There are several strategies for auto repair shop marketing, ranging from paid advertising to word of mouth marketing. But if you’re like most small business owners, you’re interested in ways you can promote your auto repair shop with minimal expense.

In this article, we’ll show you the best place to start.

When was the last time you took a look at your shop’s online ratings? Do you know your scores? You should. According to one study, an overwhelming 93% of consumers say online reviews from sites like Google and Yelp play a significant role in their buying decisions. 

That means online ratings have the potential to bring customers in or push them away.

The good news for small business owners is that getting more online reviews is a great way to market without a huge investment. In fact, when it comes to marketing for a small business, it’s difficult to find a better strategy. Getting more positive online reviews is virtually free and the impact on your bottom line is very real. 

There are numerous ways you can encourage your customers to leave more (and better) reviews. Here are 7 of our top tips.

“In fact, if you run a small business today, the single most important thing you can do to attract new customers is to take control of your online review score…” – Forbes

1. Put customer service at the heart of everything you do

This first one seems straightforward, but it’s surprising how many people fall at the first hurdle. If you want 5-star online reviews, you need to give 5-star service.

Make sure any customer-facing staff members get the right training. Customers will judge your auto shop right from the very first contact.

How do you make customers feel welcome? Are the staff friendly and approachable? 

You need to give customers a reason to want to leave a review.

Customer service needs to be exceptional. Period. Make customers feel valued, let them know you care, work on reducing your response times, and improve communication.

Whatever you can do to improve the customer experience, do it.

2. Make sure customers are happy with the service

Ask your customers about their experience at various points in the process. This includes when they first get in touch, when they arrive to drop off their car, when they come back to collect it, and when they call with questions.

This doesn’t need to be excessive. Ask questions like:

  • “Are you happy with that?”
  • Does everything make sense?”
  • “Is there anything that needs clarifying?”

Simple questions like these can go a long way in letting the customers know they matter to you, creating that all-important good impression.

3. Ask each customer for a review when they collect their car

Do you ask your customers to leave an online review when they call to collect their car? If not, how do you expect them to know that’s something you’d like them to do?

You might be surprised at how many people will be happy to brag about their experience at your shop… if you just ask them to. A polite, friendly request might be all it takes.

4. Check in with customers after a few days

People are busy.

Even those customers who intend to leave a review may forget once they get home from collecting their car, so give them a reason to remember.

Picking up the phone to check in can be beneficial. It gives you an opportunity to make sure customers are still happy with the service they received.

Start the conversation by asking how their car has been since they collected it.

Listen to their feedback. If they tell you they’re happy with the service, ask if they would be willing to leave a review. Be sure to let them know how they can do it.

This whole process only takes a few minutes, but it can increase your reviews substantially.

For maximum results, try calling during office hours when they’re likely to be at their desk.

5. Deal with complaints effectively

Despite your best intentions, there will be times when things don’t go according to plan.

Mistakes happen, and customers end up unhappy as a result. But that doesn’t mean you should give up hope when it comes to that 5-star review. How you deal with the complaint is what matters.

The most important thing is to be proactive. Listen to the customer’s feedback and then tell them what you’re going to do to fix it. Don’t wait for the customer to tell you what they expect. 

If they can see you’re serious about resolving the complaint—and if you deliver—they’re more likely to leave a positive review, despite the challenges they faced.

Most consumers won’t bother considering a business if the business’s online rating is lower than 3.3. – Podium

6. Respond to negative reviews

It’s likely you will receive some negative reviews, even if you work hard to provide excellent service and deal with complaints effectively. That’s part of running a business.

But the way you respond to these reviews can help mitigate some of the negativity.

Take accountability for your mistakes. Show anyone reading the review you’re sorry and want to do everything you can to resolve the problem.

Invite the customer back into your auto shop to find a solution. And when the complaint has been resolved, ask them to change their review.

7. Stay in touch with your customers

Finally, stay in touch with your customers using an email list. This has two key benefits when it comes to getting them to leave a review online.

You can remind them to leave a review in each email. Plus, you stay fresh on their minds. The next time they need an auto shop, they’ll think of you. This gives you another opportunity to provide excellent service and get that 5-star online review to help you grow your automotive business.

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