In my last article, I discussed the real power of some very simple words—the words that people use to review your repair shop.
As I mentioned, customer reviews can have a great effect on your shop. They can actually be way more powerful (and persuasive) than anything you could ever say.
So with the popularity of online review websites like Angie's List, Yelp and others, it's bound to happen that repair shops are going to have that disgruntled customer that posts a bad review.
What should you do (or not do) when you find a bad review? Here's a few good tips to help you deal with them.
DO NOT ignore bad reviews. Respond to the writer directly to show that you are committed to customer satisfaction. Remember that even a poor response is better than no response at all.
When creating your response, it often helps to create a point form or numbered list to detail the facts—and just the facts. In other words, recreate the series of events as best you can recall them and keep each to the point.
As an example, (1) The original customer complaint was…., (2) Following specified standards, the complaint was diagnosed as…., and (3) We quoted on “specific job.” Using bullets or numbered points helps keep your response to the point.
DO ignore reviews with inappropriate language. Don't stoop to that level.
DO offer customers a direct and to-the-point apology plus a small incentive to give you a second chance.
The best incentives are going to be things outside of your business. As an example, a bigger discount or future deal on your services will not win you many points. However, a coffee card, gas card, coupon for a pizza or movie tickets will go over much better.
DO NOT give too much away. You don't want to set yourself up to be taken advantage of. In other words, write a bad review, get a free pizza.
DO NOT use your reply to start an argument or escalate the issue. If you're responding to an online complaint, remember that you're speaking to one person—but everyone is listening. You really want to take every effort to stay cool and be diplomatic.
DO follow all the rules and guidelines of the website that you're responding on. Remember, you're not looking to start another disagreement, right?
DO monitor for bad reviews regularly. Doing that may help you utilize legitimate criticism to improve your customer experience.
As an example, if there are constant complaints about repairs not being finished on time or when promised, address the problem and use that improvement in your marketing.
DO use third party endorsements from recognized agencies such as Better Business Bureau in all of your marketing to reinforce your commitment to good service.
DO promote your association memberships to prove that your shop maintains the industry standards and procedures. It also helps demonstrate that you are committed to maintaining current and up-to-date education and training.
When it comes to positive reviews and good customer testimonials, always be sure to include some of them in every piece of marketing you do. Although the saying may be a little old and worn, it's the absolute true: Facts tell—testimonials sell!
Matthew Lee, is an automotive service marketing specialist and author of the book, "The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing," which offers "no-cost" and "low-cost" marketing strategies for auto service businesses. For a free copy of the book, visit www.JustTheBestMarketing.com.