You have seen it out there. Your auto repair shop shows up in search results with your address, website link, phone number and… reviews. There’s no escaping it. But sometimes you may find an online listing that you’re not too happy about what you see, whether it’s an error in your information or the reviews aren’t as great as you know they could be.
You can’t simply shrug it off knowing you’re doing a good job at your auto repair shop. That’s because online review sites are the go-to for consumers looking for the best places to spend their money, including where to have their car serviced. In fact, 88% of consumers incorporate reviews into their purchasing decisions, trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s huge! And a whopping 67% of consumers need just six reviews or less to make a decision. Numbers like this show just how influential good reviews can be to a customer faced with a decision.
If you’re still uncertain that online reviews matter for your auto repair shop and are hesitant to list your business on a review site, then this blog’s for you.
1. Accurate Listings Boost a Potential Customer’s Confidence in Your Auto Shop
Unfortunately, people can be skeptical about auto repair shops which means they don’t need much to discourage them from selecting your shop for their auto repair or maintenance. Since one customer can literally be worth $1000, whether it’s in one visit or over a lifetime of visits, you can't afford to lose a single potential customer because of a poor online reputation or no reputation at all.
Start with the easy things. Make sure your NAP is right: your name, address, phone number. Of course, your website and hours need to be correct as well. This is important whether your part of an auto repair franchise or an independent auto shop owner. People use those listings and if your information isn’t correct, that could be all it takes to lose that sale.
Some of the most important sites to be sure your auto repair shop is listed on include:
- Google Maps and Google Business - To claim your listing or create one for Google Business from scratch, start here.
- Angie’s List
While you’re at each of these sites, pay attention to what the reviews say. (This is a part of your auto shop digital marketing that we’ll discuss again later.)
You may see that Bing will use Yelp’s reviews, as seen in this example for Tallman’s. If you have to prioritize your listing sites, Google and Yelp would be the first to focus on.
If your auto repair shop isn’t listed on the top three, stop reading this post and take 10 minutes to create a profile on each platform. Seriously! Here is what you need to do.
How to claim your auto shop’s online listings
If you see a listing, but you don’t have the management rights for it, you’ll need to claim it. Claiming your listing is a little different for each service, but in general, you’ll need some proof that you’re the owner or manager of that auto repair shop
Follow each service’s instructions to be verified. Then update your profile. Be sure your phone number is correct and then add your logo, website address, pictures, hours, specials and anything else that will help people trust and choose you over another shop.
2. Online Listings & Reviews Will Help You Get Noticed
There are a lot of auto repair shops out there. While that’s good news for people who need repairs or maintenance for their vehicles, it’s not necessarily good news for you as an auto repair shop owner.
Good reviews, however, will give you an edge of others that may show up with you in the same set of search results. You want a rating that’s at or above a 4.0 and you need more than a few. Dozens would be good. Hundreds, over time, is even better. It shows you have a long track record of happy customers. In the example below, what are the odds you would call the shop on the map with no reviews over those with a long-standing positive track record?
This means you’ll need to make an effort to ask customers to give you reviews, especially if you know they had a good experience. Auto Repair The Woodlands may be a great place to have your car serviced but people are less likely to choose them simply because of their lack of star ratings.
3. Online Reviews Are a Gateway to Communication and Stellar Customer Service
Online reviews are very telling. If you want to know whether you’re doing a good job or what you are doing wrong and how to improve your service, just search for your auto shop online. Even if you haven’t officially claimed your business on an online review site, you shouldn’t be surprised if someone has posted a review about you. Hopefully what you find is good. But if it’s not all outstanding reviews, you can use this as a learning opportunity as well as a chance to avoid losing business.
Did you know that just four negative search results can cost you 70 percent of your potential business? That’s huge! That’s why it’s important that you respond quickly and professionally to negative reviews, even if it feels like a punch in the gut. By doing so, you can turn it into a positive experience for the customer. And that will only help your business in the future. While you can’t erase a negative review, you can show future customers that you are listening and dedicated to making things better if trouble were to arise.
Here are some do’s and don’ts of handling online reviews for your auto repair shop.
- Research - Ask your service technicians if they have any knowledge of the situation. This will help you understand why the customer is upset and if you need to address any issues internally.
- Apologize - It’s hard to argue with someone’s feelings. Simply acknowledge why the customer is upset and apologize for it. A little empathy can make a lot of things better.
- Take It Offline - Provide contact information and an invitation to talk one-on-one. This shows that you’re willing to spend time listening to your customers and their concerns.
- Try to Change Their Mind – This could come off as argumentative or condescending, and while that isn’t your intention, it could do more harm than good.
- Reuse Responses – Using the same reply over and over shows customers that you aren’t paying attention to their unique concerns. Instead, reference phrases from their specific review to show that you listened to and understood their concerns.
- Delete Reviews – Deleting a bad review makes it look like you have something to hide. In many cases, it’s not even an option. But even if you can remove it, as tempting as it may be, leave the negative reviews so they can see you’re not “stuffing the ballot box.” Just be sure you’ve responded politely and handled the situation offline.
And while you’re at it, take time to respond to some positive reviews as well. It may seem like a silly or unnecessary thing to do, but responding to a positive review is an easy way to engage with happy customers that benefits both your brand identity, as well as your one-on-one relationship with that customer. Remember, online review sites are public so positive communication can really boost your business!
Embrace, Don’t Avoid Online Review Sites
Sure, auto shop reviews can sometimes be uncomfortable to deal with, but they can also be a great source of business. And, they’re here to stay. Your auto shop profits can greatly benefit from your careful focus on collecting and monitoring your online reputation.
Finding the best ways to advertise in your local area is key to driving new customers to your shop. Learn more about some of the top auto shop marketing tactics and how to apply them to your auto shop.