Why Google Reviews Matter for Auto Collision Repair Shops
It’s completely understandable why auto collision repair shops would prefer to support and send customers to sites like Carwise and Auto Body Review when asking for a new review.
These specialized sites only allow verified customers to write and post reviews; whereas with sites like Google and Yelp, you’re not guaranteed that your next review will come from someone that has even set foot in your shop! (By the way, there are ways to combat fake reviews.)
And sure, because of this a number of consumers are going to trust what they find on Carwise over Google or Yelp. And you might see these folks as your ideal customers — the ones that do their homework using quality sources.
We get it, and we’re not saying you shouldn’t be plugged into the Carwise or Auto Body Review networks. By all means, if it’s working for you, great!
But set aside the issue of verified reviews for a minute. Because there are three really important reasons you should also prioritize having a great presence on Google in addition to Carwise or Auto Body Review.
1. There Are More Potential Customers Looking For You On Google Than Anywhere Else
Google has become the number one way people search for local businesses. Consumers know they’re more likely to find the most exhaustive list of businesses in any industry on Google than anywhere else.
According to a survey from Bright Local, Google was the top site that consumers used to find information about local businesses. Over 63 percent of respondents used the site over the last year to research at least one local business.
You can test this out for yourself. Ask any 10 people how they would search for a new auto collision repair shop, and we’re confident that a good number of them are going to say Google.
In fact, it’s always a good practice to ask new customers how they found you.
But what if your customers aren’t finding you on Google, which is very possible if you’re not one of the top auto collision repair businesses in your area on Google. And if this is the case, you are very likely missing out on a lot of new business.
An average of 40,500 people search for “collision repair near me” every month; more than 27,000 people search for auto body repair near me.
How many of those searches are in your area that could lead to new customers?
Do a little test with us. Google “Auto collision repair near me” and see what comes up.
- Does your business come up and do you have one of the highest ratings and the most reviews? If not, then you’re losing valuable business to your competition.
- Do you see Carwise near the top of the search page? Once again, it’s not that Carwise isn’t important or useful, but it’s not the primary way folks are finding collision repair shops.
2. Having a Less-Than-Stellar Google Rating Hurts Your Business
When shops don’t take control of their Google presence, they can face negative consequences.
For instance, if you’re not encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews, you could end up with primarily negative reviews and a lower star rating, which will send potential customers searching elsewhere.
See, if you’re only encouraging folks to leave Carwise reviews or not even asking for reviews at all, the people that are most likely to leave a review on Google are the ones that were dissatisfied.
By the way, when you start consistently requesting reviews, it encourages more satisfied customers to share their feedback. This gives you more control over your shop’s reputation in your area.
So even if a potential customer hears about your business in another way, say a recommendation from a friend or they drive by your shop, lots of folks will search for a shop online before they decide to set an appointment.
If a potential customer searches for your shop and sees a less-than-ideal star rating, they very well could choose to go elsewhere. Why? Because you’re not earning their trust.
According to the Bright Local consumer study, less than half of consumers would consider using a business with a Google rating of less than 4 stars.
Another issue that arises for shops with lower Google ratings is that your shop becomes more difficult to find online.
And even if a customer has decided on your shop, Google is a common place to find your phone number or bring up driving directions. So if someone is searching for your company, you want to be easily found.
What does your Google rating have to do with being easily found? Well, when you have a poor Google star rating (or no rating at all), Google can deprioritize your shop in their search results and show other, more popular shops instead. This can happen even if a consumer is searching for your shop by name!
3. Insurance Companies and Manufacturers Care About Google Reviews
But Google isn’t just important to customers. For instance, insurance companies will look at Google ratings and reviews when they’re making decisions around insurance policies and claims. “Decisions are being made about [direct repair program] (DRP) relationships every day,” Mark Claypool writes in Body Shop Business, and Google reviews factor into those decisions.
According to fellow BSB editor Jason Stahl, manufacturers will also look at Google scores and reviews when selecting shops for their auto collision certification programs. “When [OEMs] certify or recognize a shop, they’re looking at how well they’re serving their customers, and a logical place to find that information is with Google reviews,” Stahl explains.
How to Use Google To Earn New Customers
Hopefully we’ve made our point about just how important it is to have a strong presence on Google.
Here are two easy steps to get started:
- Make sure you’ve claimed your business on Google and that all the information is correct, including your phone number and address and your hours of operation.
- Set a policy for your customer service team to always ask satisfied customers for a Google review. You can include a request in an email receipt or, even better, follow up each job with an automated review request.
- Report fake or suspicious reviews to improve your Google rating.
How We Can Help
We work with auto collision repair shops to get more Google reviews. We can also help you better communicate with your team and your customers, revamp your website, and more. Book a demo to see how we can help grow your shop.