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Friday, March 16, 2018
Did you know that a modern website design affects how you rank on Google? It does! That’s why it’s important to ensure that your site is kept up to date with a modern design.
It seems odd that your site design affects how it searches – after all, Google’s crawler doesn’t stop to look at a website and decide how visually pleasing it is, does it? In reality, design does affect your auto repair search results directly, but there are multiple ways that an old design will leave you buried on page 7. Here are three of them.
High Bounce Rate
Have you ever parked at a restaurant, taken a look inside – and then got back in your car? If it doesn’t look clean, or the place is falling apart inside, you might decide you’ll do better elsewhere. Websites are no different – if people land on a website and it looks very old, they don’t trust the information on it because it might be out of date. So, they leave immediately.
This is called bouncing from a website, and Google penalizes sites with a high bounce rate. That’s because Google’s job is to “suggest” sites to searchers by ranking them highly, and they don’t want to suggest a site that everybody runs away from as soon as they see it.
Most searches in 2018 are conducted on phones, so if you don’t have a responsive or mobile-friendly site, Google penalizes your search ranking. And because mobile-friendly designs weren’t around before mobile phones were so common, an old site isn’t going to be mobile friendly.
A site that isn’t mobile-friendly is a double whammy, because they are also nearly impossible to read on a small phone screen. This causes everyone to leave quickly, leading to a high bounce rate – and another penalty from Google.
Changes in Ranking Strategy
People have been trying to “game” Google’s ranking engine since it was first designed.
At first, search engines like Google rewarded sites that mentioned a search term the most – so people built sites that used the phrase over and over again, but offered little value.
Then Google rewarded sites that had the most incoming links. This worked well at first, but then people started buying links, paying a middleman so links to their site would be added to thousands of places online.
Every time someone finds a way for a low-quality site to search well, Google changes the way it ranks sites to prevent it. This cat-and-mouse game means that sites which were designed to search very well years ago won’t do well in today’s market. A modern website is designed to meet the most recent criteria Google uses to determine which sites should rank well, and which ones should rank poorly.
To learn about how Repair Shop Websites keeps customers’ sites up-to-date at no added cost, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Your phone presence is critical to closing sales. People make assumptions about your professionalism, customer focus and attention to detail within seconds of hearing your voice.
Click here for five things you’ll want to do when you answer a potential customer’s call if you want to earn their business.
Friday, March 2, 2018
One way your repair shop can improve both customer satisfaction and technician productivity is by communicating with your customers via text. It’s surprising just how much people prefer texts to phone calls. According to Forbes magazine, every demographic now spends five times longer texting than they do on voice calls. That includes both millennials and older customers.
Texting has become popular for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that returning a text interrupts tasks for seconds instead of minutes. A text can also be returned discreetly – many of your customers aren’t able to interrupt a meeting to answer your phone call, but they can easily review a text from your shop and respond while the meeting is ongoing. Customers can also respond in noisy environments, when answering the phone would be impossible.
Because customers are able to answer more quickly, your shop will become more productive when it uses texting for customer approvals and other service-related communication. Vehicles will stay on lifts for less time. Parts will be ordered earlier in the day, potentially turning a ‘tomorrow’ repair into a ‘today’ repair. Not only will this allow you to handle more cars per day, it will also allow customers to get their vehicles back more quickly, increasing their satisfaction with your speed of service.
Texts are more efficient than phone calls for shop employees, too. Service writers and technicians can send texts quickly, without having to wait to leave voicemails. And when customers do respond to texts, they won’t reach a busy signal or be asked to hold while the shop employee finishes a conversation with another employee.
Give texting a try, and see how it benefits your shop! Your customers will be glad you did. If you’d prefer to communicate via a business-owned device rather than employee cell phones (and there are many reasons for doing so) give us a call and ask about how our Service Texter application can make texting communication with customers both easier and more efficient.
Give us a call at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com to learn more about our Service Texter application!
Monday, February 26, 2018
There’s nobody out there who understands exactly how hard it can be to find great technicians – except other shop owners. The standard hiring recommendations – test their competence, make sure there’s a cultural fit, check references – just don’t cut it in this competitive environment. That being said, you can learn from shop owners who have gone through the tough process themselves and come out with some great employees. Here are three tips from shop owners that will help you ensure that you’ll get some applications in the door, and that your hiring process will yield great producers for your shop.
Let the candidate decide they’re finished talking
Shop owner Brian Sump points out that everyone has canned responses to the most common interview questions – and that you’re probably using plenty of those questions, too. The best way to get past those canned responses and into a conversation that will reveal their real competence and cultural fit is to let them keep talking after their canned response. It may lead to a few seconds of awkwardness, but those few seconds will be well worth what is revealed. When it’s clear they feel like they’ve provided their complete answer, then move on to the next question.
Build a solid reputation
Warren Buffet said that it takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. With the advent of online reviews, it’s probably gone from five minutes to five seconds. Unfortunately, that’s not true only for your reputation among customers – it’s true for your reputation among technicians as well. Auto Profit Masters owner (and shop owner) David Rogers points out that you’re going to get more interest if the perspective among local technicians is “Good luck getting into that shop – that’s a tough catch, and they’ve got zero turnover.” That’s a hard-earned reputation, of course, that requires some serious work on shop culture.
Prepare to be interviewed
If your goal is to find a great technician – a valuable commodity in high demand – know that you’re being interviewed too. Bob Cooper, President of shop coaching company Elite (and a former shop owner himself) points out that these technicians have plenty of options and they know it. If you haven’t respected their time by preparing for the interview, that’s not a good sign of how much you’ll respect them as an employee. These technicians will want to see an interview process that indicates you don’t take just anyone, and that when you do hire someone, you treat them well.
To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your company hire great technicians and earn more business, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.
Monday, 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 Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.