By: Stan Creech, IGO President
What does your online reputation look like? Is it important? Do you respond to reviews your customers leave you? What’s the best way to respond to negative reviews? Is it ok to ask a customer to leave you a review? How can I get more google reviews? Well hang on to your hat because we’ve got those answers and more!
First so we’re all on the same page, the definition of a company’s online reputation is how someone would judge your business by looking online at not just the quantity and quality of google, facebook and Yelp reviews, but how well you are represented with things like the quality of your website, how complete your google business page is presented, and how active you are on social media etc. Basically anything that appears online that represents your business affects your online reputation and a potential customers perception of your shop.
So question #1: Is my online reputation important? Of course YES, it’s never been more important than it is right now. Potential customers are searching online for businesses to spend money with, and they are going straight to reviews to determine who they will choose. When searching for a product on Amazon, you can best believe the reviews are a big factor on how many items a company will sell. It’s no different with auto repair shops.
Question #2: Do you respond to your reviews? If you’re not, you are missing the boat here. By responding to both good and bad ones, you’re showing that you see the value which will make someone more willing to leave you a review in the future. Also when you respond to a google review, that customer is notified from google that you commented, so don’t think your customers don’t realize you’ve responded because they do thanks to Google!
Question #3: How to respond to a negative review. Sooner or later we all have or will get one, it’s inevitable. And when we first read it, it can be upsetting. Never respond quickly from emotion. First analyze the situation to figure out what went wrong. Once you’ve calmed down, and only then, use the negative review as an opportunity to show the next 10,000 people that will read the review, how professional you are toward your customers, and how concerned you are for total satisfaction. Quick story: We recently had a bad review from someone who had never set foot in our shop. They didn’t like a price we gave them over the phone for a pre-purchase inspection for a vehicle they were considering purchasing. They said we were more expensive than the “Stealerships”. Needless to say I was livid! But a level head prevailed, and I used the review as an opportunity to list out all the things we include in a pre-purchase inspection. The last line in my response was “We are a family owned business and value our online reputation”. Guess what, that person deleted his review. Guess I put him on a guilt trip or something!
Number #4: Is it ok to ask a customer to leave you a review? ABSOLUTELY yes! You have lots of customers that would love to leave your shop a glowing review, but they may not know how or where best to leave one. You can but don’t have to verbally ask every customer to leave you a review. Actually that’s not the best way to do it anyway. It needs to be automated to be successful. This is where you can use companies like Broadly. The IGO is affiliated with several companies that provide review management like Swell, Myshopmanager and Broadly. I’m showing my poker hand here, but I personally use Broadly and have had tremendous success with review acquisition. Added bonus, they can provide analytics related to your campaign: things like review count over a given period of time, outreach response rate, lead sources, and most importantly your overall satisfaction rate in %. Broadly knows how best to ask for reviews, and it needs to be as easy as humanly possible for the customer. Have you ever heard the term “friction” from your website builder when talking about doing something online like filling out a form, or leaving a review? You need near zero friction to be successful. We have to make it as easy as possibly for a customer or they won’t do it. Don’t wait for your customers to willingly and on their own, leave your company a review. Hire a third party like Broadly or one of the IGO’s associate members to handle this for you. Put it on cruise control but don’t forget to respond to your reviews!