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How to Get More Reviews and Accurate Customer Insights

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Cavender Auto Group


Boost review volume to ensure that reviews accurately represent the customer experience



Cavender Auto Group is an 8-rooftop dealership group based in San Antonio, TX. The Cavender Family has managed this group for over 80 years, prioritizing the well-being of customers, employees and the community since the beginning.

The group houses a variety of OEM brands–everything from luxury vehicles like Jaguar to non-luxury brands like Nissan. Regardless of brand, Cavender aims to meet the highest standards for their customers’ experiences buying and servicing vehicles across all locations. 

To optimize the experience, the Cavender corporate team wanted more data about its customers’ preferences and expectations. They needed a way to ensure every rooftop was well informed to make strategic operational decisions and properly cater to its unique customers. 

Colby Joyner, VP of Marketing and Strategy at Cavender Auto Group, and the rest of the corporate team turn to online customer reviews for this data. They understand the value of reviews to be able to share timely and honest feedback about what’s working or not at a Cavender dealership. Review data can also help the team understand the customers’ different preferences across the variety of brands they sell and service. 

But, using reviews as data points, the corporate team knew they weren’t getting enough reviews to accurately identify trends. 

Joyner described the connection between review volume and the ability to gather legitimate insights from reviews: “If you’re getting 10 or 15 reviews per month, then you're putting a lot of weight on each review. But if you're getting 200 or 300 a month, then you can start to see legitimate patterns in where the consumer sentiment may be off.”

The goal: boost review volume significantly. 

As with any dealership group, mountains of tasks need to be executed daily and asking for reviews isn’t always the priority. Under Joyner’s leadership, the Cavender group sought out a reputation management vendor to help with review generation and review response.

Review Solicitation and Response Tools Help Boost Volume & Engagement

Widewail was the chosen reputation management provider for a few reasons, top of which was that Widewail was recommended to Joyner by a trusted peer in the Auto Genius group.

The team opted to use two Widewail products: Invite and Engage.

Invite solves the problem of review generation. It’s a review solicitation tool that automates the process of asking for reviews. Increasing review volume ultimately activates the voice of Cavender’s happy customers.

Engage is a review response managed service that takes the burden of responding to reviews off of dealership employees. This product is the perfect companion to Invite, as all new reviews that come in are responded to efficiently and by real people, trained to handle every type of review situation. 


While some dealership groups hesitate at the idea of asking every single customer for a review, Colby Joyner embraces this because he knows the outcome is often positive.

“If you ask everybody that comes in contact with you for a review, you'd be surprised by how many positive reviews you're going to get. Unless asked directly for a review, people don’t tend to be very outwardly expressive.”

—Colby Joyner, Cavender Auto Group

Colby’s theory aligns with Widewail’s philosophy that most customers are genuinely satisfied with their visit, but they wouldn’t think to leave a review unless asked directly. The primary people who leave reviews voluntarily are upset customers. 

Cavender’s dealerships use Invite to ask all of their customers for reviews. Since launching Widewail in late February of 2023, Cavender dealerships have sent a total of 54,173 review requests. 

The results in the first 10 months with Widewail:

  • 9,800 new reviews in 10 months 
  • 18% conversion rate, meaning nearly 1 in 5 customers who are asked to leave a review
  • 123 reviews per month per location 
  • 4.7 average star rating 
  • 9% negative sentiment 

Cavender Review Volume Before and After Widewail

Joyner’s teams work hard to create an excellent in-person experience and he credits Widewail Invite for its ability to collect reviews that reflect this. According to Joyner, everyone at Cavender is too focused on attending to customers to ask for reviews. Widewail Invite uses automation to ensure no review opportunities are missed and removes asking for reviews from the team’s to-do list. 

“At a dealership, there are so many items that have to be executed on a daily basis. With every customer that comes in, there are ten steps to one task and a mountain of paperwork for another. There are so many items to execute in reality. If we didn’t have Widewail, asking for reviews just wouldn’t get done.

—Colby Joyner, Cavender Auto Group

Across all dealerships, Cavender teams received over 8,500 5-star reviews, showing that the majority of the Cavender customer base is highly satisfied. 

Joyner and his team are pleased with the high volume of positive reviews: 

“Without Widewail, we wouldn't handle reviews. We would have a low review count and we probably wouldn’t have very good reviews, because the majority of people that will voluntarily leave a review without being prompted are people that are just upset.”

—Colby Joyner, Cavender Auto Group


The reviews received for Cavender dealerships are highly valuable to the team. Not only are Cavender employees proud of the good reviews they’ve earned, but they’re thankful to the customers who wrote them. The team also benefits from looking into the issues raised in negative reviews to see what can be improved upon.

Responding to these reviews online is taken care of by Widewail’s team of professional responders, through Widewail’s managed service, Engage. 

When replying to positive reviews, responders write custom replies and incorporate relevant SEO keywords. For negative reviews, the Widewail team drafts suggested replies with relevant contact information and notifies the appropriate Cavender dealership and team member to approve the response and work on resolving the issue accordingly.

For Cavender stores, Engage is configured such that reviews are handled at the individual store level, not the corporate level. When a negative review comes in, the manager of the relevant department is alerted via email or SMS to approve or modify the drafted reply using the Widewail app, then contact the customer directly about their concerns.

Colby finds the review alert system helpful. The right managers are made aware when a customer is upset, making it easier to identify and fix the issue at hand. 

Reviews Help Cavender Teams Improve Operations

In the past, dealerships have turned to private surveys to gather insights into the customer's mind and journey. Yet, as many dealers are aware, the response rate of private surveys has been dropping lower and lower, so teams are turning to other sources for customer feedback. 

Joyner’s team has turned to reviews to identify opportunities for change. While 5-star reviews are great for building trust and for SEO purposes, Joyner knows that they don’t provide as much tangible feedback as other reviews. 

“To get the most constructive feedback, you want to lean into those 2- to 4-star reviews. These customers aren’t overly upset or angry like some 1-star reviewers are. Instead, they’re being honest. It’s from these reviews that you’re going to be able to collect the most information about which systems work and which don’t. While we can’t fix everything, Widewail helps us increase review volume and leverage the data.” 

—Colby Joyner, Cavender Auto Group

Boosting review volume with Invite helps the Cavender group get more reviews and more data to glean a more holistic understanding of the customer’s journey. 

Not only do Cavender teams appreciate these constructive reviews, but they discuss them as a team regularly and make changes as a result. 

“Sales directors look at reviews multiple times a week. They celebrate the good reviews and discuss the bad reviews. This process allows the team to understand where they have faults and where they can get better.”

—Colby Joyner, Cavender Auto Group

For example, if a reviewer notes that they felt misled about pricing, Cavender looks into whether its current advertisements match the pricing offered in-store. If the complaint is about the music being too loud in the showroom, Cavender teams adjust that. 

Widewail makes getting tangible feedback from reviews easy by providing extensive reporting about review trends over time, as well as topic and sentiment analysis powered by AI. Dealers can see what topics come up most in positive or negative reviews, what representatives are being mentioned frequently, and more.

Cavender Sentiment Tag Examples

Joyner appreciates these features, saying “The ability to easily go in and look at reviews and what customers are saying, especially with our increased quantity of reviews, makes it easy to enact changes at our organization.”

Not only does Widewail’s reporting suite help the Cavender team digest their new reviews, but Joyner “has no doubt” that boosted volume and high star ratings enabled by Widewail have positively influenced customers and prospects.


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