Frequently Asked Questions

Succeed by working smarter than the competition

Program Basics

Why haven't I heard of Carfolks?

never-heard-of-carfolksWhile some dealers may not have heard of Carfolks yet, lets remember that at one point every service or product was new and unknown in the market. Carfolks is a dynamic platform that differentiates dealers from the competition, builds transparency to gain the shoppers trust, and makes dealership employees accountable for customer relationships.

To keep things in perspective: 

  • In 2006 no one heard of Facebook
  • In 2007 no one heard of a micro-blogging site called Twitter
  • In 2011 no one knew about a social network called Google Plus
  • In early 2010 no one heard of a slate computing device called an iPad

Good ideas have a way of growing quickly. Carfolks is great for auto retailing and will help rebuild an image which has been tarnished over the years.  We anticipate that our neighborhood will quickly have thousands of good customer focused auto dealers engaging with auto shoppers. Additionally these dealers will be building strong loyal employee networks and that means greater customer loyalty.

How do consumers know to visit Carfolks.com?

No advertising or marketing campaign operates in a vacuum. Carfolks is just one component of a dealership’s integrated marketing solution and helps provide additional differentiation from the competition. 

Since more than 90% of dealership customers visit the dealer’s website before visiting the showroom. dealers can include on their website Carfolks banners, content and reviews.  These can also appear on their social media pages, on blogs, and in other media channels.  Carfolks will provide guidelines and advice on how to maximize our program and leverage it to build trust, transparency, and generate more showroom traffic.  So the bottom line is, dealers can obtain benefits of being a Carfolks dealer, even without consumers visiting Carfolks.com. 

Think of Carfolks in the same way consumers think of the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”   The seal indicates that a product has met certain high standards of quality; and those companies highlight the fact that they have that seal of approval, but few consumers have ever gone to the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval website. Smart dealers will leverage the Carfolks Neighbor Approved Seal to indicate they provide a better customer experience than their competitors.   This can be via banners, icons, and point of sale materials in the dealership.  Dealers can also link to the Carfolks site to validate their high level of service. 

Just as Carfax and AutoCheck validate the vehicle, Carfolks validates the dealership.

 

What's the benefit of a dealership being on Carfolks?

The Carfolks program helps dealerships in three  ways:

  1. Carfolks highlights dealership team member performance in sales and service areas. Our tools and resources help dealerships retain their employees and build their networks to increase more repeat and referral business.   Over $1 billion is spent by the industry on recruiting, hiring, and training every year.   If a dealership already has a stable sales and/or service team Carfolks highlights their performance and provides the social proof they ROCK!  Carfolks help the average dealership save $14,000 annually in employee related expenses.  You can’t build customer loyalty without a tenured sales and service staff.
  2. Carfolks provides social proof that a dealership provides a better customer experience than the competition.  We do this in a transparent fashion to build trust with the online shopping community.
  3. We help dealers drive more foot traffic to the showroom with monthly community engagement programs that complement a dealers existing marketing efforts.

Carfolks.com assists dealers in: 

  • marketing to raise dealership visibility
  • strengthening brand loyalty
  • building transparency to gain the shoppers trust
  • leveraging accountability to retain good employees 
  • reducing expenditures for hiring & training
  • highlighting a stellar customer experience
  • establishing a competitive advantage

 Carfolks provides an incredible set of resources for a dealership but how they use them will determine their level of success.  The Carfolks team provides guidance and advice each step of the way.   Call us at 216-712-6712 to hear more exciting details on this program.

How is Carfolks different from other review sites?

Carfolks is  multi-tiered marketing solution that incorporates reviews as part of its program.

At first glance looking at the dealer and employee pages on Carfolks.com, it appears we are just like a number of other review platforms. But, that would be like saying a KIA and Roll Royce are the same. They may have some similarities but once you look closely; there is a big difference between them.

Carfolks.com is a hybrid-marketing program that yes, incorporates customer reviews, but we do it in a transparent fashion to build credibility for caring, customer focused auto dealers. Any dealer can post perfect 5 star reviews on their site, but doing so just confirms they can’t be trusted, because consumers know that no one is perfect. We know most customers leave a dealership happy, so we make it simple for those customers to share their experience in a neutral, independent website community to build more trust for the dealer. We don’t focus on reviews but on building an online neighborhood. That is something no other review platform possesses.

Then recognizing that many dealers do not possess the resources for creative and powerful marketing programs we incorporate a community based promotions solution to offer Carfolks dealers a means to drive showroom traffic every month to their showrooms. Detailed marketing strategies help dealers build a strong connection with various segment of the community and bring more buyers into the store every month.

We then address the problem of auto industry employee turnover in the sales and service areas. Dealers currently spend over $1 billion a year on recruiting, hiring and training due to a 55%+ turnover rate. By providing simple tools for sales employees to build a formidable referral network they could be regularly selling 15 to 30 vehicles per month and many within 12 months could be working “by appointment only.”   This illustration shows all the functionality and services we provide that are behind our review platform.

Iceberg-Carfolks Difference
Is every dealership included in the Carfolks directory?

Our goal is to include every new car franchise in our basic listing directory of dealerships at no cost to the dealer. We are not a “pay to play” program and believe good dealers should not have to pay for reviews from their customers.  

If your dealership is not listed or information is not current contact us via phone or email and we will update the dealer listing. We also list independent auto dealerships upon request.  

Dealers are invited to send their customers to their Carfolks page and post reviews to validate their customer experiences.  Our premium service integrates with a dealership’s DMS or CRM and automates the invitation process making it easier to accumulate reviews in a faster seamless fashion.  Additional video and photo functionality is also included with the premium service.

You can call us at 216-712-6712 for more information on this program. 

Use our online form to update your dealership information.

Can Carfolks Dealers post videos on their pages?

Dealers and sales or service team members on our full Carfolks Solution Program can embed YouTube videos as an intro or greeting video or a customer testimonial video on their pages. The video should not take the place of a text introduction.

Popular videos topics are:

  • Sales or Service Person video introducing themselves
  • Service Dept Maintenance Tips
  • Sales dept intro of vehicles or certain features
  • Dealerships local commercials
  • National commercials of the OEM
  • Testimonial videos of happy customers

Dealers on our full program have the ability to change videos as often as they desire.

How does the Marketing program work?

Except on our Intro Level Program, Carfolks provides marketing initiative documents to help dealers implement strategies to engage more customers, build local relationships, and strengthen their local branding in the community. 

We provide a detailed strategy and tactics document providing step by step instructions for your dealership to implement the program locally.  If time or resources are limited our team can provide the people, point-of-sale materials and other elements required for the program and all this would be for one additional project fee.  Because of the time to plan and implement initiatives we offer these documents every other month or at pre-determined intervals based on the dealership market and budget.   We invite you to ask about other available programs and support. 

Social Benefits

Does Carfolks replace Facebook pages? (Watch Video)
Does a hamburger replace french fries?  No they go together, and its the same with Facebook and Carfolks. They work together to enhance the visibility and reputation of the dealership and their people.

Almost every dealer has a Facebook page and many work hard to get friends and customers to “like” them.   Some industry experts and companies selling social media services push dealers to make large investments in social media channels.  While we at Carfolks think this is an important part of a complete marketing strategy, dealers need to be realistic and not depend on Facebook as a top tier marketing channel for selling vehicles.  Facebook is a great place to engage, educate and inform.  It is not a platform for selling vehicles. 

“Twenty-eight percent of people who purchase new cars visit social networking sites at least once a week,” says Jeff Friedman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Friedman-Swift Associates. “By far, the most frequently visited social networking site is Facebook.”

Of new car buyers who use sites like Facebook weekly or more often, 77 percent say they do not participate in any commercial activity on the site.

Nearly one in seven–14 percent–new car buyers who visit social networking sites like Facebook at least once a week look at advertisements there. This represents about 4.5 percent of all new car buyers, according to Friedman.

The number of new car buyers who connect with auto dealerships on Facebook is even smaller:

  • About 2.2 percent of new car buyers visit a dealership’s Facebook page;
  • About 1.9 percent of new car buyers have looked at car dealership ads on Facebook; and
  • About 1.9 percent of new car buyers have either “liked” a dealership or have become its Facebook friend or a fan.

“Social networking is on the rise, but it is not a strong advertising tool for car dealerships at this time,” notes Friedman. “There are exceptions–dealers who have surpassed these national numbers–but overall, Facebook is not driving traffic to dealerships right now.”

Friedman-Swift’s research is based on telephone surveys with 7,111 new car buyers. All survey respondents had recently purchased or leased a new car or truck and were over 18 years of age. Car buyers employed in the advertising, market research or auto dealership industries were excluded from the study.

ABOUT FRIEDMAN-SWIFT ASSOCIATES: Friedman-Swift Associates is the largest retail automotive research firm in the country, serving over 6,000 automobile dealerships including most Number One retailers in each line and most megadealers since 1979. For more information, visit http://friedmanswift.com/

SOURCE Friedman-Swift Associates- Marketwatch article 

Watch out for vendors who promise to promote your Facebook page and get you 1000’s of likes.  Likes do not sell cars. 

Do Carfolks Reviews appear on search engines?

Google and other search engines constantly “index” and search content all over the Internet. The Carfolks tech team constantly looks for ways to make our content more visible for search engines. Posting Carfolks reviews on a dealer’s own website helps get visibility on social media channels and in the search engines too.Remember relevant, user generated content (consumer reviews) are often ranked higher in quality by search engines and are given priority in the rankings.

Carfolks doesn’t control the search engines and our program is not a pay-per-click model, so we can not control how or where a dealer’s review content will appear on Google, Bing, Yahoo, or AOL search engines.

Dealer website companies are always working on maximizing the SEO for dealers so the best solution is to post the Carfolks reviews on your website to insure they appear on Google and other search portals.

We do know that over 95% of auto buyers at one time or another in the buying process will visit the dealer’s website, so it is critical to have content that differentiates your dealership from every other dealer in the market. That differentiation can be Carfolks.com reviews posted by neighbors of your customers and prospects. The Carfolks.com review and marketing program does not operate in a vacuum, but rather as part of your entire advertising and marketing program, so it is important to include Carfolks in all of your marketing channels for differentiation.

Can I embed Chat on Carfolks pages?

On our premium tiers, Carfolks allows dealers to embed chat functionality from various chat programs such as Contact At Once, Active Engage and similar solutions.  This will allow your team to communicate with prospects and existing customers on our platform 24/7.   Depending upon your level of participation with the vendor they may charge you a fee for integration.  Carfolks does not assess any fees on our end. If for some reason custom  coding is required on our end we will notify the dealer and vendor before any work is started.

Just let us know when you sign up that you are a current customer of one of these vendors and we will work with you to include that functionality.

More Carfolks
Highlights

Do dealers get credit for fixing problems?

Absolutely!  When a customer issue is resolved the customer is encouraged to update their comments and let their neighbors know that the dealer stood behind their products, people and the sales process.  If for any reason the customer does not post the resolution outcome, participating dealers are able to log on to the system and post comments on what they did to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the customer.

If the dealer does not participate on our Marketing Program, then the individual sales person or service adviser who has ownership of the review can offer a reply and note the resolution.

I have a loyalty program. Do I need Carfolks too?

Loyalty programs can be a great way for dealers to stay in touch with customers. They are also a good differentiation point to extend the dealers value proposition. But it’s important that dealers utilize these programs for their maximum benefit.

A few years back, COLLOQUY Loyalty Census found there were more than 2 billion loyalty memberships in the U.S. However, according to a recently published whitepaper by Neolane, many loyalty programs are “simply not living up to their names,” mainly because of unclear program benefits and irrelevant offers. In fact, Colloquy’s research found that less than half of loyalty holders are active members. Further, a third of the $48 billion in reward points and miles issued annually aren’t redeemed by customers.

And while organizations encourage customers to sign up for reward programs —possibly because of the rich customer data this provides brands—ACI Worldwide found that 85 percent of consumers in the U.S. haven’t heard from their loyalty program provider since the day they signed up while 27 percent receive rewards for a promotion they would never buy.

Loyalty programs and Carfolks are not mutually exclusive, and in fact they can actually help strengthen each other.  When a dealership participates on Carfolks it tells dealership Loyalty Club members that the staff is focused on customer service in a very tangible way.  And the social evidence can be seen in the comments on the dealership website, it’s Facebook page, and even on the Carfolks website.

Smart dealers recognize they need to leverage every positive customer interaction in every media channel available to assure their valued customers of a commitment to their full customer satisfaction.   That’s what really builds customer loyalty.

Can a dealership using the GM RepMan program use Carfolks?

Simple answer is YES. Any GM dealers using the GM RepMan program that puts reviews on their website can contact your vendor and request they send a duplicate feed to Carfolks.com.

After years of focusing only on internal Customer Satisfaction Surveys, GM recognized that what customers say publicly about dealers has an influence on a dealer’s reputation and on the GM Brand too.  That is good news for dealers and confirms what Carfolks.com has been sharing with dealers and sales professionals for the last few years.carfolks-icon125

We know most dealers are great people and offer a terrific buying experience, but if they are not providing a transparent review process that shares all the customer reviews (positive and negative) then you risk positioning your dealership as “a typical car dealer.”

Using the GM REPMan program and sending those same reviews to the Carfolks.com platform puts the “icing on the cake” and provides independent validation of the customer comments.

We would like to invite you to share your GM reviews on Carfolks.com an independent third party website. This allows dealers to leverage social evidence that their dealership provides a superior customer experience.   Just contact us to set up your account on Carfolks.com, then we will  help you get your vendor to send us a copy of your reviews for the Carfolks website.

Call us today at 216-712-6712 to discuss getting started. 

Is there a better solution than Carfolks?

We think Carfolks is the best service of it’s type in the auto industry but . . .

If you can find a better solution to build trust with your customers and prospects, BUY IT! 

If you can find a better, more cost effective way to build and promote your dealership reputation in a transparent fashion, BUY IT!

If you can find a better way to convey a superior buying experience at your dealership, BUY IT!

If you can find a better, more cost effective solution to lower your employee turnover, BUY IT!

If you can find a better way to build the personal brand of your sales and service team, BUY IT!

Carfolks offers the most comprehensive, cost effective, feature packed solution to show auto shoppers that dealers care about them, their employees, and the customer experience.

Still have a question? Send us a note

Or you can text or call us at (216) 978-0281