Why Your Collision Repair Shop Should Respond to Reviews

Why Your Collision Repair Shop Should Respond to Reviews

Table of Contents


People tend to review a business when they’ve either had a great experience or an awful one. 

When we’re impressed with a product or service, we want to tell others about it, and in local service businesses, we want to share that experience and help them get more business. 

On the other hand, when a business fails to meet expectations, we want to have our complaint acknowledged, and feel like the business cares. When that fails, we want to warn others against supporting that business.

In either case, when we review a business, we expect an appropriate response. Shops that ignore this are missing out on a crucial form of local marketing.

Responding to Reviews Shows Your Level of Customer Service

Whether someone has been in an auto accident, hit a deer, or taken on hail damage, they’re going to open Google and search for body shops. Google (or Bing, Facebook, Yelp, etc.) will show a list of area collision repair shops, along with their customer ratings.

That rating has a massive impact on a prospect’s choice of whether or not to even look at your shop. A one or two star rating is a serious issue and will send people running away from your business. A four or five star rating will get you onto the short list.

Now, as a prospect looks through the ratings, they may see comments with responses. This is where your shop can shine like a fresh coat of wax.

Customer Service Meme

Responding to your customers' comments, both good and bad, shows them that you are listening, and that you care about their experience with your business. 

Your customers worked with various people during their repair, and responding to their ratings and reviews is a fantastic way to strengthen the relationship and end the transaction on a positive note. It also shows others that you (or whoever replies) are a real person. Being more “human” makes it easier to do business with you - compared with generic, nameless responses.

If you really want to provide good customer service, then you must listen to what your customers tell you! Reviews are such a great way to do that. 

When a customer reviews your shop, they are telling you what you need to improve. After you get enough reviews, you may notice patterns of comments, like “Jennifer at the front desk was so friendly”. This may help you recognize Jennifer’s outstanding customer service mentality, while making it clear that this is a strength she can share with other team members.

If you see negative comments, like “After drop off, I had to keep checking to see what the holdup was.” This may be a flag that your team’s customer communication needs improving.

Locate the squeaks, and apply the grease, so to speak. There’s always room for improvement, and valuing reviews and the feedback they provide can certainly drive your team forward.  

Responding to Reviews Can Influence Your Google Ranking

While I’m generally talking about all review sites here, there are Google-specific reasons to respond to your customer reviews.

Google uses reviews as a ranking factor for search results. What this means is that all else being equal, a business that responds to reviews will rank higher than one that does not respond.

Your responses can also impact SEO (search engine optimization). Let’s say a prospect enters “chevy auto body repair near me” into Google. There are many factors that calculate which shop is listed first, including:

  • Distance
  • Number of ratings
  • What the ratings are
  • Whether the reviewer added written comments
  • Whether their comment includes keywords related to their search
  • Whether or not the business replied
  • How quickly the business replied

When someone leaves a review for your shop, you can simply say “Thanks for your review” at a minimum, but can you see why it might be better to respond with something like this?

“Thanks for your review Bill, and for letting us repair your Chevy Silverado. We appreciate your business!”

Including the keywords in your responses helps Google understand your services better, and display your site in search results, and gives prospective customers a better idea of the types of repairs you do.

Responding to Reviews Primes Your Customers to Leave Their Own Review

When a prospect is skimming through your shop’s reviews while deciding which shop(s) to reach out to, hopefully they see: 

  • Lots of reviews - having only a few doesn’t do much for first impressions
  • Good star rating - a low overall rating of less than 4 stars is hard to overcome
  • Specific comments about what your shop did well
  • Detailed, thoughtful, personalized replies from you or your team
  • Responses to both positive and negative reviews

Not only do your responses show that you are trustworthy and have good customer service, it also plants a seed in your customer’s mind that they may be asked to leave a review after their repair. If all these other people took a few minutes to do it, why wouldn’t they?

How to Respond to Customer Reviews of Your Body Shop

Responding to a Negative Review

You will undoubtedly get negative reviews on occasion. No business or person is perfect, and we all make mistakes. It’s important that you do not fire off an angry reply in the heat of the moment. That’s a recipe for going from bad to worse, and your replies will be publicly displayed.

Responding to body shop review
Components of a response to a negative review

When you get a bad review, first discuss it internally with anyone who was involved. Is it an issue with the repair, the charges, the communication, the friendliness of your team? Is it a legitimate complaint?

Assuming it is a real issue where your business failed to perform, use a template as a starting point, but be sure to customize your response so it doesn’t sound canned. Using a template helps to ensure you send a thorough response. Hubspot has some great review templates to use.

Now post your response publicly - and within 24 hours. It’s important to let other people see that you respond to negative reviews and try to address the issues. If the reviewer responds again, try to move that to a phone or email conversation if possible. It’s important to stay calm - even if your customer is making invalid claims.

Make sure your reply includes a concrete solution to their problem. Issuing an apology without trying to fix the problem is just words without action.

If you can’t solve a problem outright, consider offering an incentive of some sort, like a free car wash. But it should be in proportion to the mistake - a car wash isn’t going to make up for a bad paint job.

Be sure to use your name in your reply. Being anonymous lets you hide behind the screen, but using your name shows the reviewer that a real person is addressing them, whom they could call and ask for if needed.

Customer service meme

Responding to a Positive Review

Responding to your positive reviews is a lot more fun than the negative ones, but just because all is well doesn't mean you should take the review for granted.

Responding quickly shows that you value your customers even after the repair job is complete. As with negative reviews, use the customer’s name to make your reply more personal.

Be sure to thank the customer for their review, and if it makes sense, reinforce what they wrote. For instance,

“Thanks for the kind words Bill. Everyone seems to love Jennifer at the front desk just as much as we do. She’s great!”

If you want to incentivize the review, you can say something like “Next time you’re in the area, stop in and mention this review for a free car wash.” Or you can give something to them, like a shop t-shirt or whatever works for you. This also encourages other customers to write reviews.

Once again, sign off with your name to personalize your reply.

Final Thoughts

Read more about Business Review Websites and Your Auto Body Shop

While they may seem inconsequential, your shop’s customer reviews are a potential goldmine for marketing your business. Start responding to all your reviews, good and bad, to surprise and delight your customers, get valuable feedback for improving your business, and give Google what it needs to increase your search rank.

Need help getting reviews for your auto body shop? Let’s chat.

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Why Your Collision Repair Shop Should Respond to Reviews
Jason Ferguson

About Jason Ferguson

Jason has been a graphic designer since 1994 and started building websites in 1997. Since then he's learned countless new marketing skills and loves helping companies get more customers using digital marketing techniques. Jason founded Conspicuous Digital in 2017 and focuses on helping collision repair shops with their marketing.

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