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Article: How Accurate Are Reviews? - - who reads them? who writes them? We ALL should.

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How Accurate Are Reviews?

         According to some surveys over 80 percent of the buying public rely on reviews as a way to determine if a product or service is suitable for them.  That being said, are those reviews a true depiction of the business or product, or can those reviews be skewed by a person’s attitude or ego coming through?  That’s the problem with these reviews.  They’re often written by an individual with something to say, who only has half the facts but a whole lot of fiction.  A lot of times they’re writing a review, but don’t fully understand the product or the service.  Sometimes they’re upset for various other reasons that aren’t related to the product or service at all; it’s more of two egos colliding together, but write a review they do.   

         Automotive service seems to be one of those services on the chopping block with the average consumer.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a dealership repair facility or an independent shop, somebody is going to have an opinion about something good or bad.  Although typically, the disgruntled person who is going to write a less than desirable review is usually the same type who goes to a restaurant, eats their entire entrée, then complains to the manager they found a hair in their soup and want the whole meal removed from their bill.

         I’m always open to suggestions from the business experts who tell repair shop owners to put themselves in their customer’s shoes and ask themselves what they would want in customer service if they were the customer.  It’s a good way to look at things, but I also tend to wonder what is going through the minds of some of these people who make the decision to go to a rundown repair shop in an old building with their hand painted sign dangling by a rusty nail, only to complain that the service and repair was substandard. I mean, what did you expect?

         What’s more disturbing are those who leave a comment, but don’t even have the nerve to leave their real name, nor have ambition to confront the repair shop before confirming their complaint.  I had one who left a comment with the name “Chris P. Bacon”.  Now, I’m not knocking the fact that your mother and father with the last name Bacon decided upon Chris P. as your first name. I’m just not sure you’re who you say you are.  Besides, you’d think I’d remember a name like that on a RO. The name, and the complaint….sounds a little… too crispy. But like any of these reviews, the big problem comes in trying to right the wrong by removing these posts. It can be a bigger ordeal than you can imagine.

Is there a cure?

         So, what to do?  Well, it’s pretty simple.  Ask all your customers to leave a comment every time they have any type of service work done at your shop, and not wait for a problem and let that be the only review.  Start using the digital world as a billboard to let everyone know what you do and how well you do it, not just as a complaint department for those disgruntled irritants who seem to use the internet to voice their opinions on subjects they don’t really understand.

Are you part of the problem?

         As usual, your tone of voice and off color sarcasms may not be for everyone.  Of course, that may be just the way you talk and act, and not necessarily an attitude, it’s just you.  For some people, that’s not acceptable, which means from the get-go you’re not going to have a very successful relationship with them.  For me, I’ve never been one to think I was going to make personal friends with everyone that came in the door I always figured you get what you give. You come in with an insulting attitude about my trade and profession you’re going to get the similar type of attitude back at ya.

         This is where as a shop owner, or head mechanic, you’ve got to take a step back and realize the service counter may not be the best place for you.  If your expertise is diagnosing the various systems in today’s vehicles and not in holding a meaningful conversation with a soccer mom, even if they came in to the shop telling you her van is overheating because of a faulty tail light. You know there’s no way that could happen, but you can’t keep your mouth shut or think you’re going to correct the situation by telling them, “Nope, that can’t happen ma’am”, maybe you don’t belong behind the service counter.  You might be turning into your own worst enemy.  Doing the work is one thing, getting the work in the door is another.  That’s where hiring a service writer or taking some business coaching classes to become more aware of your personally fault, and yes… we all have faults.  It’s just sometimes hard to admit it or recognize that we have them at all.

Grasping at the reasons why

         The big thing to consider is whether or not these reviews are justified from your approach to the repair, results of the repair, or perhaps your reactions at the service counter.  You have to ask yourself, “Are these reviews worth the time to worry about, or are they a real representation of the shop?”  Either way, if 80 percent of the buying public refer to them, whether they are good or bad reviews, that’s still a lot of potential customers reading them.

Digital reviews are here to stay, and I would say they are important to the future jobs you may or may not get into your shop. Maybe you shouldn’t put a lot of faith in the accuracy of some of these reviews if you know deep down they’re not true. It’s also good to keep in mind that most sensible people reading can see through those crackpot type reviews, and if plenty of your good customers are saying something positive in a review it will offset those wacky responses.  It’s all in the perspective other people have that’s important.  It’s a reflection of your abilities you want to shine through. The accuracy of these reviews is important, and sensible people as well as yourself, know the real story.  Now, make sure everyone else knows too.


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