We recently received a question from a repair shop client wondering how to organically encourage their customers to recommend them to their friends.
You know how you often see posts on Facebook where people are asking for recommendations?
‘How do you get your customers to comment and recommend you?’
Well, let’s start here: customer service.
Are you offering extraordinary service? Do you communicate in a caring way so that your customers KNOW you are listening and care? Do you do things differently?
Most people only write a review when you’ve been over-the-top amazing or you really really suck! Sorry, but it’s true. Middle-of-the-road just won’t create “Raving Fans”.
To cause your customer to slow-their-scroll and take their time to comment and recommend your company – you better be EXCELLENT. Just being “good” or “ok” will not cause a Raving Fan to stop what they’re doing and comment to recommend you.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that’s the fact we face today. The days of being mediocre, staying top of mind and organically getting your customers to talk about you are gone. You need to be special.
So tip #1 is to ensure that your customer’s journey with you from beginning to end is great.
- how your marketing speaks to them
- how you answer the phone
- how you answer questions
- your tone of voice
- whether you stick to your promises of
- when their vehicle will be ready
- the cost of the repair/service
- fixing the problem right the first time
- whether or not you leave their vehicle better than you found it
- if you follow up with them after they left
- whether or not you thank them
- if you ask for a review
For customers to naturally want to recommend you it will always start with how you treated them.
Now that you are confident in your customer service processes delivering a well-deserved recommendation from your customers, let’s look at your customers and their community. Are they even involved in or educated about these popular Facebook groups where recommendations often occur?
Consider educating your customers. Include this in your conversations with them. Consider sharing the popular local community Facebook groups on your Facebook page – or even possibly spotlighting a group in your email campaign.
Finally, let’s talk about how to make “the ask” a part of your every day communication. We find that often it comes down to the service advisor or technician just not having the words or the way to ask. Here are some triggers to help you make it feel more comfortable asking.
When you’re having a conversation with your customer, make it part of your friendly conversation to just ask “are there any favorite local Facebook groups you enjoy being a part of?”, “We’d love to get more involved in local Facebook groups – are there any you are in that you would recommend?”.
There are times when you may want to consider incentivizing customers for their reviews – or recommendations. I know, I know. Some say that’s a shady way of doing business. But, is it really? It is definitely looked down upon by many, BUT I think it is all in HOW you do it. Don’t be weird about it, folks. Be real. Be authentic. Be kind.
It could be a simple as:
- Offer a perk for their “check-in” on Facebook. The “perk” could be a free emergency kit, a car wash from a local business, or a free ice cream coupon from a favorite local ice cream shop. They just check-in and show you their post. This isn’t even an actual “review” BUT by them showing their Facebook friends that they’re at your place – by default that’s a recommendation. Don’t even promote this in email or on your social sites – simply mention it during vehicle drop-off. “Hey, Ms. Sarah, we’re offering a Raving Fan discount to our customers who check-in on Facebook. Would you like to do that? Just show me your check-in post and I’ll apply the discount today.” Or just have a little sign in the lobby so that while they’re waiting they can check-in then show you.
- Work with a specific non-profit. Maybe your favorite non-profit of your choice and every time a new review comes in – you make a donation to XYZ Non-Profit. Tell the non-profit what you’re doing. Maybe a different one each month/quarter? You do not want people to write reviews just for the sake of writing a review to get a donation – no, I am talking about real customers. This could encourage the nonprofit employees/board, etc to become customers as well! Think “partnerships” that are mutually beneficial, helpful and serve the community in a more positive way.
- Free content for reviews. It’s possible that maybe you have customers who would enjoy a free magazine subscription, or a PDF you create with incredibly helpful information. So when a customer leaves a review, they receive content they’re really interested in.
- How about free publicity? Do you have customers who would love their review to be shared publicly? Maybe they’re a business owner, too and could really use some public kudos? Consider sharing their review and providing a link to their Facebook or Instagram profile or website link in your post. Maybe you’re working with some other businesses who would really appreciate that.
- Leaving a review could enter your customers into a monthly contest to win back the cost of their ticket? Or to win a Yeti cooler? Or to win dinner + movie tickets out on the town? Or… fill_in_the_blank.
Think of other ways such as this one where you can give something in return for getting something. Facebook + Google are not fans of incentivizing so you don’t want to go against their guidelines – their disciplinary actions are not any you want to face. It’s not worth it.
So, be creative, be fun, be friendly.
Reviews are not the ONLY thing though – there’s straight up recommendations to friends. Whether it’s in person, in a text, commenting on a Facebook post or in a group there are multiple ways for your customers to share you with their friends.
They don’t know how important recommendations are until you tell them. Not everyone thinks like a business owner. So it’s time to be transparent, be real and share how much a recommendation and/or review means to you.
You want to promote Raving Fan status and to do that it can start with actually reading a book I love – a lot. Years ago I read the book Raving Fans – A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service and it totally changed the way I thought about customer service. So much so that we changed the way we thought and did things. Allow the message of this book to soak deep into your soul so much so that it changes the way you and your staff do things. You think about customer service at every step and it becomes such a part of your culture that customers are thinking about you all the time instead of only when they need you.
That’s what you want! You want to be such a part of your customer’s life that when someone posts in a Facebook group and says “Looking for _________” that they slow their scroll. They back up. They happily leave a comment recommending YOU!
I truly hope that this helps you in some way. We all want people to think and share positively about us but getting them to do so is often difficult. It doesn’t have to be. We are all so busy and move right from task to task finding that we often miss the human element of interaction.
Talking and engaging with your customers leaves them with a feeling of joy and positivity. That’s how you create customers who find pleasure in talking about you to their friends. We’d love to hear how it’s going for you. Drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you have put any of these strategies into place. Good luck, friends!
About The Author
In addition to being co-owner of Shop Marketing Pros, Kim is a Master Certified Solution Provider with Constant Contact and a StoryBrand Certified Guide. Kim is a past shop owner and has served as President of ASA North Carolina.