As a manager at the store where he was a salesman for many years, Richard DeAngelo saw a chance to coach others in reputation-management skills he had learned from personal experience.
"I saw the value of positive feedback on sites like DealerRater and made sure I was asking for reviews," said DeAngelo, new-vehicle sales manager for Rallye BMW in Westbury, N.Y., one of the nation's biggest-selling BMW dealerships.
"As a result of the positive feedback, I regularly had guests asking for me when they would visit our store simply because they liked what they had read about me online," he said.
DeAngelo was promoted to his current post in 2012. He said he started coaching salespeople to ask every customer to submit a review. To reinforce the habit, he offered salespeople small cash rewards for every five or 10 complete reviews. "How do you motivate a salesperson? You pay 'em," he said.
The sales department's goal is to ask every customer for a DealerRater review, without giving customers a hard sell for top marks.
To make it easier, he said that as a follow-up the dealership emails customers a link that takes them straight to the appropriate page.
Over time, the dealership's overall rating improved to a score of 4.9 out of 5, from 4.0 before he began his push for reviews, he said. Since 2013, the dealership has been the highest-rated BMW dealership in New York on DealerRater, DeAngelo said.
He estimated that around 5 percent of the dealership's customers submit a review."We probably aren't going to go out of our way to ask the occasional person who had a bad experience -- it happens," he said. "But you don't have to ask them; they always seem to do a review."