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Repair Shop Advice


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nine out of ten people read online reviews, and only a quarter of them would do business with a company rated 1 or 2 stars. Click here for a process to boost the reputation of your auto repair shop with almost no added work on your part.

 


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Repair Shop Websites surveyed nearly 600 U.S. auto repair shop customers to determine what shops could be doing to increase their business and make customers happier. This infographic highlights some of the key findings of this research, which include:

  • Independent repair shop customers are happier
  • Convenience and service quality attract customers
  • Trustworthy technicians and service quality create customer loyalty
  • Customers really hate bad reviews
  • And they don’t mind leaving good ones when asked

Click or tap the image below to see the full infographic!

Auto Repair Shop Customer Survey


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The short answer is yes, but there’s more to it than just posting a quick response. 

We talked about this in some detail during episode five of our Busy Bays Podcast – “What are your Google Reviews doing for you?”.   It’s probably most helpful if we address this question by breaking reviews into three different groups – excellent reviews, bad reviews and false reviews.

The Garage Google review

Responding to excellent reviews

This is the easiest type of review to respond to and by going a step or two beyond just saying thanks, you can help your auto repair shop in a couple of different ways.  A good way to do this is to mention something personal about the customer who left the review and to reference the service that you provided for them. 

First and foremost, you should respond to thank them for taking the time to post a review for your shop.  We all lead busy lives these days, so it’s important to show appreciation to a customer who is willing to take the time to help your auto repair shop. 

Second, by including something personal about the customer, you are showing that you really care about them as a customer.  This helps keep the relationship with the customer strong and also shows potential customers who will be looking at the reviews how much you care about your customers.

Finally, including something about the service you provided will help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  This will help you show up in the Local Pack (the list of 3-4 businesses that shows up just below the map in a results page from Google) when somebody searches for that service in your area and it will also help your website search better as long as it is linked to your Google My Business profile.

Responding to bad reviews

It can be very difficult to hold your tongue when somebody blasts you in a review, especially if you feel strongly that they are wrong.  But the important point to remember is that potential customers who read the review will have no way of knowing who is right and who is wrong.  If you respond in a non-professional way, you are demonstrating to potential customers that you are not professional.  As unfair as that may be, that’s the way it works.

Your best move is to respond very respectfully, with something along the lines of “we are sorry you feel that way about your visit to our shop.”  Mention something about how “we strive to provide the best service in town to all our customers.”  And follow that up with “I’d be happy to talk to you personally about your experience.”

In a case where you know that something went wrong with their service, it’s a good idea to be more apologetic.  Almost all customers are forgiving and know that nobody gets it right 100% of the time.  People reading the review and seeing your response will respect you more and be more likely to choose you if they see that type of response. 

Responding with “our goal is 100% customer satisfaction and unfortunately we missed the mark in this instance.  I’d really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you and discuss how we can make it right,” is a great way to demonstrate your care for your customers in the face of a mistake.

Responding to false reviews

Occasionally, we’ll see a review pop up for one of our customers that is either mistaken or blatantly false.  An example would be if somebody writes that they visited your auto repair shop on a Saturday but you are not open on Saturdays.

In these examples it is totally appropriate to point out that they must be mistaken.  Writing something like “we are sorry you had a bad experience, but you clearly didn’t go to our shop.  We haven’t been open on Saturday in 20 years,” is a good way to address it.  Asking them to remove the review because of the mistake is also totally appropriate.  Feel free to also encourage them to stop by your shop for a much different experience.

Like with almost anything, there are some nuances to how you will want to respond to any review.  But, if you use the recommendations above as a guide, and remember it will not be just the person who wrote the review that reads your response but many potential customers, you can further utilize reviews as a way to help you gain more customers.

You may also want to read: Should I Ask Customers to Post Reviews for My Auto Repair Shop?

If you’d like help getting more reviews and responding to them, please contact us at 866-665-1605 or Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Yes! That may seem like an obvious answer, but many shop owners, shop managers and service advisors are hesitant to ask a customer to post a review.

Some people feel that asking a customer to post a review can come off as pushy or tacky. Others feel that if the customer isn’t going to do it on their own, then they didn’t really earn the review.

All of those feelings are completely understandable. However, here are a couple of important findings that come directly from our recent survey of nearly 600 auto repair shop customers:

  • 18% posted reviews for a shop after not being asked
  • 62% posted reviews for a shop after being asked

62% of auto repair customers posted a review when asked

So, your customers are three times more likely to post a review if you ask them to than if you leave them to do it on their own. This is increasingly more important as your potential customers see reviews as the new social proof. Social proof is the concept that when people are inexperienced in making certain decisions they will seek out conformity and copy the actions of others to avoid making a mistake and not being accepted.

This explains one side of why reviews are an important tool to help you attract new customers from your online presence. Strongly positive reviews help assure potential customers that they will not be making a mistake by taking their vehicle to your repair shop, and the higher number of reviews that you have, the stronger the signals of conformity will be in their brain, even if they don’t realize that is what is driving them to make the decision.

The other side of why reviews are such an important tool in helping you attract new customers from the web is that Google uses reviews as a factor in where your auto repair shop is displayed on the local pack and in organic search results. For the local pack (the listings that are usually right below the map), the number one factor is how close your shop is to where the user is who is searching. But not too far behind that are:

  • #12 – Quantity of Native Google Reviews (with text)
  • #19 – High Numerical Ratings of Business by Google Users (4-5 stars)

Those rankings are out of around 200 factors.

And while you are asking a customer for a review, go ahead and ask them to mention the specific services you provided to them. That’s especially true if it’s a service you’d like to perform more of (maybe because of the high margins or the tech utilization) or that you have particular expertise in. The #14 factor for the Local Pack is “Product/Service Keywords in Reviews.”

If engine replacement is a service you want to provide as many times as you possibly can, then be sure that you ask the customer for a review every time you perform an engine replacement. And specifically ask them to include the words engine replacement in the review.

The same is true if you prefer to service BMWs. Ask your BMW customers to specifically include BMW in their reviews.

To sum it up, yes, ask your happy customers to post reviews for your auto repair shop, especially on Google and Facebook. And don’t stop there, ask them to include specifics about the services that you provided and their experience in working with you.

If you are interested in hearing more about reviews, we encourage you to listen to Episode 5 of our Busy Bays Podcast – What are your Google Reviews doing for you?

And if you’d like help getting more reviews and responding to them, please contact us at 866-665-1605 or Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hiring technicians is the largest challenge many auto repair shops face. For most other shops, it will become their largest problem as soon as they lose an employee.  This is the third post in a three-part series on building a strategy to recruit, retain and elevate your technicians.  The first post, The Technicians You Need: Building Your Team, can be found here.  The second, The Technicians You Need: Keeping Your Team Together, can be found here.

If you’ve got a great team of employees, you’re already ahead of most shops.  There’s no drama between employees. You’re probably not dealing with bad repairs. Your customers aren’t being ignored or disrespected.

Unfortunately, none of this means that you’re necessarily profitable.


Profitability comes from efficiency, and efficiency comes from processes.  Designing, executing and measuring the results of your shop processes will help your employees improve the results of your shop every day they’re in the shop.

There are plenty of resources that detail how to build and measure results of the most common shop processes, including marketing, vehicle workflow and customer interaction.  There are a few processes that aren’t as obvious, but can save you in the long run.  Here are three of them.

Professional Development

It’s rare for most people to provide the same level of value to a shop year after year.  If they’re not growing their skillset, they’re growing less valuable every year.  Their skills are less relevant every time something changes in the world – and the world changes every day.  That’s why professional development shouldn’t be viewed as an event or an option, but a process that every employee engages in.

What is each employee’s role in the shop?  How will that role change in the coming years, and what are they doing to prepare for those changes?  How will things change in your shop, and are they equipped to handle any strategic business changes you’re planning to make?  Your professional development process is what keeps your employees providing more value to your shop each year, rather than less.

Cross-Training

Think about each of your employees (including yourself, if you’re regularly in the shop).  Now ask the question, “If that person were unexpectedly out of the shop for two weeks, what challenges would we encounter?”

If that exercise got your heart racing, it’s time to implement cross-training.  Document all of the processes that have a single point of failure, and ask yourself who would be the best person to perform those tasks if an employee had to step out for an extended period of time.  This will reduce your stress, and make it more likely that your shop will weather an unexpected emergency affecting your key shop employees.

Customer Retention

Retaining a customer is many times cheaper than earning a new one.  Despite this, it’s easy to forget about a customer that isn’t in your shop and isn’t asking for your attention, especially on days when there are plenty of customers that are asking you for help.

Once the repair is complete, the clock starts ticking on how much you can impress that customer.  Did you contact them promptly?  Did you provide a thorough explanation of what you did, and what the charges are for on their receipt?  Did an employee ask if they had any questions, and try to answer them thoroughly? Did you ask unhappy customers what you can do to help make it right, and did you ask happy ones if they would provide an online review?

The process doesn’t end when they leave the shop, either.  Shops that send hand-written or hand-signed letters to new customers or customers who have had major repairs done are more likely to see those customers again.  And because you already have their vehicle information on record, those customers can be handled more efficiently and more profitably than new ones.  For every dollar you spend on implementing a customer retention process, you could save five or more dollars on ads or postcard campaigns designed to attract new customers.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can bring new customers to your shop, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

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A & A Tire and Auto Service

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