BURLINGTON, Vt. –
Matt Murray says online customer engagement through reviews and social media has a strong impact on search rankings today. Murray is founder and chief executive officer of Widewail, an automotive industry reputation management and social media engagement service.
Murray says that engagement can have an immediate influence on a customer’s decision to buy, recommend, or make contact with that business.
Addressing that issue, Widetail has partnered with Lexus to ensure each online customer engagement experience with Lexus’ dealers is positive, engaging, and “exceeds the hallmark expectations of the Lexus brand.”
Widewail’s Engage service delivers online customer review monitoring and response management for local businesses. Lexus will pay for the service on behalf of subscribing dealers for one year beginning Aug. 1.
“All too often, a business suffers at the hands of a negative, unanswered review or social comment, a positive review that goes unappreciated, or worse, individuals who don’t represent the company injecting their opinion,” Murray said in a news release.
Murray continued, “We are proud to introduce our solution to Lexus dealers and ensure they never miss an opportunity to deliver a positive customer experience.”
Widetail said that as U.S. Lexus dealers navigate the business impacts of the pandemic and improve their online operations, the signature Lexus values of quality and service must not become lost in a digital experience. Lexus dealers using Widewail’s Engage will be able to monitor and respond to reviews in real time. They will be able to optimize positive reviews for search, which Widetail said can help keep customers engaged, build loyalty and improve dealership visibility.
Widetail also noted that consumers read an average of 10 reviews before they trust a local business, according to a 2017 Brightlocal Local Consumer Review Survey. Fifty-seven percent of consumers will only consider a business rated four stars or higher.
Eighty-five percent of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, according to the survey.
Jim Koons Automotive Companies marketing director Amy Nail described Widewail’s responses as “timely, thoughtful, and engaging.”
“When customer issues do arise, the Widewail process is quick and seamless, and we immediately put the customer at ease and take any issues offline,” Nail said.
She continued, “Having the expertise of the Widewail team in our corner has allowed us to focus on other aspects of our digital strategies with the peace of mind that our online reputation is being guarded.”
Using automation and industry expertise, Widewail’s service monitors and responds to consumer reviews with “immediacy and personalization.”
In the event of a negative review, Widetail notifies dealers via text. That notification includes a copy of the review and a suggested human-authored response that they can publish or edit.
Widetail noted additional capabilities of its Engage service. One is continuous monitoring of stores’ review sites on Google, Yelp, Facebook, CarGurus, DealerRater, Cars.com, and Edmunds. Widetail will soon add Carfax to that list.
Access to real-time reporting across monitored sites is another capability, along with side-by-side comparisons among profit-centers.
Dealers can also choose Widewail’s Engage Plus package. That product brings managed social engagement across Facebook and Instagram, along with social media analysis and reporting. Engage Plus features sentiment scoring for Facebook and Instagram.
Engage Plus, which is available to Lexus dealers for a $250 per month subscription fee, also includes Q&A seeding and management on the location’s Google My Business page.
Widewail is offering webinar training for enrolled dealers beginning June 4.
“At Lexus we have always held guest experience as our top priority,” said Lexus national manager of digital marketing David Telfer.
Telfer continued, “Now, more than ever, our customers are interacting with our dealerships online. With thousands of customer interactions happening each day, we need a solution for our dealerships that is of the highest quality, personal, and cost-effective. Widewail, with its thoughtful approach to engagement management and unique focus on conversational SEO, is the best choice to provide Lexus guests with personalized, impactful online experiences.”