Running a Shop Customer Service

Pit Stop: Responding to Reviews

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SHOP STATS: Rick Breen's Rapid Lube   Location: 3 in Louisiana (Monroe, West Monroe, Ruston)  Operator: Rick Breen  Average Daily Car Count: 60  Average Staff Size: 7  Average Number of Bays: 2  Ticket Average: $61  

Picture this: you’ve just moved to a new town and need your car’s oil changed. How do you figure out where to go? In this day and age, a fast search of “quick lubes near me” will get the job done. Once the results pop up on the screen, where does your eye wander? The reviews. And this is why reviews are important for a business: new customers are checking them.

“People are constantly using their phones to get information and look at the reviews,” says Matt Talbert, general manager of Rick Breen’s Rapid Lube and Wash in northern Louisiana. “Most likely, they aren’t going to go with the guy that is below four stars.”

Ever since Matt Talbert has been the general manager, he’s always responded to every review that’s come in, and it’s helped alleviate issues and misunderstandings that arise. Currently, Rick Breen’s has 4.7 stars and almost 2,500 likes on Facebook alone. 

Talbert explains why responding to reviews is important and the right way to do it.

Responding to reviews is important because you are engaging with the customer. It’s another avenue to engage them and let them know that you care about them and your business. Ever since I’ve been the general manager, I’ve always responded to every review. If a customer leaves a positive review and no one answers, they will say they did something nice and think that you don’t care. When it comes to not responding to a bad review, the customer will think you don’t care enough to respond to the problem. People just want to know someone is listening and you take the edge off by simply responding.

In any business, especially ours, you’re going to get bad reviews, and not because you did anything wrong, but because you didn’t meet the customer’s expectations. A lot of the time, we know what we are talking about, but problems arise when a customer doesn’t know or understand because something wasn’t explained enough to them. 

You need to do some research to find out exactly what happened in order to respond correctly. Occasionally, it’s about the price or something that wasn’t done fixed correctly. More than anything, it’s someone that felt like you were being rude to them because they felt rushed. It depends on the complaint, but you want to go to the store, talk to the employee, even reviewing security footage and invoices to see if they made notes. Some reviews come in months after their service, so it’s good to have documentation to respond correctly.

No matter what, you want to respond within a day. I make sure to respond to every review, good or bad. Now, it’s easier than ever—you don’t have to stop everything to go on the computer. I can do it straight from my phone. I get reviews coming in from when we open to 9 p.m. when I’m at home. Try to do it as quickly as possible so you don’t forget. It makes it easy when you have notifications coming to your phone. 

I’m always thinking about that potential customer that’s reading all of the reviews. To get people to leave a review, I have a sign in the lobby that directs customers to leave a review. It works and a lot of people give their reviews. 

If the review is positive, I make sure to thank them and let them know that we appreciate the review. When it comes to dealing with a negative comment, I make sure to keep it short and to the point. I want to get those people in a one-on-one conversation, so I give them my cell phone number to talk on the phone with them instead of going into details online.

First, I start off by apologizing, saying that the standards were not up to par. Once I get them on the phone, I then talk to the employee to make things right. That’s all the customer wants, and they start saying that maybe it’s not as serious as they thought. In reality, no one is expecting you to make everyone happy, but an owner should at least want to read negative reviews to learn from their mistakes.

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