifically mentioning the member of staff who dealt with them, and this feedback is now monitored daily and responded to by each dealership’s General Manager, who has overall responsibility for their location. Our goal is to respond to 100% of inbound reviews, whether positive, neutral or negative.”

For larger businesses, regardless of industry or sector, reporting can often be a hurdle to overcome when a project the size of ORM is undertaken or when a business is looking to overhaul how they track and manage their customer experience across each of their locations. How are you handling reporting?

Weston: “Often, when we deal with other major suppliers, we have to get a lot of tailored, bespoke reports. Reputation.com just provides everything within an instant, and for us, it’s been a real intrinsic tool to allow us to manage our customer reputation.

“Our Board and our Operations Directors can see instantly the performance and Reputation Scores of our sites. We can see our group score and compare that to other entities of our group in other countries, as well, so we can see how we’re performing and how we’re driving our business. But the goal is to set a performance benchmark.

“One of our key goals is to make sure we exceed customer expectations, and when we set that goal, we set it at a relatively simplistic level. That way, everyone has the same drive and buy-in. But the catch is that we need a numerical target that we are aspiring and driving to achieve. With the clear and concise reporting from Reputation.com, we can ensure we’re moving toward that target across each region and franchise of the business.”

Pennington: “We have weekly reports which are sent out to all of the management, and monthly reports that show both the individual performance of each dealership and group performance. We have regular meetings to review our performance, as well as our use of the review platforms across dealerships.”

“Reputation.com gives us a lot of reporting, and a lot of insight into our business. It doesn’t just give you the standard reports, it gives you so much more — word clouds, burndown charts and a lot of information about what our customers are saying. It’s no longer just about a star rating; it’s about what the customer is saying in reviews, and which Sales reps they’re mentioning in that review. It’s pretty impressive.”

— Harry Pennington, Head of Marketing at Robins & Day

What results has Robins & Day realised since implementing Reputaiton.com?

Pennington: “Business listing views have risen by 8,000%, from 23.6k in 2017 to 1.92m in 2018. Our total inbound reviews have risen from 1,251 in 2016 to 5,764 in 2018. As a business, Robins & Day now responds to 100% of all customer reviews, up from just 16% before implementing the platform. Our Reputation Score rose from 357 in December 2016 to 512 this month. And our overall star rating is at 4.3.”

Since working with Reputation.com, Robins & Day have seen the following key improvements:

  • Business listing views have risen by 8,000%, from 23.6k in 2017 to 1.92m in 2018
  • Total inbound reviews have risen from 1,251 in 2016 to 5,764 in 2018
  • Robins & Day now respond to 100% of customer reviews, from just 16% before Reputation.com
  • The group’s Reputation Score has risen from 357 in December 2016 to 512 in January 2019
  • The overall ‘Star Rating’ of Robins & Day currently stands at 4.3 out of 5

Would you recommend Reputation.com to other businesses?

“We had a number of choices at the start of this journey and we’re absolutely proud of the fact we work with Reputation.com. The feedback, verbatim, everything we can see to help us drive our business, the reporting, the clarity, the access to the app, everything.”

— James Weston, CEO at Robins & Day

Pennington: “It’s important to us that our customers understand that we do really appreciate their feedback. Every customer that leaves us a review — whether positive or negative — will get a reply.”

Weston: “The beauty of Reputation.com is that it gives us some really good, clear insight, from comments from customers that tie into performance issues at specific locations, or positive comments. The platform’s simplicity and ease of use, and our ability to access the platform through an app, all make my life easier. We have a really good, clear comparison across a variety of different businesses and departments, so we can see how we perform at an instant. The beauty of seeing the exact, clear feedback from the customers is that it allows us to move ourselves forward. We can respond centrally to negative and positive feedback, which is absolutely key to managing our online reputation.”

Watch the Case Study Video Today

Established in 2006, Reputation.com has worked to become the world’s largest and most comprehensive ORM platform available to enterprise-level businesses. We work with over half a million locations, across 77 industries to manage well over 100 million reviews annually, and we’re trusted by some of the biggest brands in the global automotive sector. Brands such as Toyota, Mazda, Kia, GM, BMW, and most of the top 100 dealership groups in the UK, including, of course, Robins & Day, use the Reputation.com platform to streamline their ORM activity.

The insight from both James and Harry comes from a video case study filmed at their Edge Lane, Liverpool Dealership. You can watch the full video here.