Repair Shop Advice

Friday, March 24, 2023

One of the things we are always encouraging our customers to do is to get local links. What are local links and why are they so important? Let’s dive in so you can start boosting your website’s performance through local relationships.

The three core pieces of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are Architecture, Backlinks and Content. The acronym is easy to remember – ABC. Backlinks are links back to your website from other websites. Going forward for this blog I’m just going to refer to them as links.

Anderson Speedway
Anderson Speedway Sponsors

The reason that links are so important is that Google uses them to assess the credibility of a website, as well as the focus of the website. The more inbound links your website gets from other websites that have proven to be credible, the more credible Google believes your website to be. Put another way, Google sees links as endorsements for your website.

The two most important types of links that you can get are quality industry links and local links. Industry links would include links to your website from:

  • a program group you are a part of
  • industry associations of which you are a member
  • industry press like Motor Age, Ratchet & Wrench, AftermarketNews, etc.
  • any other automotive industry entity

Local Links Drive Local Search

Local links are probably even more important than industry links. That’s because local links prove your credibility in your area. If you are doing business in Raleigh, North Carolina you aren’t trying to get consumers in Nevada to find your website. You want consumers in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Knightdale and other neighboring cities to find you.

Here are great sources of local links:

  • Chamber of Commerce in your town or city
  • Local organizations (community or nonprofit)
  • Youth sports teams
  • Community events
  • Local media
  • Other local businesses

Auto Repair Shop links on Chamber of Commerce website

If you partner with another business in town, you should each put a link on your website to the other business’s website. If you sponsor a youth sports team or dance team, ask them to put a link to your website on their website. Most community events automatically include a link to sponsors’ websites on their website.

If you are a member of a church and/or do charity work for a church, ask them to put a link on their website to your website. These types of links won’t help big national businesses. But for an auto repair shop they can be the key to your website being found when local people search for your services. And I’m sure I’ve left several good options for local links off the list – don’t let that limit you from asking.

Even if you are using a provider like Repair Shop Websites to manage and optimize your website, this is one of the action items that you should take to help ensure it searches well. You don’t need a hundred of these. If you can get a dozen, or a couple dozen, it can push you past your competitors.

If you want a website that rises to the top of the organic search results, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

Friday, March 10, 2023

How many consumers read reviews?

Are reviews especially important for the auto repair industry?

What are consumers looking for when reading reviews?

Thankfully BrightLocal recently released their Local Consumer Review Survey 2023 to help us find the answers to these questions and more when it comes to reviews. This thorough, in-depth and well-constructed survey includes viewpoints from 1,117 United States consumers in January 2023.

In the survey, 98% of people said that they read online reviews for local businesses. This was the same number as last year. However, where they look for reviews has changed. A giant 87% said that they look to Google for reviews. That is a jump up from 81% in 2022. Yelp was noted by 48% and Facebook was mentioned by 46%. One clear message here – reviews are really important and the vast majority of consumers look to Google for reviews.

Now let’s take a look at some of the other really interesting findings from the survey.

How important a part do online reviews play in your auto repair decisions?

How important a part do online reviews play in your auto repair decisions?

“Automotive Services” tied with “Service businesses and tradespersons” and “Healthcare” at the top of the chart with 84% of survey respondents saying reviews were important or very important. The other two got a slight advantage in the tie breaker because they had a higher percentage that chose very important.

We’ve seen plenty of data about consumers saying reviews are important, but to see that 84% of these survey respondents specifically said automotive service reviews were important or very important takes it to a whole new level for auto repair shop owners. We’ve been beating the drum for reviews for many years now but if you had any piece of doubt on their importance to auto repair shops that stat should eliminate it.

How much do consumers trust reviews?

How much do consumers trust reviews?

Considering that many shops say that they get most of their business from word of mouth, they might be shocked to see that 46% of consumers said they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.

To drive the point home further, 35% of consumers say they trust reviews as much as recommendations from social media personalities they follow. Comparing those two numbers tells you that consumers trust recommendations from social media personalities more than the recommendations they get from friends and family. Wow – what a world we live in.

What review factors make consumers feel positive about using a business?

What review factors make consumers feel positive about using a business?

We’ve seen this question asked in similar surveys and this is a good data point for determining what consumers specifically like to see in reviews. Breaking down the top four most important factors in order:
• 69% said the review describes a positive experience
• 58% said the review has a high star rating
• 54% said the business owner has responded to the review
• 46% said the review has been posted within the past month

The takeaways here for auto repair shops:
• Encourage your customers to describe their experience in their reviews
Respond to reviews, both good and bad, professionally of course
• Ask for reviews frequently and consistently because nearly half of consumers want to see recent reviews

Is it important to respond to reviews?

Is it important to respond to reviews?

Yes – 88% of consumers said they would be likely to use a business that responds to all reviews. Interestingly, 60% said they would be likely to use a business that responds only to negative reviews versus 55% of people saying they would be likely to use a business that responds only to positive reviews. On the other side of it, 59% said they would not likely use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews.

Another key point here – consider your response to a negative review as your opportunity to win future customers. Potential customers are watching to see how you respond to that negative review and an unprofessional response can significantly hurt your business.

Which other platforms do consumers use when deciding whether to use a local business?

Which other platforms do consumers use when deciding whether to use a local business?

The three big ones here are YouTube, Local News and Instagram. It is important to note that Yelp and Facebook were included in the review platforms question so they would not be included here.

If you can do it, building a presence on YouTube and/or Instagram can be very beneficial for your business especially if your audience includes younger adults. And, getting featured on the local news doesn’t hurt either (especially if your audience is older)!

Reviews continue to be a critical part of an auto repair shop’s web presence. This survey further drives home the point that consumers absolutely do use reviews to help them make decisions on what auto repair shops to call. The best time to start asking for reviews was 10 years ago, but if you haven’t started, the second best time is today!

Our Integrated Reviews platform helps our customers get more online reviews. To learn how we can help do that for your auto repair shop, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

A big thank you goes out to BrightLocal for conducting this survey and creating such great visuals for it. The charts above are attributed to them. If you’d like to see the whole survey, go to

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

If your auto repair shop is not on Instagram yet, now is the time. Instagram is making it easier for its users to find local businesses. In addition, a Google exec was recently quoted about how often young people use Instagram to find local businesses.

Last year Instagram updated their map functionality so that local businesses could be discovered. Before that only posts that were tagged with a nearby location could be found. Now, your official Instagram account can be found on the map. That is of course, if you have an Instagram account.

example of Instagram map

Do Auto Repair Shops Need to Be on Instagram?

I know what you might be thinking – “I don’t need one more online account to have to manage!” Yes, you’ve got your Google Business Profile, Facebook, maybe Yelp and maybe others. But here’s one reason why Instagram is important – a Google executive last year said “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

I realize that auto repair shops are not the same as restaurants. But if “young people” are using Instagram to find restaurants they’ll be using it to find auto repair shops soon enough if they aren’t already.

Also – if “young people” are using Instagram in this way, not-so-young people will probably be doing so soon. And, if this age group just starts getting used to searching for local businesses using Instagram they will likely continue to do so as they age.

AnA Tire & Automotive on Instagram

Instagram User Statistics

You can find all sorts of statistics about who uses Instagram and how often, but I will rely on the Pew Research Center because I know they are as trustworthy as they come. Their most recent United States social media survey is a little dated being two years old ( but here’s some data from that survey:

• 40% of Americans say the use Instagram
• 71% of those ages 18-29 use Instagram
• 48% of those ages 30-49 use Instagram
• 47% of those with incomes of $75k+ use Instagram
• Of those who use Instagram, 59% use it at least once a day with 38% saying they use it several times a day

If your target audience is included in the user statistics above, the case for utilizing Instagram is even more clear. If you are in a college town then this is impacting you now. If you are in any other market where your customer base includes 18-29 year olds this is impacting you now.

How Do I Capture Instagram Users Searching for Auto Repair?

Instagram Business Account instructions

If you are already using Instagram

Switch to a professional account if you haven’t already. Make sure to fully complete your profile.

If you do not have an Instagram account

You can go to this web page – – and create a business account. About halfway down the page you’ll see the text from the image above. Just to the right of that text is a walkthrough video that takes you through the steps. Complete your profile and post some of your best photos, if you have some to post.

The good news is that setting up an Instagram business account just takes a little bit of time and is free. Plus you’ll be giving yourself an opportunity to bring in more customers. You have nothing to lose.

If you really want to leverage Instagram to engage your potential customer base, you can start posting. But if you don’t, at least you’ve done the minimum to make sure you are findable for those who use Instagram to search for auto repair services in your area.

Would you like help building out your Instagram profile and engaging your audience on Instagram? We can help you with our Social + package. Give us a call today at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

If you have recently had a tech or two leave your shop what reason did they give you? Was it pay? Even if the pay was a nice bump over what you were paying them, do you think that is the real reason they left?

As you’ve probably observed many times, when humans make a big decision there are often two stories – the truth, and then the story they tell you to make you feel better about it or to avoid a discussion about the truth. And most often, we are willing to believe the story because it makes us feel better and helps us avoid having to make hard changes.

In this case, if we believe the tech left because of the 20% pay increase it helps us avoid having to deal with the work environment or cultural issues we don’t want to face. We don’t have to address the sniping amongst employees or the way we don’t thank them for their work or that we don’t try to connect with them as a human or offer any flexibility in their work schedule.

We couldn’t pay them 20% more so they left. They just wanted more money. Right? Or is that the story we are telling ourselves to avoid having to face the truth?

bag full of money

Was It Really the Money?

The highly respected workplace research firm Gallup recently conducted an analysis that found that engaged employees need a 31% pay increase to even consider taking a job somewhere else. 31%!

The same analysis showed that employees who are not engaged, and even actively disengaged, want a 22% pay increase to change jobs.

Now the story is starting to become clearer. Our tech left for 20% more and if you compare that to the Gallup research that says actively disengaged employees want 22% more, it’s time to take a hard look at what life at the shop looks like and feels like for our employees.

Auto Repair Technicians Want the Same Things as All Employees

Sure, if you ask anybody if they’d like more money, nearly 100% of people will say yes. But in most cases if an employee is directly asking you for more money it’s to compensate for “poor management and a poor employee experience” as it says in the Gallup article.

What they are really saying is that you are going to have to pay them more money if you expect them to work long hours or put up with the people they work with or put up with the conditions of the shop. Or put in a not so gentle way, “these things suck about working here, if you want me to stay you are going to have to pay me more to put up with them.”

Unfortunately, once somebody has gotten to that point it’s a no-win situation. The exception is if you can find a way to fix the real problem. Gallup says the best predictors of employee retention are:

  • Overall job satisfaction
  • Organizational commitment
  • Work environment
  • Level of stress
  • Workgroup cohesion

If you don’t fix those things, your employee is likely to keep asking for more money until they realize that it doesn’t truly compensate for the stress and damage the job causes and then they will leave.

It’s also important to know that increasing base pay for an employee has been shown to have an insignificant effect on performance. If you want to increase performance focus on fixing the five elements in the list above.

Now Is a Good Time to Change

The end of the year is a time for many people to look back and then look forward. If your look back includes the loss of a number of good employees I encourage you to take a hard look at the work environment and culture of your shop.

  • Do you show employees your appreciation in small and big ways?
  • Do they know the shop is committed to their wellbeing and that you care about them and their families?
  • Do you or does their manager work to personally connect with each employee?
  • Does everybody treat each other well in the shop?
  • Is there a team atmosphere that helps lift somebody up when they need it?

Those are just some of the things that you should be considering. For more information check out:

Webinar – Recruiting and Keeping Talented Technicians (This is a recording of a live webinar from four years ago but it’s still just as relevant today)

Podcast – What Do Technicians Think Is The Most Important Aspect Of A Job With Jay Goninen from WrenchWay

Blog – Technicians Answer: What’s the Most Important Aspect of a Job?

Blog – Setting New Employees Up for Success

Change is never easy. But it’s only going to get harder to recruit technicians. Gain an advantage by making sure you’ve got a work environment and culture that helps you keep the good people you have. They can often be your best source for new employees.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

We have spoken to a lot of auto repair shop owners and managers who have told us that they don’t like to bother their customers by asking for reviews. Is that feeling justified? Do consumers really dislike being asked for reviews?

The great news is that the fine folks at Moz have helped us get a lot more insight into what consumers think about being asked for reviews as part of their Impact of Local Business Reviews on Consumer Behavior Report. We covered in detail their findings about how consumers evaluate reviews and particularly how that affects repair shop owners in the blog last month.

This month we are going to highlight the results of some of the questions they asked 1,300 consumers in September about being asked to leave reviews.

Before we look at some of those questions, here’s an important word of warning. You should not be rewarding people for giving you reviews. This is unethical at best and could qualify as illegal.

They did ask the question in the survey and 40% of the consumers said they had businesses offer money, discounts, or gifts in exchange for writing a review. Please don’t do this or try to manipulate your reviews in any way. If consumers find out that you have even one “fake” review it will completely destroy your credibility.

Now, onto the questions…

Has a local business asked you directly for a review in the past 5 years?

61% of the consumers said that they had received at least one direct request for a review during the past five years. That means that 39% of consumers were not asked one single time by a local business for a review over the previous five years. That all adds up to a lot of missed opportunities.

If you have been asking your customers consistently for reviews than you likely have a leg up on your competitors. If you haven’t been asking for reviews you can start today and still likely be ahead of most of your competitors.

When asked by a business to leave a review, how often do you do so?

When asked by a business to leave a review how often to you do so?

This chart shows why it’s worth your time and effort to ask for reviews. More than 50% of consumers will always or usually leave a review when asked to do so. An additional 34% will sometimes leave a review when asked to do so. The quick summary – when you ask your customers for a review, most of them will leave one for your shop.

How do you prefer to be asked for local business reviews?

How do you prefer to be asked for local business reviews?

Notably, this is a select all that apply. As you can see email is the preferred way, with in-person right behind it. Text comes in third at 29%.

This is one of those things where the better you know your customer, the better you can modify your approach to fit their preference. If you’ve been communicating with a customer the whole time via text then there is a high likelihood that they are going to be good with a text request for a review. The good news is that our Integrated Reviews portal allows you to request a review via email and/or text.

Why do you write local business reviews?

Why do consumers write local business reviews?

This is a really important question to highlight. As mentioned in the intro paragraph of this blog, many repair shop owners tell us they don’t like to ask for reviews because they don’t like to bother customers. However, as seen in the answer to this question, 73% of consumers said they write local business reviews “To let others know my experience.” It is important to them to guide others to good businesses and away from bad businesses.

If you have delivered great service to a customer and you ask them for a review, you are helping them fulfill their mission to let others know of a good quality business that they can trust. Consumers are not just writing a good review for you, they are writing a good review to help all the other vehicle owners in their community identify a great shop to take their vehicle to.

So if you’ve hesitated in the past or been resistant to ask your happy customers for reviews, I hope that seeing the results of that survey question will encourage you to start asking more consistently.

Our Integrated Reviews platform helps our customers get more online reviews. To learn how we can help do that for your auto repair shop, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

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