Referral Marketing and Business Reputation Move Online in the Auto Repair Industry

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The auto repair industry has always relied on their reputation and referral marketing as the the main source in increasing their customer base. Now that referral marketing and businesses reputation's have moved online, auto mechanics have had to follow suit. The auto shops and mechanics that have learned how to leverage this channel and manage their online reputation are effectively growing their business.

Customers can now discover which auto mechanics they can trust

I'm continually amazed with how much business I get from being found on the internet and as this increases my online reputation has become critical to my shops success

The auto repair industry has always been weighed down with mechanics who try to take advantage of the uneducated customer. From overcharging for simple repairs to replacing parts that are still working there isn’t a scam some of them won’t try. This has caused a high level of customer dissatisfaction and weariness when choosing an auto mechanic. Everybody hates to be taken advantage of, so they develop strategies to try to combat this. There are mainly two ways that customers use to fight a lack of trust. First they take their car to several auto shops and compare the quotes and advice to figure out which ones are giving honest information. The second strategy is to speak with family and friends and find someone who is already using a good mechanic and then go to them. This referral is created by a transfer of trust from someone who already has an established relationship with both parties involved.

Referral business is not a new concept. In fact it’s as old as business itself and has been consistently used as one of the best ways for a business to increase their customer base. How do you get referrals? It’s actually pretty simple. You need to have a good reputation with your customers and then you need to get them to share that information with the people they are connected to.

When speaking with honest auto mechanics it becomes quite clear how valuable their reputation is to them. Most of them spend very little on advertising and are able to get most if not all of their new clients by simply providing a quality service at a reasonable price and having their clients share that information with their friends. Mechanics that try to cheat their customers may gain from the higher profit in the short term, but they are constantly having to find a source of new customers because as soon as a customer realizes they are being deceived they will leave and never come back.

The power of word of mouth has increased astronomically over the last couple of years. In the past, when a customer had a positive experience they would typically tell 5-9 people about it, and when they had a negative experience they would tell 20-30 people. Now with email, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other channels that allow us to connect and distribute messages to our connections most people are capable of telling hundreds to potentially thousands of people within the few minutes that it takes to write a post and click submit.

The internet and social media have revolutionized referral business and brand management. Many companies and even individuals have become popular because they were able to effectively use these channels. There have also been many cases of companies that have destroyed their hard earned reputation with a negative message getting sent around. This is now the new reality of business and it can no longer be ignored. Companies now have to understand how social media affects their brand image and develop strategies to manage their reputation.

The auto repair industry has avoided new technology that is related to marketing. Most of them preferred to rely on word of mouth and their listings in local directories for car repair services like Yellow Pages or Super Pages. Customers started to switch from physical directories and began searching online forcing many small businesses to develop websites and have an internet marketing strategy. While this was happening many businesses in the auto repair industry chose to ignore it. Even today very few mechanics have a properly built and marketed web presence.    

Industry based vertical directories have become quite popular over the last couple of years. Research has shown that 50% of searches will visit a local directory to find a business to use and up to 55% of them will share this information with their friends. The reason customers prefer to use these sites is because of the power of customer reviews. It has been discovered that 70% of people value and trust the reviews that they read online. They use this information to help them decide which business or product they should use.
Websites like have understood the importance of an auto mechanics reputation and have created a platform for them to develop and manage it. Max Kalles one of the founders of believes that this will help to enhance the auto repair industry by giving power to the consumer. Customers will now be able to quickly find local auto mechanics that specialize in fixing their car’s specific problem regardless of make or model. They are able to view each shop’s profile and read reviews so they can choose with confidence. The mechanics that try to cheat their customers will quickly be discovered and other customers will be able to avoid them.

Tom Cowan from Toy Town Motors says “I'm continually amazed with how much business I get from being found on the internet and as this increases my online reputation has become critical to my shops success”.

Like many other industries this is now the new reality for auto mechanics. The auto shops that choose to ignore their online reputation risk the reality that they may have past customers spreading a negative experience about their business. Auto shops that embrace this reality and start to focus on managing and growing their online reputation will be able to reap the benefits as new customers continuously flock to their shop.

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