In some ways, your car is a reflection of you. You don’t have to own a brand-new car for it to be shiny and clean. Taking care of your car’s paint is actually not that difficult – with very little investment, both in time and effort, you can get great results. It doesn’t matter if your car is older or has some imperfections, you can still improve it or slow down the deterioration process. Here’s how to keep your paint shiny and new for as long as possible.
We drive our cars daily – to work, the store, and various other errands. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent the inevitable dent or ding from happening. Shopping carts, rocks from the road, and careless drivers parking too close are all going to take their toll on your vehicle over time with daily use.
Bad news for auto repair and collision centers around the U.S.—it seems most U.S. drivers don’t trust you. According to a study done by AAA in late 2016, two out of three U.S. drivers do not trust auto repair shops in general.
While the study was focusing specifically on the auto repair industry, industry experts were quick to point out that the majority of drivers don’t know the difference between auto repair and auto body, and the statistic could be applying to both.
While insurers reimburse at least 70 percent of auto body business, general mechanical labor is predominantly out-of-pocket by the motorist. This could be why AAA focused its study on the auto repair side of the industry specifically, versus both auto repair and auto body.
AAA said the reasons for the mistrust broke down like this:
- 76 percent: recommending unnecessary service
- 73 percent- overcharging
- 63 percent- negative past experiences
- 49 percent- concerns that the work will not be done correctly
Despite those negative statistics, the study also found that 64 percent of U.S. drivers have singled out an auto repair shop they actually do trust. So what can repair shop owners do to change that relationship? Below we’ve listed out a few ways to begin rebuilding trust:
- Know your current customers and where to find new ones.
According to AAA, baby boomers are twice as likely than younger generations to fully trust auto repair facilities in general, with one-in-five reporting they “totally trust the industry.” When you break it down statistically, 76 percent of Baby Boomers have selected an auto repair shop they trust, versus just 55 percent of Millennials and 56 percent of Gen-Xers.
It’s crucial for shop owners to continue to invest in their older, loyal customer base. However, they must also be willing to branch out into social media and review-based platforms to connect with younger customers. Word of mouth is no longer enough. Millennials and Gen-Xers want to find their businesses where they spend most of their time—on the Internet.
- Join a review platform and urge customers to leave feedback.
With the level of mistrust found in relationships between driver and auto repair shops, it’s imperative that shops have a presence on a review platform. With com, each review is validated with a repair order, making it impossible for fake reviews to spam your account.
These validated reviews give peace of mind to both the business owner and the driver. They know they are reading real reviews from real people, and can then make an educated decision on where to take their vehicle. With 78 percent of customers turning to a review site to find a business, this is a step that cannot be overlooked.
- Be mindful of your digital presence throughout the Web.
While managing your reputation by joining a review platform is a great first step, your reputation can be made or broken in other areas of the web, too. Making sure you’re aware of what is being said about your business all over the Internet is a must.
Take Yelp, for example. A recent poll on Repairer Driven News found that most auto body shop owners either looked at their Yelp page just “once in a while” or never at all. Whether you’re allowing positive feedback to go unnoticed, or negative feedback, whether true or false, to start gaining traction, you’re only hurting your business by not paying attention to what’s being said about you online.
With so much information at customers’ fingertips, it is easier than ever for them to decide what shops can and cannot be trusted, and where to take their business. In order to begin repairing the relationship between customer and shop owners, the industry leaders must begin to invest in their online reputation, and provide peace of mind to their current and potential customer base.
Do the names John and Jen Palmer sound familiar? If they don’t already, you’re about to take notice. This Utah-based couple is the reason President Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 into law earlier this month.
The story begins in 2008. John purchased an item for his wife, Jen, from an online company called KlearGear. After the product never arrived, and after numerous failed attempts to work it out with their customer service department, the Palmer’s posted a negative review online about the company.
Fast-forward four years, and the Palmers were being harassed by KlearGear to remove the review, saying it went against the ‘non-disparagement’ clause in their terms of service. If they didn’t comply, they’d be hit with a $3,500 fine.
The couple refused, and a few months later noticed that the fine had been passed on to a collection agency, and their credit had taken a major hit. With the help of Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group, the Palmers won a default judgment in federal court and had their credit restored.
This KlearGear case attracted significant media coverage, and led to legislators around the country to take action. California led the charge by outlawing non-disparaging clauses back in 2014.
President Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act into law on December 14th, and it states that a contract is void if it “prohibits or restricts an individual who is a party to such a contract from engaging in written, oral, or pictorial reviews, or other similar performance assessments of analyses of, including by electronic means, the goods, services, or conduct of a person that is also a party to the contract.”
While this law sets out to protect the consumer, other online-based companies are doing their part to ensure the brands are protected, as well. For example, online marketplace Amazon has placed a limit on the number of reviews shopper can leave on the site.
In an effort to put an end to false feedback, individuals can now only write five reviews a week for items they did not purchase on Amazon. The new rule is meant to make it very difficult for people who are trying to make money by selling fake reviews.
When it comes to fake reviews, both brands and consumers are to blame. Kellogg’s was the latest brand to be ousted for using individuals to promote their brands on social media and review sites. Referred to as the “Breakfast Council,” the group included nutritionists and other experts who received an average of $13,000 a year to “review Kellogg’s products, post favorable reviews on social media, and use ‘talking points’ provided by the company in their reviews.”
So where does this leave brands and consumers? With 84 percent of online customers trusting online reviews, it’s imperative that brands pay attention to their online reputation. It’s also crucial that reviews be verified, as they are on GarageFly.com, to ensure that the individuals leaving the review have actually received the service or product.
The new law, as well as changes made by large online companies, is just the latest in the story of online reviews. What we do know is that they are here to stay, and new regulations must be made to ensure both brands and consumers are protected and receiving accurate information.
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