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Repair Shop Advice

The Importance of Responding to Negative Online Reviews

February 19, 2018

Online reviews are one of the most important factors in the success of a small business today.  Auto repair shops with dozens of mostly positive reviews land better placement in local search rankings and a higher likelihood that a customer will contact them directly when they see the shop listed in search results or the Google My Business page.  That’s why it’s so important to solicit reviews from customers who are happy with the auto repair or maintenance services you’ve provided to them.

However, many people searching for reviews online now know that the star ranking alone doesn’t say much about a business.  In the shady world of online reviews, it’s easy to manipulate them if you put in enough effort.  Many businesses will pay for positive reviews, either by hiring a company to make them “magically appear” or by offering customers discounts in exchange for great reviews.  Both of these tactics are forbidden by most review sites, but unethical businesses do it anyway.

This has caused many people looking for services online to read the reviews more carefully to see if they’re legitimate. It’s generally pretty easy to tell if reviews were purchased – the text in the reviews is very generic, makes no sense, or is so positive it’s not believable.  Often, a business who received a slow drip of negative reviews over several years will suddenly receive dozens of similar positive reviews in just a couple of weeks’ time.  Those are fake reviews!

Customers who do read reviews instead of just looking at star ratings will learn about your auto repair shop from both satisfied and dissatisfied customers.  And if your shop responds to reviews, as many platforms allow businesses to do, your reviews will also let customers know how you treat your customers.  Do you take their feedback into account, both positive and negative?  Do you go out of your way to thank them for their business?  Do you try to make things right if a customer is dissatisfied?

Harvard Business Review recently did a study on Hotels on TripAdvisor to explore the question of whether it was worthwhile to respond to online reviews.  They learned that companies who responded to reviews received 12% more reviews on average.  Based on the statistics the study uncovered, one in three businesses who responded to reviews received a rating of at least ½ star higher than they would have if they didn’t respond to reviews.  What’s the difference between a 3.5 star company and a 4 star company?  A lot of phone calls.

While hotels are hardly the same as automotive repair shops, the study findings likely carry over to your business. That’s because you serve the same audience – everyone. Most people will need both hotels and auto repair at one point or another in their lives.

While the most important factor in online reviews is to have consistently appearing, well-written reviews from satisfied customers, responding to customer reviews can help your shop earn even more customers through its online presence.  Take a few minutes to look through your online reviews, especially your negative ones, and use them as an opportunity to show the rest of the world how you treat your customers.

To learn more about how Repair Shop Websites can help your shop gain more business and reviews, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at