What to do if your collision repair shop gets a bad online review

collision repair marketing

With more and more customers turning to the internet these days to research where to take their business, the opportunities for marketing your collision repair shop online can really pay off.  One of the few times the web can be detrimental for your business, however, is when someone posts a nasty review of your shop.  You could be the best auto body shop in your state and there’s still a chance you might inadvertently anger a customer who might then choose to voice his or her frustrations online.  Much to your horror, those damaging words might echo over and over in your mind, as well as for who-knows-how-many years on the internet (forever?).

Some auto body shop owners turn to places like Profile Defenders, RemoveMyName.com, and other online reputation management firms when they find a bad review, which could be very expensive, as well as ineffective (see The Wall Street Journal article “Hoping to Fix Bad Reviews?  Not So Fast.”).  Before you try that, here’s what we recommend you do if you get a bad online review:

collision repair marketing

See it as an opportunity.
Instead of freaking out and trying to hide from a bad review, use it as an opportunity for customer engagement.  If you can, respond to the customer as kindly as possible.  Try to relate to the person’s experience and determine what you can do to remedy the situation.  Whatever you do, don’t appear defensive or angry in your response, since that will only further cloud your reputation.  Instead, offer a sincere apology and invite the customer back for a refund, a free repair, a premium detail, or something else your shop is able to provide.  When a business responds swiftly and earnestly to negative feedback online, it demonstrates that you’re a collision repair shop with strong customer service skills, as well as classiness.

Begin a campaign for more online feedback.
If you’re concerned that your negative online review will overshadow any of the good feedback you’ve received, begin a campaign to invite more feedback from your customers.  Since it’s often the really disgruntled customers who take to the internet to voice their frustrations, instead of the happy ones, you’ll need to work a little harder to encourage your pleased customers to put in a good word for you.  Send an eblast with links to places like Yelp, Google, and Angie’s List, asking your customers for their feedback.  Have call-to-action buttons on your website requesting the same thing. 

Feature positive reviews on your website.
Instead of having people hunt for reviews of your shop online, direct them to a dedicated testimonials section on your website.  Ask your happy customers if you can feature their feedback on your page and even include photos of them and their repaired vehicles, if you can.

collision repair marketing

Reflect on what you might be doing wrong.
If you find that your shop is getting a ton of bad online reviews, then it might be time to review your business practices.  Are you really providing the best customer service you can?  Are your technicians doing excellent repair work?  If you have some aspects of your business that are in need of improvement, at least these negative reviews can help you determine where to start. 

Do you have questions about collision repair marketing strategies?
At Stratosphere Studio, we are an agency that specializes in marketing for car dealerships, auto body shops, and car repair shops.  We would be happy to answer any questions you might have and can provide you with marketing strategies to help your collision repair shop succeed!     


  1. John A.

    I have been trying to get customers to leave me feedback online. They give us great written reviews that I publish on my website but getting them to transition to digital reviews has been tough for us. Any suggestions?

  2. Tom Zoebelein

    Hi John! That’s a great question. One tactic that has worked for us is to create a comment submission form on our website, inviting feedback from customers. Another thing we’ve done is to post a button on our website, inviting people to post their reviews directly on Google. You could also send an email to each customer after their repair is completed, inviting them to submit feedback. Include a link to a very brief survey that includes a box for free-form comments.

    We hope this helps. If you have any other questions or want to talk in greater detail, feel free to give us a call (410.459.7022) or send us an email (info@stratospherestudio.com) anytime!

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