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Ever wonder whether online reviews could help drive business to your heavy duty shop? According to the numbers, they can. Surveys say 90 percent of consumers consult online reviews before choosing a business, and 92 percent of shoppers report to favoring local businesses with a 4-star rating or higher. In light of that data, getting customer reviews to get more customers could be the missing piece to your marketing strategy. Online reviews can increase your shop’s visibility on the web and in the real world. They can also give you a chance to connect with existing customers and help attract new ones.   

Benefits of Online Reviews for a Heavy Duty Shop

Attracting more customers is one of the top benefits of favorable customer reviews. There’s more to the customer review game than that, however. Research has found that a rating improvement of just one star on Yelp can result in an increase in sales of up to 9 percent. That means if you have few to zero reviews now, a handful of positive reviews can boost your customer base. And, even with some negative reviews in the mix, injecting some more positive reviews will increase your rating and garner an increase in customers. 

What’s more, online reviews can help shops rank higher on search engines. Google looks at data from review sites when it builds search results. Consequently, a collection of 4 and 5-star reviews on sites like Yelp and Foursquare can get your shop listed “above the fold” when a potential customer Googles “best heavy duty repair shop in town.” Even if a link to your shop’s website doesn’t come up, a good rating on Yelp will earn your shop’s name a place on the Yelp link that comes up, where users can read reviews from happy customers. 

And there’s more. Other benefits of online reviews for a heavy duty shop include:

  •   building trust—72 percent of consumers say they tend to trust local businesses with positive reviews
  •   improving your rep—good reviews and high search engine rankings make people see you as the authority in heavy duty repair
  •   offering communication opportunities—good or bad, reviews provide a setting for interacting with customers

As you know, all these factors work together to cultivate loyal customers. However, the communication element plays an especially important part in using online reviews to get more customers. Next, we’ll take a look at how interacting with customers can make online reviews work for your shop. 

Making Online Reviews Work for Your Heavy Duty Repair Shop

Online reviews aren’t a one-way street. Companies that interact with customers through online review sites get more reviews in general. That’s why you can and should respond to all of them. What’s more, you’ll get even more reviews and improved ratings if you respond to comments quicker.  

And, yes, we did say respond to all reviews—the good and the bad. Good reviews are an opportunity to thank customers, invite them back, and remind them of specials or promotions. Bad reviews give you a chance to step up and be accountable. Respond to bad reviews quickly—even faster than the good ones. Acknowledge the problem and offer a solution. The customer isn’t always right, but avoid being accusatory. You should be professional and polite, even if they aren’t. Your pro-active, constructive response to a negative review will shine a positive light on your shop that will tend to make prospective customers overlook bad feedback. 

Easy Ways for Getting Reviews to Get More Customers

Although the majority of consumers rely on reviews when looking for goods and services, their first thought isn’t always to go back online and leave a review of their own. That’s why you need to ask for reviews, and you have multiple chances to do that every day. Some of the best ways are: 

Asking in person—after a repair or service, ask the customer to leave a review online. When a customer tells you how thrilled they are with the repair your shop did, ask them to go online and tell others about it. “In person” can include asking for an online review during a phone conversation, too.

Utilizing your business cards—print the review sites that list your heavy duty repair shop on your business cards along with a brief request for a review such as, “Thanks for your business! You can post a review on Yelp, Google, or Facebook.” 

Asking in an email—if you’re already email marketing, including a review request at the end of every email you send out is a simple way to get more customer reviews. The beauty of the email ask is that you can embed a link to the different review sites into the body of the email, making it as easy as possible for anyone to sing your shop’s praises. 

Requesting reviews on your website—most websites have a “testimonials” page where people can read about happy customers’ experiences. Using the email trick, you can embed links on the testimonial page with an invitation for customers to leave a review on the site of their choice—“We want to hear about your experience at our shop!” Registration with review websites typically comes with permission to use that site’s logo in your marketing. Have your webmaster add the logos to your testimonial page along with the links to easily direct customers to the right place to leave a review.   

Common Review Websites

There are many review sites on the web, and it seems the number is growing every day. Some, like TripAdvisor and OpenTable, focus on specific types of businesses. However, there are plenty of sites that post reviews for any type of business and the biggest, most influential ones happen to fall into that category. Some of the best review sites for heavy duty repair shops are:

 People can leave reviews on any of these sites even if your business isn’t registered with them. However, claiming a listing for your heavy duty repair shop before people start reviewing makes your shop look legit and projects credibility. Plus, you need to be registered to interact with customers and respond to their feedback. You may not always have time to respond to every review on every site, and that’s okay. On days you only have 5 minutes for dealing with reviews, concentrate on the ones with the most clout: Yelp and Google. If you can only set aside 1 minute, then focus on Google.  

Make sure you understand each site’s guidelines. For instance, some have rules on how you can ask for reviews. For instance, it’s never okay to pay for reviews or even offer discounts or any kind of reward. There are general rules that apply to customers and business owners, too. One example is the universal ban on vulgar language. If an irate customer leaves an over-the-top review filled with offensive words, you can usually flag it and have it removed. 

Utilizing online reviews is like injecting a secret word-of-mouth boosting power into your marketing strategy. It helps put your shop on the radar, increases your visibility everywhere, opens lines of communication with customers, and gives you the chance to show off your proficiency as a heavy duty repair expert. Plus, online reviews can influence potential customers to give your shop a shot, bringing in new business. In the end, that’s a lot of value from one simple, affordable marketing technique.

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