Common mistakes garages make when responding to customer reviews

Specialist shares tips and advice for independent garage owners

Common mistakes garages make when responding to customer reviews
Image: Bigstock.

Automotive consultancy firm, Fourmative has released some of the most-common mistakes businesses make when it comes to customer feedback.

The experts behind the company say around half the population will refer to customer review before choosing where to spend their money.

It aims to help garages understand the importance of feedback and how they should respond to it.

Mistake one: Making feedback optional

Unless the experience either surpasses or fails to meet expectations, most people won’t bother to air their views.

After all, they’re busy, and giving feedback takes time that few like to give.

That means you’re missing out on valuable opinions, and the chance to put problems right. Plus, if the experience was just okay, you won’t know how to improve.

Make getting feedback part of the payment process, you’ll get the views of potentially all your customers.

Of course, ultimately, it’s still their choice to complete a survey, but doing it this way means you’ll get much more insight.

You’ll know how your business is perceived, and where to make improvements.

Mistake two: Failing to take concerns seriously

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, so their opinions should always be taken seriously.

If a customer raises a concern, it must be managed in the right way.

Plus, if you offer an incentive to come back, you’ll not only get repeat business, but reduce the number of bad reviews.

Those concerns can have a serious effect on your bottom line, so give them the gravitas they deserve. 

Mistake three: Only allowing managers to handle complaints

All your staff should be empowered to deal with complaints.

Each member should be trained to take ownership of the issue, so that the customer has one point of contact.

There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than explaining to a receptionist what was wrong, then having to repeat the whole thing when the manager arrives.

Of course, there are certain situations which need to be escalated, but if your staff can handle most problems, it’ll diffuse the situation quickly and give them an air of competence.

Professionalism goes a long way in the eyes of your customers.

Mistake four: Failing to respond to online feedback

This is a big no-no.

Disgruntled customers expect to be contacted, so ignore negative reviews, tweets or Facebook comments at your peril.

If time is an issue, hire someone to respond to these complaints quickly. Yes, it’s an extra overhead, but it’s unlikely to cost more than the business you can lose from bad feedback that lingers online.

Reducing the number of negative reviews is a no-brainer, so put a system in place to catch unhappy customers before they leave.

A Fourmative spokesperson said “People remember bad comments more than the good, so it’s not surprising that little mistakes can cost you thousands of pounds each month.

“Customer feedback can make or break your business.”

Fourmative provides a web-based system which helps garages gain valuable customer feedback which can be used to help improve satisfaction and business retention.

The spokesperson added: “Typically feedback systems rely upon the Customer choosing to leave their views relating to a particular sale or service experience.

“This approach often results in customers choosing to opt out if the experience was acceptable with many customers only leaving feedback if the service was deemed to be exceptional and worthy of a mention or alternatively very poor.

“This means that many businesses rely upon a very small sample of their total customers to measure customer satisfaction.

“Instant Feedback obtains customer views at the end of the customer experience, prior to them leaving.”

Opinion: Every review counts because a good reputation will protect against naysayers

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