Automotive Reputation Management: Budget, Branding & Benefits [Factsheet]

It’s hard to get good guidance on marketing channels exclusively for auto shops. Our factsheet explores its major advantages and disadvantages, as well as strategic recommendations and ideal budget allocation.

Share This Post

Conceptual Minds | July 10, 2023

Marketing for Auto Repair: Reputation Management Factsheet

In a digitally connected world, few retailers of any kind can afford to avoid reputational review sites like Yelp, Google My Business, and Angie’s List.
Consumers love them. Unlike ads and testimonials, such reviews are (mostly) written by real, everyday people, giving their honest, unbiased opinion about their actual experiences. Auto shops running effective reputation managementcampaigns can help draw traffic, start conversations, and shape local sentiment. 
Because it’s so difficult to get good guidance on reputation management for auto shops, we’ve decided to develop a factsheet for this channel. Read on to learn this auto repair marketing channel’s major advantages and disadvantages, as well as strategic recommendations and ideal budget allocation. 

Auto Repair Reputation Management: By the Numbers

Social review sites have a profound impact on businesses in numerous ways.
Brands with a high review point average earn greater car counts, positive sentiment, and word-of-mouth impact.
  1. 94%: Consumers who say they would would patronize a business with 4/5 stars; 57%: 3/5 stars, 14%: 2/5 stars
  2. 5-9%: Revenue growth attributable to every single-star rating increase
  3. 78%: Consumers who say they believe a business cares more about them when they see a review response—whether the initial review was positive or negative 

Advantage #1: TV Ads for Auto Repair

Via icon0 com
Given the inflamed passions of the occasional angry customer, you would be forgiven for assuming that no retail customer has ever swallowed a complaint.
The opposite is true. 
Only one of 26 customers complain about a negative interaction. The rest keep quiet, and likely won’t return. There are several good reasons for this; reputation management addresses every single one:
  1. Worry their complaints won’t be heard. Maybe they complained in the past, and no change or made no resolution provided, or they assume that their problem is common and unavoidable. According to surveys, 79% of consumers who reported sharing a complaint online had their complaint ignored.
  2. Don’t want to damage the relationship. This is particularly the case for customers with whom you have meaningful ongoing relationships. They fear conflicts and/or retribution in the form of worse service, getting an employee fired, or other negative consequences. 
  3. They think the problem isn’t that big a deal. There are many aspects of the customer experience that might trip people up, however, if the consequences aren’t so significant, if it’s not that much of a hassle, they’d instead save the time and effort it would otherwise take to complain.
  4. The complaint process is unclear or complicated. Customers don’t know how to escalate complaints beyond ground-level staff unless they’re specifically told. Add this to the fear that their complaints won’t be heard; this effort may feel too much. 
  5. Some are simply reserved. They wouldn’t go out of their way to criticize unless prompted, even if they have a good reason.

Advantage #2: SEO Benefits Help Increase Your Discoverability

Not only does effective reputation management net you more new customers, it also helps your SEO, too.

Google treats each review as a new, distinct, and highly relevant nugget of content—aka UGC or User Generated Content providing an incremental boosts to rankings. Not only do you get credit for the content’s recency, your visibility increases with your average star ratings. 

Advantage #3: Reviews from Verified Real People Gives You More Credibility

Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash
Social review sites have taken off largely because consumers find them far more trustworthy than digital ads and typical testimonials.
Such reviews are trusted nearly as much as personal recommendations; in one BrightLocal survey, 91% of respondents aged 18-34 trust online reviews as much as personal 
Positive reviews and testimonials build trust and credibility, making it more likely for potential customers to choose a business over its competitors. 

Disadvantage #1: Automotive Reputation Labor & Maintenance

While reputation management is far less labor-intensive than SEO and social media, it still requires a significant commitment of time. You’ll likely need to pay a contract digital marketer for a few to several hours a week (And if you’re just starting out, you’ll need around six months of management to begin to notice a substantial difference in car counts). 

Disadvantage #2: The Consequences of a Bad Rating Can Be Severe

One of reputations biggest cons is the flipside to its best quality: how strongly it amplifies customers’ current feelings toward your brand.
Just as a positive reputation can be lucrative, a negative one can be costly.
This disadvantage isn’t exclusive to sites like Yelp and Google My Business. Negative reputations existed long before the web and proved just as harmful. It’s your business decisions that impact how people experience your customer journey and how they feel about you.
You can manage this by paying close attention to the following circumstances:
  1. Your reputation exceeds its “objective” desirability. Setting expectations too high can lead to disappointment and lower reputational rankings.
  2. Substantial changes in consumer expectations. People change with the times. You may find that how their expectations change impacts their valuation of your value proposition (ex: demand for digital convenience may make customers skeptical of shops with a limited or poorly-designed website). 
  3. Ineffective coordination: In well-run shops, teams and employees have their fingers on the pulse and actively manage customer expectations properly. Poor internal coordination prevents the right decision-makers from discovering perception shifts in consumer expectations and feelings toward your shop.

Automotive Reputation Management Recommendations

  • Single Shop Location Budget Allocation: 7% of total marketing budget
  • Multi-Location Shop Budget Allocation: 4% of total marketing budget
Reputation management is an essential channel for nearly all retail businesses; auto repair is no exception. Running it effectively means engaging positively with reviewers as well as addressing negative reviews.
Reputation management tips include: 
    • Request customers leave their cell phone numbers, and ask their permission to send occasional texts. Then, establish automated follow-up texts that prompt customers to leave reviews
    • Reach out to your 20 best customers to facilitate glowing reviews
    • Respond directly to every inbound review, thanking them for their opinion
    • Responding to negative reviews thoughtfully and with an eye towards smoothing out bumps in the customer experience (56% have changed their opinion about a business because of a response that the business gave for a review).

Learn About Conceptual Minds

As veterans of the automotive industry, the Conceptual Minds team are experts at growing car counts through effective and personable marketing. If you are unsure of your current marketing strategy and would like some guidance, contact us today at 877.524.7696.

Need help implementing winning auto repair promotions?

More To Explore

Using AI for Personalized, High Impact Marketing Campaigns

July 9, 2024

Most small auto repair shops face a unique challenge: standing out in a crowded market dominated by big players. If you’re a small shop or chain […]

Image by Елена from Pixabay -- girl in a car

14 Genius Auto Repair Shop Promotional Ideas for August

July 5, 2024

When it comes to brilliantly crafting marketing campaigns and promotions to attract more auto repair shop customers, finding unique and effective ideas can be a challenge. […]