The Art of Responding to Consumer Reviews
Online consumer reviews have become an invaluable part of marketing your auto repair shop. The SocialCRM service provides shops with verified reviews powered by SureCritic, a leading provider of online consumer reviews, with special emphasis on the automotive aftermarket.
The process begins when a consumer leaves the shop after having their vehicle serviced or repaired. SocialCRM sends a SureCritic survey to the consumer after their repair order is closed, asking them to rate their experience at the shop. As a support agent on the SocialCRM team, I not only support and train shop employees on the SureCritic program, but I also get to read a lot of their customer reviews, along with the shop’s responses to their customers.
First here’s a little background on how the SureCritic reviews work. Participating repair facilities have an online review page where these consumer reviews are posted for public viewing. For example, check out the page for B & C Auto Repair in Vista CA. These reviews are from actual customers, verified by the fact they are based on a closed repair order.
The SureCritic review page is basically a marketing tool for the shop. Most of the people who are going to the page are likely potential customers who have never been to the business and are deciding where to bring their vehicle for repairs. What they see on the page forms their perception of the shop.
You might think that low-score reviews would drive away any potential customers; and in certain instances, that may be the case. But consumers understand that no business is perfect and are interested to see how the shop responds to and handles customer issues. I know for myself, when I see only positive reviews with no low scores, it makes me wonder about a business.
Don’t Ignore Your Positive Reviews
What employees at the auto repair shops who respond to their customers’ reviews often don’t realize is how important their responses are to the business. In fact, their responses can have a huge influence on not only maintaining current revenue but also generating new business. This is not only true when responding to poor reviews, but also to high score reviews. And this is what I really want to share: how to respond to your high score reviews and use those responses not only to keep your current customers but also to attract potential customers to come to your facility and generate more revenue for you.
It’s really very simple. Potential customers want to see that you have a relationship with each of your customers. When I am reading the SureCritic reviews in my job, I am truly amazed at how many “cut and pasters” are out there. These are folks who respond to customers’ reviews by cutting and pasting the same response to every review —over and over. When your potential customers see this, their perception is that you are not reading the reviews and have little to no interest in what your customers are saying. This is definitely not the first impression you want to make.
What to Say
You can actually say many of the same things in your responses if you just use different words and phrases. Here are a few examples: “Thank you for the great review,” “Thank you so much for the 5 stars,” “We always appreciate positive feedback,” and “When our customers leave here happy, we are happy.”
When responding to your online reviews, try your best to respond individually with different words or phrases, truly speak from the heart and show your current customers that they are appreciated. Potential customers reading your responses will see that you care.
Remember, the customers who are leaving positive reviews are your regular, loyal customers —or they may be new customers that you would like to become loyal customers. Either way, take into consideration that they took time out of their busy lives to sit behind a computer and say something positive about you and your business.
Why wouldn’t you take a few moments to respond and let them know that you truly appreciate them? That is an important step in assuring they will continue to be loyal and maybe even pass their positive experiences on to their friends and acquaintances. That word of mouth marketing is one of the most powerful ways to build your business.
The bottom line is the importance of making sure all your customers feel as though they are valued. Remember, if you don’t make your customers feel appreciated and valued, they will find someone at another business who will.