Google reviews—do they genuinely reflect the standards of your parts suppliers?
"Customers are always right" – we've often heard that longstanding customer service adage. In the words of Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of Selfridge Department Store, "If you give them products or services of good standards, they will be happy to leave a good review." In the case of automotive parts suppliers, however, this statement may not always hold.
Automotive parts are delicate and often need to be precisely matched with the system to which they will be attached. Car components are designed to work for a particular car make or a specific order. In other words, a slight deviation in measurement or gauge will render it useless. This doesn't mean that it is of low quality or that it is defective. However, to a customer, if it doesn't work, then it's not a good buy. Since it does not satisfy his requirements, then the supplier gets a bad review.
So do reviews genuinely reflect the quality of services or products offered by a supplier? In most cases, they do, but you can't discount the fact that some of those Google reviews may not be entirely true.
What exactly are Google reviews?
The Google review system is a feedback mechanism that allows past and present customers to share their experiences with a particular supplier or service provider. The reviews are like windows through which future customers or buyers could look to give them an idea about what the supplier offers and how the said offer is delivered.
A Google review is designed to work both ways—for the buyer and the supplier.
- If a review of a particular supplier is negative, future buyers should be cautious when buying from it. It's not only a reference for prospective buyers; it's also a way for unsatisfied customers to call the attention of the supplier (especially in the case of unresponsive customer service) and have defective parts replaced or refunded.
- If it's positive, it's an endorsement from a customer and a form of free advertisement for the supplier.
Why are good Google reviews critical?
As mentioned, Google reviews can be both good and bad to a supplier. The truly significant thing about Google reviews is that customers actively search for them. Their final decision to buy or not depends heavily on online reviews. Never before have businesses relied on their stars, literally — referring to the leads that summarise their buyers' reviews.
If you're a supplier, you take care of your stars. If you notice it taking a dip, say from 4.8 stars to 3, check out how bad the recent reviews have been and do something about them.
If you're a prospective buyer searching online for suppliers to a particular product, don't merely rely on the summary stars. Read what the negative reviews were all about and how the supplier responded.
How do you use Google reviews?
If you're the buyer:
1. Borrow past buyers' experiences and learn from them.
Reviews are the only way for a customer to get back at the supplier. If their experience were excellent, they'd write at length about how happy they were with the product and the seller. If their experience were disappointing, they'd make sure all future buyers know about it. Reviews reflect what the buyer felt after receiving and testing the product or service. There's a lot to learn from reviews, so take advantage of the information they offer.
2. Take reviews with a grain of salt.
Not all reviews are truthful. In another article, we have shared some tips for spotting fake reviews. Be that as it may, the majority of feedback still come from sincere customers. Don't trust right away a single rabid rant about a supplier when the rest of the reviews tell of their satisfactory experience.
Also, learn to dissect the pieces of information from reviews—whether the dissatisfaction stems from defective products or poor communications and logistics.
If you're the supplier:
1. Turn bad reviews to not-so-bad.
Don't just wait there wishing for a bad review to go away because it will not. There's only one way to reduce its impact—reply to it. Express your regret, acknowledge the issue, and impart that it's as much your concern as it is the buyers. The most important part is taking action. Offer a win-win solution to the customer. It could be a replacement, a refund, or technical assistance. Remember, all eyes (of future customers) would be on you and how you handle an unhappy situation.
A customer who reads the negative review but also reads your reply will take this as an indication of your professionalism when it comes to aftersales issues. Some previously unsatisfied customers may even turn their initial 1-star rating to four or five if you succeed in winning them back.
2. Use reviews to your advantage.
As we've said, positive or negative, a review is always useful. Google reviews are valuable tools if you know how to use them. It's quite simple. It should always be your goal to make every transaction a positive experience for your customer. If it leads to a good review, that's a testimony to your business. It helps to build trust and increase the likelihood of repeat business with that customer.
You don't only gain that customer but also other potential customers who read the review. The reviews will remain and serve as an endorsement of your business by actual customers not only for the short term but for as long as you will be in business.
Why do buyers put so much value on Google reviews?
It's quite simple.
In the automotive industry, Google reviews speak louder and ring more accurate than product descriptions, which are typically written in superlatives. You can expect manufacturers and suppliers to describe their products in the best light possible.
Reviews, on the other hand, are real-life accounts. They offer future buyers a more balanced view of a particular product and its supplier. Prospective buyers would always want to replicate a pleasant buying experience and avoid the opposite. For this reason, Google reviews should not only be read by interested buyers but also by auto parts suppliers if they want to stay in the business longer.