In recent columns, I’ve been laying out what I believe you need to do to position your business to thrive – not just survive – in the collision repair industry. We’ve started with the sales and marketing aspect of that. A key part of marketing is monitoring and improving your shop’s online presence, which includes regularly thinking about what you put online – and checking what others are saying about your business online.
I recommend starting by first ensuring your business listing is current and consistent across all the search engines, mapping apps and other online tools that customers might use to locate you.
There’s a service called “PowerListings” offered by Yext (www.yext.com) that can help you verify and “claim” your business listing across 50 sites, including Bing, Yelp, Mapquest and Yahoo. This service may help you find, for example, that in some places you are listed as “ABC Body & Paint,” while in others you’re listed as “ABC Body and Paint” or “ABC Body Shop, Inc.,” etc. These inconsistencies can lead search engines to “penalize” you in the listing rankings because they may presume you’re trying to “game” the system.
Yext also offers an option (for an annual fee) of monitoring and maintaining those listings to ensure they’re always current. (By the way, I often recommended that shop clients contact Mark Claypool at Optima Automotive for help with their online presence. I know Mark can get you a significant discount on Yext’s annual monitoring fee.)
Similarly, if you’re a CCC ONE user, you have access to Carwise, which can help customers locate your shop or get electronic vehicle status updates. I often find that CCC ONE users haven’t updated their Carwise listing with their company logo, hours of operation, photos of their business, etc.
Next, if you’re using a customer satisfaction indexing service, check with that company about linking your CSI scores and customer comments to your company’s Facebook page or website. That can be a great way to leverage the positive reviews you’re getting.
Most shops have had the experience of finding a negative customer review posted on Yelp or somewhere online. I recommend three ways to deal with this.
First, make sure your CSI provider notifies you right away of any negative customer comments. That gives you an opportunity to try to fix things with the customer before he or she posts a negative review online.
Second, always do what you can to encourage your satisfied customers to post a positive review online. Lots of these good reviews will reduce the impact of the occasional less-than-positive review.