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Repair Shop Advice

How Important Are Online Reviews for Auto Repair Shops in 2021?


February 26, 2021

A recent study of consumer perception of online reviews shows that reviews continue to grow in importance when it comes to how consumers make decisions. Consider these key points from the survey of more than 1,000 people:

  • 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
  • Automotive was the #4 industry for which consumers are most likely to read reviews
  • Star rating was the #1 most important review factor
  • Only 48% of consumers would consider using a business with fewer than 4 stars
  • 73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month

Those numbers reinforce the importance of review quality, frequency and recency. If you want to bring more business to your shop, here are three things you can do to keep your online reviews working for you in 2021.

Ask for Reviews

This may seem obvious but we still hear from many shop owners who are hesitant to ask their customers for reviews. Asking customers for reviews is the single most important thing you can do if you want to improve your online ratings. Years ago, customers may have viewed this as an unusual or awkward request, but it’s much more common now.  Most consumers have been asked to leave an online review for a product or service by at least one business and probably many more than that at this point.

Happy customers are also far more likely to leave an online review if they’re asked to do it. Asking for reviews from customers who you believe are happy with your service is one big way to have some influence on who leaves online reviews for your shop.

Otherwise, people are more likely to leave a review when their experience is terrible than they are to leave a review when their experience is great. That’s how a good shop gets a bad reputation.

Ask for Details

A key point to consider is that when potential customers look at reviews they like to see themselves in the review. That means they like to see reviews for the service they need and for the experience they expect to have. 

When you ask customers for a review, encourage them to include specific details in the review.  Who did they work with?  What did they have done to their vehicle?  They don’t need to write a book, but people like to see enough details in a review to imagine that they will have the same experience as that person who left the great review. This is a significant factor in leveraging your reviews to get more business.

There’s another benefit to this: Google likes details too, and if customers mention locations or services in their reviews, your business is more likely to show up when people search for those terms.

Respond Well to Criticism

A study from four years ago showed that people believed five stars was too good to be true. Customers were more likely to buy a product or service with 4.7 stars than with 5 stars.

So don’t panic about a four-star review – or even a one-star review. In addition to making your reviews look more realistic, it’s also an opportunity to respond – and show potential customers how you treat unhappy customers.  For some customers, the way that you respond to an unhappy customer is more important than how many happy customers you have. No matter how frustrated you may be with a bad review, respond in a very professional matter. Remember, from a distance people can’t tell who is right and who is wrong so getting into a war of words in a review leaves you with very little to gain and a lot to lose.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your auto repair shop get more reviews, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.