What do you do when your vehicle needs repair and you aren’t near your mechanic? Or you don’t have a mechanic? Who can you trust not to overcharge? How do you know if a business is trustworthy and competent? Would you feel better with a personal recommendation?
That is what online reviews are: personal recommendations by people just like you or me. The more reviews you can read, the better feel you can get for who to hire, where to shop, and what to do – especially in an emergency or when traveling in unfamiliar areas. Here’s how you can do that anywhere, any time…
A friend of mine’s pickup broke down just as she pulled into the parking garage at work. Lucky for her she was having difficulty finding a tow truck that could move it. Her plan was to tow it back to her mechanic – a tow that would have cost her at least $150 on top of what the repair would cost!
She was afraid that a mechanic she did not know might take advantage of her. I happened to call while she was still calling tow services. I immediately suggested we use Local Listings to locate a trustworthy mobile mechanic.
Any time you need to find a new business – whether that is a restaurant, Bed & Breakfast, auto parts store, drugstore, or – in this case, a mechanic – remember this simple method.
- Go to your favorite Local Listing site – I used Yahoo! Local because it currently usually has the most reviews
- Type in the type of business you’re seeking – in this case I used “Mobile Mechanic”
- Type in the location of the desired business – she was in Dallas, many miles from her home
- When the results come up click on the link for Sorted by: highest rated
- Today, Simon’s Auto Repair has the top spot for Mobile Mechanics in Dallas – even though he is actually over 23 miles away from downtown Dallas. (Yahoo! Local allows the user to reduce or increase the distance from which they want to pull results.)
Here is a screen capture for my Yahoo! Local search for my Mobile Mechanics in Dallas, TX sorted by highest rated:
See the red stars? Anyone with a free Yahoo ID can choose the number of stars and/or add a review. Notice that for some searches, only three good reviews can place your business on top for highest rated. Every good business can benefit from making sure they are listed on Local Listing Web sites such as Yahoo! Local and Google Maps.
According to a Nielsen Survey over 86% of people use the Internet now! Every business should assist the public by ensuring they are listed in the major Local Listing sites and databases.
Fortunately for my friend, several people had taken the time to post detailed reviews for Simon’s Auto Repair. His listing came up first, the reviews were detailed and obviously from actual customers, and after speaking with Simon on the phone I knew I had found a very knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful mechanic I could confidently recommend to my friend.
He got her truck fixed in less than an hour for less than her own mechanic would have charged. He also gave her an amazing one-year parts and labor warranty on the alternator replacement – something almost unheard of for electrical parts like alternators.
She was thrilled to save at least $150 on a tow, avoid the hassle of getting a ride home and back to work the next day and was able to drive her own truck home when she got off work. Everyone she worked with wanted his card. Not only can a mobile mechanic help you in an emergency – they can do routine maintenance, oil changes, tune-ups and repairs while you’re home or at work.
If you haven’t used Yahoo! Local I highly recommend it. I use it all the time to quickly look up the phone number, address, hours, and much more on businesses I already patronize. Even better, I can easily find new businesses I can trust including:
- Restaurants – especially one-of-a-kind types – with great food and reasonable prices
- Bed & Breakfasts when traveling (why stay in a hotel when you can have a private bed and bath in a B&B for less?)
- Auto Parts stores – Ever need some oil or windshield wipers while traveling?
- Hardware stores – Did you know small town hardware stores carry those hard-to-find items and often at really low prices (because their stock doesn’t get replaced as quickly as the big chain stores). Isn’t it annoying that stores that sell hardware frequently do not stock the bulbs, blades, or other replacement items. You’d be amazed at how much can fit into those small hardware stores – and how much easier it is to get assistance from someone who actually knows their stock and how to use it.
The very best type of advertising is a word-of-mouth recommendation; however, they’re not consistently available. Someone can only recommend you to friends they know who ask them or let them know what they’re seeking.
Reviews are a much faster way to grow a business because they are personal recommendations available to everyone online at the exact time they are actively searching for you.
USER GENERATED REVIEW CONTENT:
- BazaarVoice Word of Mouth Marketing Company: Review CaseStudies on how reviews increase conversions, sales and leads
- UK Reviewer Intent Survey Summary: Understanding Why UK Customers Write Reviews
- User Generated Content Research Brief: Retailer’s Perceptions of the Importance of User Generated Content
WORD OF MOUTH STATISTICS:
- BazaarVoice Power of Word of Mouth
Social Media Marketing White Papers and Research:
- CMOs Plan for Higher Social Media Measurability in 2010
- Get Them Talking: How Growing Participation Chains Will Grow Sales
- Maximize User Generated Content (UGC) For Search Results Across the Sales Funnel
[Originally published Nov 12, 2008; updated 5/12/2016. ]