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March 13, 2019

Ouch! Friendemic’s Formula for Dealing with the Trickiest Reviews

Did you know that trust accounts for more than 50% of a buyer’s decision to purchase a vehicle from your dealership? With nearly one-third of buyers reporting dissatisfaction with their auto purchase, dealers more than ever need to be aware of how to handle the trickier reviews online.

We’ve provided a lot of helpful hints in our free Definitive Guide to Online Reputation for Auto Dealers, but we didn’t dive into the reviews that just make your blood boil and could tank your reputation.

Here are three tricky reviews our team has found and responded to along with our formula for handling reviews like these in the future.

Formula for handling:

Keep Calm + Collect Information + Put out the Fire = A Five-Star Response

Review 1: Do you feel itchy?

The first part of our certified formula for handling this review includes the golden rule of dealing with negative scores: Do. Not. Panic. Of course, the last thing a dealer wants is for their dealership to be associated with bed bugs or trips to a hospital. But writing down and posting your knee-jerk reaction will almost certainly be a terrible response that will only make matters worse. Not only will it likely make the customer angrier, but your response could also land you in legal hot water by publicly denying something that later turns out to be true, or by revealing personal customer information online about the reviewer.

Take a deep breath. Take a step back. And don’t let your willingness to defend your dealership to the death lead you to write a response that would only end up on a listicle of “worst review responses” ever made.

Review 2: Hide yo’ wife.

Remember step two in our formula? Collect information. Not every one-star negative review is valid, clear-cut and easy to reply to. In this scenario, we advise calmly directing the individual to contact the dealership to speak more to the context of their review. Once confronted offline, this user apologized and removed his review. A good response to this and other negative reviews like it could look something like the following:

“Jeremy, We’re concerned with the nature of your review and pride ourselves on the integrity of our staff. I will be contacting you immediately to discuss your experience.”

The best possible scenario for resolving a complicated or personal matter is to take it offline. Ask the reviewer to contact you, or better yet, contact them by phone if you can identify the reviewer in your CRM. Showing a reviewer that you want information suggests that you want to listen and make the situation right. And that’s something everyone wants to hear.

Review 3: Name Calling is Not Nice

This review combines the first two tips already. There’s enough to make any dealer want to defend their reputation, especially when their employees are being put through the wringer. The information about why the customer is upset is present and could be tied to a potential customer in the CRM. Which leads us to our final addition: Put out the Fire, don’t feed into it.

Stop the reviewer in their tracks. Don’t name call back. Don’t stoop to their level. Don’t defend or attempt to explain away actions online. Having a genuine response where you invite the customer to address the matters offline is the best way to ensure this doesn’t become a blaze of negative reviews tearing across multiple sites.
Our proposed response:


I’m disappointed to learn about your impression of our dealership and our team. I take our customers’ feedback seriously and would like the opportunity to gather more feedback so I can better understand the situation and fully address your concerns. Can you please send your preferred contact method to me at [EMAIL] so we can discuss this matter further?

Best Regards,


Received tricky review recently? Type it in a comment below, and our team will provide a proposed response.


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