One of the key success factors for a repair shop’s online reputation is customer satisfaction.
How many times have you visited a store, restaurant, maybe even a car dealership, based off a friend’s personal recommendation? A reliable suggestion or warning will weigh heavily on your decision when making a purchase. Satisfied customers are key to the success of any business, but an unsatisfied customer could single-handedly break it.
Online reviews work in a similar way. According to Bright Local, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. What your customers are saying about your repair shop could certainly make or break you. The difference between making a sale or losing out to the competition could depend on how you manage your online reputation and you may not even realize it is happening.
Give Your shop an Online Presence
There are hundreds of sites that offer to host online reviews, but which ones should your shop be targeting? At the very least, you need to focus on the big three: Yelp, Facebook and Google.
To successfully manage your repair shop’s online reputation, you need to keep a watchful eye on each of these review sites. Be sure that you are actively monitoring your accounts and that you are responding to reviews appropriately.
Be Transparent in Communication and Respond to Negative Reviews Professionally
What does “transparency” mean? It is simply defined as being authentic and honest. Transparency shows your customers that you’re brave enough to welcome criticism and willing to reply and treat comments with polite professionalism.
With the exception of a complete absence of reviews, there is nothing worse for your repair shop than negative reviews left without a response. Not only does this leave the audience without your perspective on the issue, but it can also come off as a lack of caring about what your customers think about your product or service.
Unless you are the world’s most perfect repair shop, you are likely going to get a poor review or two. If you manage your reviews, you will be aware of these reviews and it is important that you respond to them.
As a general rule of thumb, you should follow these four steps when responding to a negative review:
- Remain calm and collected; don’t let the emotions get the best of you.
- Apologize (“We’re sorry for your experience…”).
- Offer a solution to their problem (“We would like to do all we can to fix/change that…”).
- Ask to have a conversation privately (“Please contact our Repair Shop Manager at this number…”).
Leaving polite and helpful responses to negative reviews can ensure a positive online reputation for those who are looking at your profile. Also, always remember to offer a clear path to resolution.
Requesting Reviews from Customers
Let’s get this out of the way right now: you don’t want to bribe your customers into leaving positive reviews for your repair shop. Not only is this unethical, but it can backfire on you as far as your online reputation goes with others. The bottom line is that positive reviews should only come naturally from the excellent repair experience you provide to customers.
So how can you generate positive reviews without manipulating the system? Well, you don’t have to leave everything to chance. An online reputation management process allows you to automatically request each of your customers to leave reviews. You can send them directly to a review site right after they’ve completed their repair and while the experience is fresh in their mind.
The fact is, there could be a lot of customers who’ve had wonderful experiences having service at your shop, and if they’d only been nudged toward a review site, they might have left a glowing review. There will be people who leave negative reviews, but as long as you have a proactive system in place to monitor and respond to all negative reviews (as we discussed earlier in this article), you’ll still be able to nurture a strong online reputation.
Gather More Reviews
Now that we’ve discussed the kind of presence you should have online, it is important to know why you should strive to obtain online reviews on an ongoing basis. The number of reviews plays a very important role in your customer’s decision-making process. In fact, it is second only to the overall star rating. In addition, the recency of your reviews plays an important factor in how often and where your business’s reviews may be seen in search engines.
Getting online reviews for your business is easier than you think, but you probably won’t get them if you aren’t building “the ask” into the sales process. There are a number of different methods for asking for a review – in person, email and text message.
You should also make sure you build “the ask” into the right time of your customers’ visit. You should aim to send invites at the most convenient time for the customer while they are still in your repair shop. If they have some downtime waiting on paperwork, they are more likely to leave you a review because you are top-of-mind.