Auto Repair Shop Guide to Getting Online Reviews
Normally, I’d start this article off by explaining how important online reviews are. However, you wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t already know how important they are! You want to dominate your competitors. You want to rank higher in local search results and on Google maps. So you know that you need more online reviews in order to make that happen.
Lets talk about how to get more of these! Drum roll… drum roll… The #1 way to get more online reviews is to ask for them. If you do not ask then you’ll get 99% fewer online reviews. I just made that statistic up but you get the idea.
It is common for a clerk or a small business owner to feel embarrassed when asking for a review. If you feel this way. You need to get over it. This is your pathway to success. If you’ve invested years of your life and your life savings into growing this business then you need to be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. Asking for a review will be the easiest thing you’ve done thus far to start or run your business and will take you a long ways to helping you achieve long term success.
- Ask the customer “in person”. The clients that I work with that take the following approach have the greatest success in growing their online review count. After the services are completed and during the checkout process, the clerk asks the customer if they would be willing to provide a short review of their experience. The clerk, in a non-obligatory manor informs the customer that their review helps their company tremendously. If the customer agrees (and they usually will) to provide a review the clerk presents the customer with a tablet or a laptop which has a review form loaded and ready for the customer to fill out. If the clerk does not ask for an online review and does not provide an immediate avenue to provide this review then the chances of getting one from this customer are greatly reduced. Unless the customer had an amazing experience they will simply “never get around to it” if they have the option to wait.
- Use a text message to ask for the review. If you are not collecting your customers cell phone number then you are missing out on the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT digital marketing tool that exists today. After the customer leaves, and you are confident that they had a good experience, then you should send them a text message thanking them for their business. In this text message ask for a short review and provide them with a link to your review form. If you are not willing to do this then you do not want success bad enough and will be destined to be mediocre.
- Use email to ask for the review. If you are not collecting customer email addresses then you are missing out on the SECOND MOST IMPORTANT digital marketing tool that exists today. It is way more powerful than any social media site. You need to start collecting these immediately. Using a tool like MailChimp (currently FREE up to 2,000 emails) you can send out a friendly email to your customer base. In this email you would want to let the customer know how much you appreciate their business. Let them know that you are trying to grow your business and ask them if they would be willing to help by providing a short online review. Then in the email provide them with a direct link to the review form. This approach works surprisingly well. Especially if your email communications with your customers do not come across as “corporate”. The emails should be personal. Email is a tool to personally connect with your customers. They need to see the person behind the company to build that mental connection that they are actually helping a person and not a company. If you are successful in communicating in your email that you are a person attempting to grow a small business they will be more likely to help you.
- Use social media to ask for the review. If you have a social media profile then you should keep a permanent link to your online review form on your profile. This will make it very easy for your followers to locate your review form if they feel compelled to provide a review. This is the least effective approach to getting more online reviews. You should focus on the first three options and only invest time in implementing this approach when you are bored with nothing else to do.
If after following the four tips above you are still having trouble compelling customers to leave a review then here are some additional options to consider:
- Provide some incentive. Any time you reach out to a customer with a request for an online review then you can provide them with a discount on their next visit or even give them a discount for their current visit if you are asking them in person! Providing monetary incentive is a powerful way to quickly boost your review count but keep in mind that some customers are turned off by this so I do not always recommend this.
- Evaluate your business. People are usually only willing to provide a review if they’ve had a terrible experience or a fantastic experience. Customers that fall between that spectrum usually do not leave reviews. If most of your customers fall between a terrible experience and a fantastic experience then you should evaluate why most of your customers are having a mediocre experience and attempt to correct this. Sometimes the problem is that the customer is not inspired to help you. This is due to a mediocre customer relationship and YOU should do something about this.
I’m extremely confident (based on years of experience) that if you follow the recommendations above you’ll have more online reviews than your competitors. If you fail to follow the recommendations above then you are choosing to fail at growing your online reviews.
My next post will be about finding and/or creating a link to an online review form. Helping you to know where to link so that your customers have a review form to complete.