Top 10 Reasons Auto Repair Shops Should Respond To Reviews and Comments
Your auto repair shop just received a negative online review. After your initial flood of emotions and shock, you're now faced with what do you do? Should you call the customer? Was it a real review in the first place? Why should you even respond? Shop owners are bombarded by a plethora of questions when something like this happens. In the next few minutes, we're going to unpack the world of online reviews and comments and see if we can help you make sense of it for your auto repair shop.
Online reviews, whether they be on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or some other online community give vehicle owners a way to share their experiences, good or bad, with your business and with other consumers. Vehicle owners rely on these reviews and comments to learn more about your shop, services, products, and team. Therefore it's imperative for you to understand why it's important to respond to these reviews and especially if the review is negative.
Your Customers Are Online
Many auto repair shop owners have the misconception that "their" customers are not online. "We're just a local business and our customers don't go online." Well, I hate to break it to you, but your customers are going online and a lot more than you think. The older you are the less you believe this. The younger you are, you know it's true.
...Of customers will read reviews of local businesses to determine their quality...
According to BrightLocal, 93% of customers will read reviews of local businesses to determine their quality. In fact, 72% of US consumers have written a review for a local business – a big jump from 66% in 2019. Not only, are they going online to read them but they are writing them for local businesses. And, just so we're clear…automotive is one of the top 5 industries in which consumers are most likely to read reviews, including restaurants, hotels, medical and clothing stores.
I'll share an experience I had not too long ago. We recently moved to a new city and state so we've been trying out new restaurants. This particular dining experience was let's say…" less than stellar". So I decided to leave a review of the restaurant on their Facebook page. I also wanted to let the owner know about my experience so they could rectify the situation because I really wanted to dine there again. I didn't write the review in a disrespectful or mean way, but I did critique what the problem was. Now, I was hoping to see a response back from the owner online. Unfortunately, the restaurant never responded to my comment/review. It's now been over 3 months since I left it. By not responding, it sends the message to me, right or wrong, that they don't really care. It not only sends the message to me but to everyone other person reading the comment. There's probably a myriad of ways to interpret the lack of response and none of them are positive for the owner or business.
Word-of-Mouth vs. Online Reviews
Many well-established, high-quality auto repair shops have relied on word-of-mouth for years to grow their business. It's probably safe to say that a lot of business owners still feel that it's more important, "where your dad or neighbor got their car serviced" rather than what online reviews say. Many of these shops believe they get most of their business from referrals. But understand that the way people get recommendations today is vastly different than it was even 10-15 years ago. Granted, while a significant portion of your customers might be telling friends and family about your business, make no mistake, what that potential customer does next has changed.
...The way people get recommendations today is vastly different than it was even 10-15 years ago...
After they hear about how great you are…one of the first things they do is go online and research your business. We aren't just calling our dad and asking where the best repair shop is for our car. Today, those potential customers are going to Facebook or Reddit for example, and seeking recommendations and reading reviews. But if you think they're wandering around your website and reading about your services and how long you've been in business, then you've got a rude awakening.
They are specifically going to look for online reviews and what other people have written about your auto repair shop. Online reviews are one of the most important pieces of information potential customers are looking for when researching your shop. 79% of these potential customers trust the online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. And that negative review you've been ignoring….It can have a rippling effect for your shop far beyond just the person who wrote it.
Why Should You Respond?
Why should you respond to a comment or review? It's not like you have enough to do in your day already. Responding to a comment or review online is a chance for you to build trust with the consumer and bolster your online reputation. As we know in the automotive repair industry, one of the biggest issues consumers have with us is that they don't trust us. Many business owners already understand that you should respond to negative reviews, but it's just as critical to respond to positive comments as well. Let me explain.
...They got more and better reviews when they responded whether or not the response was to a negative or positive review...
In 2018, Harvard Business Review did a study of hotel reviews and responses from TripAdvisor. You can read the details in the article titled, "Study: Replying To Customer Reviews Results In Better Ratings". In the study, they found that about half of hotel management responded to reviews. They also discovered that hotels got more and better reviews when they responded whether or not the response was to a negative or positive review. They concluded that management can help shape their online reputations for the positive by responding to all comments and reviews.
There are actually many reasons why you should respond to both positive and negative reviews. Even if all you do is thank them for taking time to leave a review. Consumers want to feel like someone cares about them. Simply replying to their comment or review helps you do that.
10 Reasons Why You Should Respond To Reviews & Comments
- Demonstrates that you care about customer service.
- Builds trust with your customers and the community.
- Builds trust with online search engines and improves your SEO.
- Demonstrates that you value your customers.
- Helps to solidify your online reputation.
- Allows you to mitigate a potentially damaging situation from a negative review
- Allows you to acknowledge and thank a positive review.
- Helps to build loyalty with your customer base.
- Helps to attract new customers
- Helps you boost customer retention.
In fact, we could probably list a lot more reasons, but you get the picture.
Negative Reviews Happen
Negative reviews happen. It's just part of doing business. Maybe your service manager was having a bad day or your technician got in hurry. It happens. Yes, bad reviews do hurt and sometimes customers can be cruel. One negative review or comment probably won't hurt your shops reputation all that much, but several negative reviews or comments that go unanswered by you will have an impact. You could be risking losing a lot of potential business for your shop and technicians.
"No one cares how much you know, till they know how much you care."by Unknown
How you handle a negative review or comment will say volumes to potential customers about your shop, your brand, and your customer service. On average, 19% of reviews a business receives are negative. But these negative reviews don't have to be something you dread as an owner. Actually, these reviews are an opportunity for you to demonstrate your customer service and build trust with the online community. There's an old saying…"No one cares how much you know, till they know how much you care." Reviews and specifically negative reviews are your opportunity to show how much you care about your customers.
Hopefully, you now understand why responding to reviews and comments matters. Responding is critical to your shop's online reputation and success. Reviews and comments are just one facet of your auto repair shop's online profile.
Learning how to respond professionally and making your customers and potential customers feel like you care is what our article titled, How To Respond To Online Reviews is all about. We encourage you to read it now and download the free templates that are part of the article.
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