This month’s article was written with the help of ATI Instructor Nick Peyton.
Do you want to have a mediocre 4-star or a mind-blowing 4.8-star average review rating? Will you put in the work to make that happen, or will you be mediocre like the shops out there that are fighting to stay alive? To get something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done, so what will that be? Let’s listen to ATI Instructor Nick Peyton explain how you can get the customers you really want.
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Anyone can get a 4-star average review rating, which is a C+ in any college you go to. It’s easy, just run your shop the same way most students get through college. Show up, do things the same way they have been done for 20 years, and never push yourself or your industry to be the best in your area, state or the world. As the industry changes, most won’t understand why they are getting left in the dust. Why are they dealing with the bottom 20 percent of the customers who fight over price, bring in their mud-covered used parts, and complain about you online? Are they attracting these people? Starbucks – which receives $22 billion in revenue annually — is the most expensive cup of coffee on the street, and they are never slow. It’s not that they have the most amazing cup of coffee. What are they doing right?
5-star service comes first
To get an average 4.8 out of 5 or higher, you need to get a high volume of 5-star reviews. You will have to increase the quality of your service in the customers’ eyes. A few examples: thank-you calls, courtesy checks and all the stuff most have heard before. However, the part that is usually missing is the customer’s perception of your shop’s value. Do your customers see the value in the products and services you offer? Bottled water is a $16 billion industry annually, and it’s free out of the tap. People buy bottled water because they see value in it. What are you missing?
Some customers are not going to like the positive changes you make because they are not willing to pay for your quality. Not every customer is your customer, just like Starbucks and bottled water. This is usually about 20 percent of your client base, who cause 80 percent of your problems. And YES, they are going to complain when you make your service better, but these are the 20 percent that are already complaining, so what does it matter?
You have to believe in your shop, your team and yourself. As Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” People don’t know what they want till you show them what breathtaking automotive service looks like. If you listen to your bad customers, they will put you out of business. Some customers want to bring in their own parts, but you can’t buy a steak at the butcher and take it to a steak house and ask them to cook it, can you? Why are you any different? You must set the standard! Did the last customer that you helped on price come shovel your snow this winter? Give you a good review? Remember, if you’re going to be around in the future, it must be a profitable business first.
When you start making changes to your shop, you are going to see negative reviews first. This is a good thing. The bottom 20 percent will immediately post a 1-star or 2-star review to whichever review page they spread their negativity through. Haters say exactly what they need to say to keep the other customers like them away. It’s great, right? A few examples: “These guys wanted to look over my whole car, and I just need brakes;” “I could not bring my own part;” “They would not sell me the part at the same price as I found on eBay;” “They would not give me a price over the phone.” Remember, it is important to respond to all negative reviews in a positive way, and make sure you list how you prefer to be contacted. This shows the customers you want that you care, and you are trying to make them happy.