Online Marketing Program FAQs
What is SEO?
Short Answer: SEO is all the different strategies that go into getting your website found when someone is searching for auto service near you. It's helping your shop get found on a search engine like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., ahead of any other shops.
Long Answer: SEO means "Search Engine Optimization." It has to do with a lot of very complicated and ever-changing algorithms that search engine companies (like Google, Yahoo and Bing) use to decide which websites get put on the front page of an Internet search. Every business wants its website to show up on the first page when some customer is looking online to find whatever it is that company offers. SEO refers to the efforts being made by those companies/marketers to meet the various criteria set forth by the search engine companies in order for a website to get prioritized and put on the front page. Bottom line, SEO is trying to make your website show up first or dang near first when someone is looking for auto service near you.
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Why would a shop want to use Social Media?
Short Answer: Put bluntly, it's because social media is where the people are. Everyone knows that the best advertising is "word of mouth" advertising. Well, social media is the cosmic-ultra-mega version of word of mouth.
Long Answer: Participating in social media allows a shop to participate in the "conversation" that is going on online. That conversation is going to happen with or without you. We think it's better to be a part of it, to know what's going on and have a hand in your shop's reputation. As a side benefit, you can really establish your shop's "personality." People get to know you; you can establish yourself as a legitimate expert. This is particularly powerful for independent shops where there is often an owner on hand who truly shapes the ethics and attitude of the shop.
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Why would I want customer reviews?
Short Answer: Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing like customer reviews, so they direct people searching for information about businesses like yours to websites that feature customer reviews. Customer reviews can help you get new customers.
Long Answer: The reality of marketing in the modern world is that we are in a "review economy." People use the Internet to find products and services. When using the Internet to search, you have to use a search engine. Search engines have figured out that every company has a website and that every company website says the same thing: "Hey, we are awesome, buy ours." So, the search engine providers discovered that consumers looking to make a purchase often looked for customer reviews to help them with their decision. Customer reviews provide consumers with information that can help validate (or not) a company's website claims. In response to that reality, the search engine companies have begun giving preference to sites with legitimate customer reviews as part of how they determine what's going to show up on the front page of a search. It's not the whole of it by any means, but it's important. Important enough not to ignore.
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Why would I want to let a bad review stand?
Short Answer: Because consumers using the Internet are smart. A company that has all good reviews and no bad ones seems suspicious. Everyone knows every company sometimes gets customer complaints. A few bad reviews mixed in amongst your good ones can actually be good for your business. They show you aren't hiding from anything. In fact, a bad review gives you the ability to show how well you handle complaints.
Long Answer: Search engines are being used to find businesses like yours. They give customer review sites some preference as part of their search algorithms. However, they only give preference to review sites that are legitimate. That means if a site is weeding out the bad reviews, it's not legitimate because consumers who go to the site to learn about the quality of a product or service are not getting good information; they're getting filtered information—garbage. If you are looking for a restaurant, do you want to see a list of reviews that filters out all the references to rats and food poisoning? So, for your reviews to mean anything 1) to the customer, and 2) to the search engines, they have to be real, which means including bad reviews. Customers are smart too. If they see a stack of a hundred five-star reviews, they'll never buy it. It's obviously not true. Not because your shop can't do really amazing work, but because people using search engines know how some customers are. So do you. Some customers will just never be satisfied. Ever. So, let the bad reviews go. Fix them if you can, but don't worry about them. You'll have way more good than bad anyway. And if you don't, well, then, you probably needed to hear it. « Return to FAQ List
What do I do if I get a bad review?
Short Answer: Click on "Add your comments" below the review. Leave a comment promising to contact the customer right away. Contact the customer. Resolve the issue, and then ask the customer if they will submit a new review. Send them a new review request by clicking the button next to the original review. The old and new reviews, along with your comments, will all publish together, showing how well your shop handles problems.
Long Answer: Same as above. We would like to add: don't panic. There are some very big advantages to a negative review. For starters, you will know if someone is unhappy—many customers never complain; they just don't come back. But with this program, you have a chance to find out. So, if you get a bad review, you also get an opportunity to make it right and keep them as a customer. You can call them, handle it and then get them to submit a new review. Doing so not only keeps that customer, it provides marketing power too.
The power of showing a would-be customer how professionally you handle complaints is greater than a stack of positive reviews with no negative ones at all. Consumers are savvy; they won't believe it if a shop has nothing but perfect reviews. That's not realistic. Nobody satisfies every single customer on the first visit, every time. No one. Period. Beyond that, it's important to keep bad reviews in perspective. If you get one, remember that it's ONE review. Don't dwell on it. Just move on. As new reviews come in, they will push a bad review down the list anyway. Most Internet shoppers aren't going to read more than a few reviews as it is, so time buries bad reviews.
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What is arbitration and how does it work?
Arbitration is the process by which a shop can try to get a wrong or false review removed. If communicating with the customer hasn't worked and the shop really feels the review is inaccurate or unfair, they can appeal to have the review removed. CustomerLink has engaged the company Arb.net to do arbitration for us. When asked, Arb.net will review the complaint, contact the customer and the shop independently and, through the process of mediation, come to a decision regarding the review. If Arb.net determines that the review is a matter of opinion that reflects the customer's experience as he or she sees it, then the review (which is an opinion, if you think about it) will stand. However, if Arb.net determines that the review is false (or if the customer does not participate or respond), they will certify the review as erroneous, and we will pull it down. The shop pays arbitration costs. « Return to FAQ List
What if someone writes a bad review to be a jerk?
Short Answer: This should not be a real problem because our program sends emails asking for reviews only to people that have actually been to your shop. If there is profanity, threatening language, racial or ethnic epithets, personal information or irrelevant content like spam or links to other sites, you can have the review removed by calling your Account Manager (or anyone at CustomerLink, really), and we will get that review removed.
Long Answer: Post a response as you would any complaint, promising to call the customer right away. If after contacting the customer you determine it is not a legitimate customer, you can either go through arbitration to remove it (which may cost little to nothing if there is no work to really be done), or you can just ignore it. Intelligent consumers recognize that sort of comment for what it is and typically pay it little attention. If there is profanity, threatening language, racial or ethnic epithets, personal information about you or anyone working at your shop, or if the review is a sales pitch with links or spam, you don't need arbitration. Reviews with those particular issues will be pulled down by CustomerLink; all you need to do is call. « Return to FAQ List
What's the value of Facebook and Twitter?
You have customers who are on Facebook and Twitter. They have friends who live near you who could also be your customers someday. If you become part of the Facebook and/or Twitter universe that your existing customers are in, you have a much better chance of becoming part of the universe their friends and family are in. That means more business for you. « Return to FAQ List
What am I supposed to do with my Facebook and Twitter accounts?
Short Answer: Use them to promote your shop. Share interesting events or thoughts about auto service and your business with your customers.
Long Answer: As much or as little as you want. Once your program is up and running, we'll automatically push content to your Facebook and Twitter accounts for you. Every week one of your best reviews will be sent to your Facebook "wall" and Twitter feed. Coupons and offers will also appear. So, your pages will always have fresh, interesting content. However, if you want to participate, you are encouraged to. Almost anything honest and genuine is a good idea. Some shops talk about store news, like "Hey, our alignment tech Larry and his wife Karen had a baby yesterday! Little Susie, 8 lbs., 7 oz." Stuff like that goes over great with consumers and shows them that you are a real human being, not "the evil mechanic trying to rip them off" that the media has painted the automotive repair industry to be. Other things that work are conversations about interests. If you are an old car enthusiast, share pictures of your car. Promote the race your shop's racecar is in this weekend. Heck, you can talk about the new equipment you just bought for your shop. Just be real. By being yourself and occasionally dropping in a "Hey, the next three people who reply to this post get a free oil change" on a slow Tuesday, you will begin to discover the power of social media.
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What's the difference between a Facebook profile and a Facebook page?
Short Answer: In many ways, they look the same, but a Facebook profile is intended for individual people, not businesses. A Facebook page is used for businesses (or organizations, clubs, products, etc.).
Long Answer: Facebook built the profile as something to be used by individuals. The page is meant to be used by businesses, artists, clubs, products and professionals. The problem is that the terms are confusing for many people. Many users casually refer to their personal Facebook account as their "Facebook page." Calling it that is understandable. However, technically that is not what it is called.
The reason the terms matter really only comes into play when creating a page on Facebook for your company. Facebook has terms of service that require companies to use the page format for their business. This has to do with keeping the social/personal appeal of Facebook separate from the commercial/advertising side. It's likely due to their not wanting to ruin the brand they have created in the personal space online. So, they have made pages for businesses, which have some differences from personal profiles. Profiles accumulate "friends," while pages collect "likes." A person using a profile can become the "friend" of another personal profile. A person using a profile can "like" a business page. A business using a page can "like" another business' page. However, a business using a page cannot become the "friend" of someone's personal profile. While there are other differences, those are the ones most folks usually want to understand at first.
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Which did CustomerLink build for my shop—a Facebook page or a profile?
We built your shop a page. You can post on it through WebLink and it will appear as though it's coming from your shop, not from your personal profile. If you do not have a personal profile, that is okay; having one is not necessary. « Return to FAQ List
What communications will I receive from CustomerLink once I begin the Online Marketing Program?
You will receive a weekly summary report that highlights how your program is working. You will also receive a notification any time your shop receives a negative review of two stars or less. You have the option of changing that setting to three stars or one star, etc.
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