How you handle poor service reviews is key to your success

So, you’ve received a poor review from a woman customer. Now what?

First, remember poor reviews will happen. Someone will be unhappy with your dealership at some time. The same happens to Starbucks, Apple and Nordstrom.

As long as the poor reviews are infrequent, they really are good news.

091415 IL Anne Fleming Inset Graphic (Guest Blogger)Why?

  • Customers expect to see a variety of ratings when reading reviews. If all are “exceptional,” customers will think they aren’t seeing the whole picture.
  • You have a chance to correct the issue. Your dissatisfied customer could have not mentioned the problem and just told her friends. Instead, she took the time to tell you about it, and now you have a chance to work on it – and most importantly, the relationship.

It allows other women prospects to see the entire thread and see the larger picture as well as understand how you respond and treat customers.

The top seven reasons for women NOT getting service at original dealer, according to the 2015 U.S. Women’s Car Dealership Report, are:

  • Dissatisfaction with their last visit
  • Didn’t like how they were treated
  • Unable to get an issue resolved to their satisfaction
  • Cost of service
  • Inconvenient location
  • Inconvenient hours
  • Lack of concierge services

The key issue for any “poor review” is how you handle it.

092115 IL How you handle poor service reviews is key to your success

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Use rating services that allows this type of feedback to be held offline until you have a chance to resolve the problem. (Certified Dealers on allows 10 working days for customer resolution before posting the review.)
  • Carefully read and note the real issue. Determine if it’s a problem you need to address internally. Don’t dismiss it or think it is a one-time problem.
  • Discuss the problem in a prompt manner with your customer. Be sure to thank her for the feedback and make sure she has been “heard and gotten.” Once the issue is firmly resolved, you may consider:
    • Offering a service coupon and asking her to give you a chance to make up for the inconvenience.
    • A follow up call from the service adviser or even the GM, an appreciative touch.
    • Free car washes or lunch for two can be in order.
  • Resolve the issue internally, even if it was a one-time problem. If one customer reported the issue, other customers may have experienced the same thing.
  • Ask the customer if they are willing to write another review based upon this issue being resolved to their satisfaction.

Remember, customers who leave a bad review have taken the time to tell you about it rather than just walking their business elsewhere. View this as an opportunity rather than a threat and reap the rewards. Customer retention and recognizing the residual revenue in the service drive is paramount. Keeping a customer costs a lot less than getting a new one.

– Anne Fleming is president and CEO of

091415 IL logo (Guest Blogger)







* Santander Consumer USA does not endorse Anne Fleming or the content of in any way. This blog’s opinions are not Santander Consumer USA’s opinions and Santander Consumer USA shall not be responsible for its accuracy, completeness or integrity.



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