Auto Repair Online Review Management
At a busy auto shop, most owners don’t have time for dealing with auto repair online review management, especially when they have to worry about running all other aspects of the business as well.
Am I right?
But if you want to be successful and have a good reputation in your area, you need to make the time for dealing with it (or get someone on your team to be the point person for handling your shop’s reviews). If you love to get new customers more than you hate adding to your to-do list, keep reading.
Why Do Online Reviews Matter For Your Auto Shop’s Success?
Let’s talk about why online reviews matter to your bottom line.
If you haven’t noticed, people are online 24/7.
They’re glued to their smartphones and computers, especially when making purchasing decisions — 90 percent of people check reviews for local businesses, according to BrightLocal.
When it comes to planning their next auto service visit, they’re online checking out who has the fastest oil change, shuttle service or WiFi, or who has reliable service and won’t take them for a ride on that brake repair.
They’re looking for a trustworthy auto repair place that will give them the best possible experience.
Once they’re interested in you as their next auto shop, they get laser-focused on your online reputation (or, what people are saying about you in their reviews). They’re doing this through your reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook, in order to tap into other people’s experiences at your shop.
So, we know that reviews are read by thousands of people every day who are making purchase decisions. According to Podium – an industry leading review collection software (ask us about money saving opportunity available to you through us) – 93% of consumers say online reviews affect their purchasing decisions.
As you handle the day-to-day aspects of your business, online review sites are silently hanging in the background, acting like a big bucket of information about your shop for people wanting to know about your company and how you treat customers.
The beauty of online reviews is that they’re not hidden or set in stone – they’re a conversation you can be part of! You can’t listen in on what your customers say to their significant other over dinner about today’s oil change (that is, unless you’re Amazon’s Alexa or a weirdo), nor can you say anything to affect that conversation.
But you can monitor and respond to what people say about your auto repair business online.
Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from family/friends (Podium). That’s a lot of people!
And they don’t just look at your star rating. The majority of your auto shop prospects believe what’s written in those positive and negative reviews on your Yelp, Google and Facebook profiles.
So, are you using these reviews to your shop’s advantage?
How To Gain Customers Through Auto Repair Online Review Management
Let’s talk about what counts for a company’s online reputation.
Star Rating – People’s expectations for customer service today calls for businesses to have high star ratings. Consumers won’t do business with less than a 3.3 rating, Podium’s survey found. Building your star rating, if it’s currently low, opens the door to look like a good option to more people.
There are ways to improve your star rating, like asking people to update or eliminate a negative review after you’ve handled their issue, but read on for the fastest way to build your rating.
Number of reviews – Are you more willing to eat at the sandwich place with 3 good reviews and one negative review, or are you going to grab lunch at the restaurant with 100 good reviews and 4 negative ones?
People don’t like to gamble, so companies with a higher volume of good reviews look like more reliable providers than those with only a handful of reviews. A business with more reviews surely has more customers, and people wouldn’t frequent a place that has bad food or treats them poorly, right?
Same goes for auto repair businesses. A high number of reviews shows that you satisfy customers at volume and have done so for a consistent period of time. This also builds that star-rating that people seek out; thus, high review volume is one important aspect of auto repair online review management strategy.
Putting Reviews To Work For Your Shop
The way to get more customers through online reviews is three-pronged:
A) Monitor new reviews on Google, Yelp & Facebook every day
B) Respond to ALL new reviews – especially the negative ones – (including any old ones that you’ve missed) and
C) Generate a large volume of positive reviews from current customers
A and B are basic, necessary auto repair online review management strategies:
- They help you follow up with what your current customers have said about you online – the good and the bad. Not everybody’s bold enough to pick up the phone and say, “You did a fine job on my oil change, but that associate was a jerk.” You DO see a lot of people feeling comfortable enough to type that in a review, however. Retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones, so this helps your bottom line. Also, insight into your daily operations from your customers’ perspective is a huge asset – it helps you fine-tune the customer experience!
- They show prospective customers that you’re awesome to do business with because you care enough about your patrons to respond to their reviews and handle any outstanding issues.
C, or generating a large amount of reviews, requires initiative; customers forget to write reviews, even if you ask them on their way out the door.
Send the review request promptly – Once the PO is closed in your shop management system and your customer’s out of the parking lot, he or she should be to be prompted to review your business within 1 business day or less.
Make it easy – A link to your profile should be embedded in your message so as to not make your customer jump through hoops on finding out where they should review your business. If you make it difficult for customers to review you by adding steps to their process, the likelihood that they’ll follow through will dwindle.
If you’re thinking, “I’ve tried this before with flyers in the store and Facebook posts, and hardly anybody wrote a review,” then GOOD. Because you’re about to realize the big point here.
Flyers, Facebook posts, hopes and prayers and other less-than-effective methods of review generation aren’t sustainable and don’t work over the long-term. This is why the message inviting them to review you needs to reach your customers where they’re most likely to:
- Open the message.
- Follow easy instructions to complete the review of your shop.
People are busy. People forget to review you once they exit the building. That’s exactly why we recommend a streamlined, direct and easy-to-use tool for getting customers to review you within a few hours after their visit.
Once you’ve got a strategy in place to consistently cue your customers to review you online after a positive experience, you’ll be rolling in a high quantity of quality reviews.
:Shameless Self Bragging: – Most of our customers have seen a 300% – 500% increase in online review volume since they implemented advice!
Not sure who to use for this?
Conceptual Minds partners with a Google-backed platform that gets review solicitation messages where people are most likely to open them – their mobile phones! This platform also syncs with most shop management systems and can send messages automatically. It’s a great set-it-and-forget-it way to increase your review volume quickly!
Another cool thing – our buying power allows you get access to this product for lower than the retail cost they charge businesses if you were to go directly to them!!!
Reach out today and we’ll be happy to do a no-obligation consultation about how this tool can help you rule the auto review arena for your market.
Bottom line: Reviews are and should be part of an auto repair online review strategy because today’s consumer uses reviews to choose their next auto repair provider. Managing them and generating good reviews is the best way to gain new customers who are looking at what customers are saying about you online.
For those very new to auto repair online review management, we recommend Googling your own business. See what pops up – would you do business with you, based on what you’re seeing v. what you read about your competition?
If you’re like a lot of auto shops out there, you need more reviews and a better star rating to outdo your competitors and win over local customers. Have a conversation with Conceptual Minds today about your market and your shop’s unique review generation needs!
Q: There’s a ton of review sites online. Which ones are best for my auto shop?
A: Where you generate those reviews does matter. Think about it – you wouldn’t want to focus your efforts on a review platform that only a few people are visiting. Here’s how the top 3 review platforms place in popularity with consumers, according to Podium:
81% of consumers had used Google within the last year to research a local business.
59% of consumers had used Yelp for the same purpose.
49% had used Facebook for the same purpose.
Because Yelp doesn’t allow you to solicit reviews to grow your review count and Facebook is more of a social platform than a search engine, we recommend focusing your initial efforts on Google, especially because the majority of search traffic happens there.
Q: You say I need a large number of reviews online. What number counts as a “large number?”
A: Great question! In a day when people expect businesses to have it together with reviews, we advise building your profiles up to have at minimum 50 reviews to look like you’ve been serving customers well and consistently.
Your number of reviews likely affects how high you show up in Google local search results too. Google wants to see people say positive things about you online before it pushes you into the top 3 local picks the next time Joe Blow searches “auto repair shop near me.” Google cares a lot about giving its users the best local picks in search results.
Also, look at your competitors. If the shop down the street has 100 good reviews and your goal is to outpace your competition online, then generating more positive reviews quickly will help this goal.
Q: I have plenty of business, and I have good reviews online. I also show up high in Google local search for my area. Do I still need to generate additional reviews?
A: If you’re one of those lucky unicorns and everything you find about your shop online is 5-star and positive, then high-five. Seriously, kudos on providing your customers with a great experience.
The only problem with relying on this “lucky” state of high star-rating and good reviews today is that tomorrow, a few sour reviews could change all of that. Another auto shop in town that actively starts generating reviews and pushes you below their listing in Google search results could change all of that.
Generating reviews in a sustainable way ensures that you’re padding your shop’s online reputation against all of these variables. It’s like good car maintenance — you’ll wish you’d done it before weird noises start coming from the engine and performance suffers (or in this case, bad reviews come through and kill that great star rating, making customers and Google wonder just how great you really are).
Our advice: Get lots of great positive reviews now to bolster your online presence and ensure that forces outside of your control don’t affect your online ratings and ranking in local search.