Responding to Negative Reviews of Your Auto Shop
Responding to negative reviews of your auto shop online – kind of feels like getting in line for a good lashing, doesn’t it?
In the auto service industry, we all aspire to create 100% customer satisfaction. Nobody wants their customers to be unhappy – it’s bad for a shop’s reputation, which is bad for a shop’s bottom line. Happy customers = successful shop.
You’ve also been turning wrench long enough to know that some customers you serve aren’t going to leave happy – despite your best efforts!
With online reviews becoming the new word-of-mouth, you can bet that some unhappy customers will leave a negative review on a public platform like Google or Yelp. Did you know that Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience?
Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore a bad review in hopes that it will fade away into the white noise of the Internet. In fact, ignoring a negative review can generally make things worse, not just for your relationship with the customer who wrote the review, but also your public audience: Ninety percent of online searchers use reviews to determine whether they’ll do business with a company (Podium).
For that reason, we’re serving up some pro tips that will help you navigate almost any situation that arises in responding to negative reviews about your shop and ensure long-term success.
Here’s the best negative review response we know to date. Feel free to copy and paste:
(OK, obviously we’re kidding. Talking to customers like this never makes sense unless you are dealing with a customer who loves Mr. T or dry humor, or both. Even then, public-facing reviews shouldn’t be answered like this!)
OK. Moving on to the real, serious information.
Tips To Keep In Mind While Responding To Negative Reviews
- Apologize and thank the reviewer– Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Even if they are unfounded, show sympathy and/or empathy that they had a bad experience. By apologizing and thanking them, you show readers that not only do you care about their experience but also that you value their feedback. For instance: “Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry that we did not meet your expectations.”
- Stay calm– The worst thing you can do is let your emotions get in the way. If the review is specifically about you, consider having someone unassociated with the situation respond. This will prevent you from sounding defensive and make sure the situation isn’t made worse. Helpful tip: Your response should never include any words written in ALL CAPS. WHO LIKES TO BE ADDRESSED IN ALL CAPS? WE SURE DON’T, UNLESS WE’RE HEARING FROM MR. T HIMSELF.(See how it feels like we yelled at you in the last line? We totally weren’t yelling, just trying to make the point. We’re cool, right?)
- Take the conversation offline– In your response, offer to speak to the customer privately. Refer them to a customer service manager, owner, etc. who can help diffuse the situation. It’s easier and more effective to communicate over the phone or via email than going back and forth on a review platform where everyone’s able to catch the action.
Things To Consider When Responding To Negative Reviews
- You’re not replying to just the one reviewer. You’re speaking to everyone who reads the review and your response, including potential future customers.
- Respond ASAP. Half of online users expect companies to ping them back on their reviews within hours, if not a day at most. So schedule time to check your reviews regularly!
- Replying is your opportunity to make things right. If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would try to make it right. The same goes for online reviews—despite the impersonal nature of online reviews, it’s not over just yet. You can turn this situation around!
- Replying shows other readers you are not shady or neglectful to feedback and have taken steps to ensure this problem won’t happen to the next customer.
- Move quickly to resolve a negative review ASAP. Talk to your team about what happened. Get all the details you can know the details and respond accurately.
- Once a customer’s negative situation has been fixed, ask them to consider editing their old review to reflect the mended relationship and/or delete their original review completely. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to do this once their concerns have been met.
On the bright side, a negative review can shed some light on a problem employee or a process that isn’t working as well as you had hoped, and give you the insights you need to correct that issue. It’s important that you not only respond to negative reviews, but also use them to effect positive change in your business.
So, in the spirit of Mr. T: GET OUT THERE AND SHOW US YOUR REVIEW MANAGEMENT SKILLS!
Are you responding to negative reviews and wishing that you had more positive reviews happening every day? We can show you the best ways to generate good reviews and shine online.