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Use a bad review to get the customers you wish you had

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 06:00
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You have to hold your ground on offering the best, most amazing customer service in your area, and don’t let the 20 percent of haters hold you back. If you do, this can backfire. Let me explain: you need to get 5-star reviews in the beginning to overcome the few hater reviews you will get while trying to make it better. When you have 20 5-star reviews about how you took the time, answered questions and took care of their car and their family — these reviews are the ones that attract the customer you want. I will be brutally honest with you: there are going to be two kinds of shops in the future. The shops that ask for reviews, get them and attract good customers, and the ones that don’t, who don’t have enough 5-star reviews to offset the hater reviews, which will add up to kill your shop.

Simply stay the best

As you get through this change, hold your line on your quality, pricing and culture. You will keep getting 5-star reviews and the 1-star customers will start finding a cheap shop with bad service. The customers you don’t want are going to keep trying to come back, and will keep testing you. They will never tell you this, but in most cases, they just can’t afford to get the car fixed at a quality shop. Never, ever, drop your quality, price or culture. You must set the standard. Some of your new customers could be a hater that has left another shop already. These are usually the ones that always complain about the other shop’s performance, but never bring up that the car failed because of the part they let the customer supply.

When I teach class, I tell every student that I want honest feedback. If we need to improve on something let us know, please comment on anything we can do better. This is the only way for us to be the best. I will never get all five out of five stars because in the process of pushing the class to be the best, I will rub someone the wrong way. I would rather change 19 lives and have one student that just does not agree with me, than have 20 people that feel the class was ordinary. Trust me, it’s hard to have someone walk out, and take that in a positive way. But again, do you want to be the best or mediocre?

Look at your shop through the customer’s eyes. In today’s world, even if they are referred to you they will use Google to find your website and phone number, and check your reviews. The average consumer will click on the shop that has the highest reviews, and then click to read that shop’s lowest reviews. Think about when you look at reviews online for a product you want to buy, you do this, don’t you? You want potential customers to read “They would not put my used part on;” “they wanted to look over everything and build a plan for my car, such bad people.” This will do a few GREAT things. The quality customer will laugh at those and say to themselves “We all know those people.” Then they will check your 5-star reviews to see why people are coming to you. Your great customers will sell your services for you. Better yet, the customers who want to bring in their own part will read that and call someone else. If you keep dealing with customers who don’t want to play by your rules, recommend a shop that will install their part, and let them put that shop out of business.

The best thing you can do is come at this from the other direction. Instead of arguing over customer-supplied parts, put up a sign that says: “In an effort to give our customers the best service, we do not install customer-supplied parts.” Let them ask you why, and be able to explain. Remember when a customer gives you a great comment, ask them to post that in the review they give you online. Get your good customers to help you.

It’s really simple. Treat people the way they want to be treated. Start by setting a good impression every time a customer comes in. Make sure the shop, bathrooms and customer waiting areas are clean. Everyone can fix a car. Talk to them about the repair like a neighbor. Show them what is wrong so they can start trusting you and we can turn the perception of this industry around. Some consulting companies want to make this process sound complicated so you have to pay them to get the knowledge. It’s not rocket science and all of us at ATI want you to be the best shop in your area!

If you want to find out how the best shops consistently get Google reviews and need more help, then go to for a limited time. We will send you more quick tips on how to ask for reviews, and get them. It takes around 90 seconds or less to get your customers to tell others how much they love you in a Google review.

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