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How to Ask for a Google Review AND How to Respond to a Negative One

Most shop owners and service advisors never ask their customers for a review, even when the job goes smoothly. They just hope that happy people will make their opinions public. I’m sorry to disappoint, but that’s rarely the case. 

Shops with great reviews generally have one thing in common: They ask for the review. Doing this — and having a plan for dealing with negative reviews — will help you long term..

Most customers use Google reviews in one of two ways:

1. To vent

2. To find a business to patronize 

With such a narrow focus, the more positive reviews you have, the less of an impact a few negative reviews will bring. Getting your happy customers to review your business is the goal here.

I find that getting a great review is a cross between an art and a science. Here’s how I do it.

When a customer drops off their vehicle, mention Google reviews as a way to rate your performance. Tell them what they should expect from you, like getting a call at a specific time or the car being complete by end of day. Ask them simply, can we make a deal? If I come through on my commitments, and your are happy with the service you receive, will you take a moment and leave me a Google review? 

Remember, under-promise and over-deliver. This method only works if you come through on all of your commitments. I rarely commit to a time of completion and instead, commit to a deadline for updating the customer. Usually this keeps the customer feeling in control of the process. A customer that feels in control is generally a very happy customer.  

At the end of the service, follow up with, “How did you feel about your service today?” Tell them about how important Google reviews are for your business — something like, “When folks are picking a mechanic shop, Google reviews directly impact their decision.” Make it personal: “Can you do me a favor and take a moment to leave a review?” If you have a complicated name like me, write your name on the receipt. Say, “The Google review is like my report card. It gives people a way to see how I served you. Feel free to be detailed.“

And when you get a bad review (because you will):

Own it.

Don’t argue in your response.

You’ve usually already lost the customer who wrote the bad review. But you haven’t lost the people reading the review and the response. Own the “mistake” even if it doesn’t feel like one. As they say, perception is 100% of reality. Explain how you intend to prevent the problem from happening again, and offer the customer a way to contact you so you can fix it, or so they can vent. Remember, while you are offering the reviewer a fix, you’re really telling your future customer why they won’t go through the same problem. Show class and grace. Don’t match their negative tone or disrespect them, even if they have taken shots at you.

It feels natural in this situation to defend yourself, but customers that are considering your shop may get turned off by that. Swallow your pride in the name of long-term Google review success. 

Don’t forget that reviews are a numbers game. A higher number of happy reviews can minimize the impact of a negative one. You’ve got this!

Here’s how I shared this same subject with my readers to encourage them to leave quality reviews for shops: Click here

Author: Chaya Milchtein

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