Repair shops are built one customer at a time and through a combination of quality work and customer satisfaction. If you ever want to learn what your customers truly care about, read the reviews. And don’t stop at just your reviews, read all the reviews of your competition. If you want to understand what customers care about and what they love or hate about a business, you’ll find all the answers in the reviews of your business and other businesses like yours in your area. When you read the reviews of both your shop and the competition, then you get real feedback from the people who matter most: the customers. It’s an unfiltered zone where you can see what people care about and where a repair shop failed to meet their expectations. It is also a great way to learn what your competition is doing right and what they are getting wrong.
Often times, shop owners will only think about the quality of the repair or cosmetic work and neglect all the other elements that make the entire repair process worthy of the 5-star customer satisfaction reviews. These include communication through the repair process, educating the customer, quality control checks, and even freebies such as a bottle of water waiting for them in the cupholder. (Who doesn’t like free stuff?)
When you read the reviews of what nearby shops and or what the competition is doing, you’re able to see what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. It’s as if you have a private investigative team able to report back to you their findings, and you can use that intel as a benefit to your shop.
Here are some examples of auto shop reviews in Bel Air, Maryland when you search “auto shop near me”:
As you can see in the example above, the shop neglected to update their location on the website or Google My Business page causing confusion and wasting the time of their customer. The second lesson is that the ability for a customer to schedule an appointment and not have to wait is important for your customers. Consider adding a scheduling tool to your website.
In this example from Jacqueline, you can see how important communication and hitting deadlines are to customer service, and missing the mark on the window QC was merely fuel to the fire.
In Lauren’s example, a quick policy change for the shop indicating all loose change must be bagged and placed in the vehicle will prevent reviews like this from ever happening again.
In Janet’s example above the shop clearly neglected to educate the customer about how long it may take to have an insurance adjuster view the vehicle and that storage fees would apply.
In Mansi’s example, the shop over-promised the delivery time and then did not keep to their promise, nor did they communicate any delays or the reasons for them.
You can learn a lot from positive reviews as well such as the review above from Fred. Cleanliness of the vehicle is an expectation that can get ignored in a busy shop. Remember how important their cars are to your customers and when you treat them with respect, you get good reviews.
Here is a common negative review for a shop. When supplements are written but never communicated to the customer, the mismatch between estimate and actual typically comes across as being “screwed” even though the insurance company is paying the bill. Communicate from the onset that all written estimates are “initial” estimates and that the price could go higher as the vehicle is torn down which may require a supplement to be written and approved and paid for by the insurance company.
Edie’s review is a classic symptom of a shop who not only failed in communication, but they also failed to explain what insurance will cover and what they won’t, and what the customer’s options are in any of these cases such as litigation or out of pocket payment. Making matters worse, there was a QC issue with the paint match.
And finally, we have Rob’s review where something as simple as a bottle of water in the cup holder was an opportunity to surprise and delight this customer enough to write a positive review of the business. If this was your competition it is just one more example of something they are doing right that perhaps you are not doing and is a great example of how reading reviews is a free way to secret shop your competition.
As you can see, the negative reviews focused a lot on the time frame of the repair, horrible customer service, bad color match, not informing the customer about pricing or the insurance process and overall miscommunication. This is where you as the repair shop can really make sure both your front-end and back-end are working together in unison to not only ensure the highest quality repairs but also so the customer never feels like they are neglected or misinformed. Customers are relying on you to take care of their car and to help them through the repair process. Without that, you’d have very unhappy customers which means no returning business which equals no repairs at all.
On the other hand, where these shops got their positive reviews is in simple and effective ways. These include providing accurate estimates and working with insurance companies, bringing back the car sparkling clean, kept delivery date, strong communication through the repair process, and even thinking of details such as providing a bottle of water waiting for the customer in their cup holder once they got their car back.
All of these factors come into play when running an auto repair business. Remember to read not just your reviews, but the reviews for the shops in your area (including the competition). There’s always room for improvement, and if you remember that the customer is the most important part of the entire repair process, then you’ll be a 5-star auto repair business.