You’re Not Ruined! How To Respond to a Negative Review

You just got a bad review on Google. It’s a 1-star with a nasty one-sided story about what a terrible job you did, or how your shop ripped them off. As the shop owner, your head is ready to explode. You want to reply with your side of the story.

I know the feeling. As a former shop owner, I knew we did honest, high-quality work, and telling the world through the internet otherwise was an attack on my integrity. I wanted to retaliate.

That, however, is the worst way to respond. The internet is going to judge your auto repair shop by the way you reply much more than the review itself. Potential customers will think that is how you treat all of your customers. As a shop owner, you can’t afford to make that mistake. So here are the right steps to respond to a negative review:

Ideas to grow your businessNon-ATI members: Discover more valuable tips and strategies to turn that frown upside down, increase customer satisfaction, and increase your bottom-line in ATI’s shop owner events. Register for a shop owner event at www.atievent.com.

1. Take a step back.

Your first reaction is to get defensive. Don’t reply while you are still upset. Go do something else and set a time to work on your reply later in the day.

2. Make it a training opportunity.

Most negative reviews are a result of a miscommunication between the service advisor and the customer. Discuss what happened with the service advisor and the technician.

Did the customer have expectations we couldn’t fulfill? Did we drop the ball on communicating that? Did we fail to honor our original estimate price? Were there additional issues and we didn’t fully explain to them why?

As the owner, your role is to identify what, if anything, could have been done differently so you can minimize the chance of this kind of issue occurring in the future.

3. Draft your response first.

Don’t start typing on Google yet. Before you post it for the world to see, it’s good practice to write it out first.

4. Write it to the REAL audience.

You are not writing your reply to the person who posted the negative review. You are writing to a potential customer who hasn’t met you yet. Be specific enough that the reader knows your reply is genuine – for example, use the reviewer’s name and the vehicle they are referring to. You want potential customers to know that you are courteous, friendly and want customers to have a good experience. Did you drop the ball (see step 2)? Be honest if you did and how you will rectify that.

5. Ask an impartial friend or family member to read it.

Ask them how it makes them feel about your shop. Would they want to go to a business that had that reply to a bad review?

6. Post it.

A negative review can become a powerful tool for bringing new customers to your door if you handle it the right way. At ATI, we help our members make great marketing decisions and build strong teams, both of which allow them to achieve their dreams. Want to learn more? Start by registering for a shop owner event at www.atievent.com.