Why online customer reviews are more important than ever

Every transaction has value in terms of human resources and money, and online customer reviews play an important role in both for any business.

Many body shop owners and managers use review sites to connect with customers and get feedback. But many are still skeptical about the authenticity of the reviews posted.

Before the online consumer review industry took off about 18 years ago, when Yelp was founded, people had to rely on recommendations from friends, neighbors and associates. Word-of-mouth has worked pretty well, but now we can access hundreds of reviews in minutes, rather than asking your grocery store postman or checker for the best restaurants, movie theaters, or body shops.

As a body shop owner or manager, all you ultimately want is to acquire new customers, retain existing customers, and increase your revenue. But like many, you’re probably a bit overwhelmed by the speed at which technology is changing and how to respond to it.

Recently I saw this powerful quote from harvard business review: “Many companies must radically change their marketing strategies to take into account the increasing power wielded over future customers by the opinions of existing customers.”

I had a friend who said that opinions are like a certain orifice that we all have. That still applies, but now everyone’s opinions seem to matter more than ever, especially online.

For companies that do exemplary work and thus achieve high CSI ratings, online review sites are a wonderful thing. On the other hand, what if you’re a good company, but you’re not getting a significant amount of public acclaim—or, worse, false negative reviews from competitors and disgruntled former employees?

Megan FulkersonManaging Partner and Strategist at 3P Marketing in Evansville, IN, works with body shops and other small businesses on their online reviews and how to set them up for success.

“While managing reviews can seem daunting, taking care of your customers and providing safe and proper repairs is what we try to do every day,” she said. “Going a step further and having CSRs or estimators ask the customer to provide a review is a great way to add current responses to your online review list.”

Online reviews are crucial in the body shop industry because people want to be…

Joseph P. Harris