Finding the right shop might require some phone calls and online pictures & reviews can be different than reality.
Hi there fellow internet searchers. Allow me to take the wheel again for a minute while I whine just a little bit.
I have been busy since the tornado disaster working toward getting business back to "normal" again. This includes a rebuild of our web site, making phone calls, sending out post cards, using social media, and sending emails to new and existing clients. I have been reevaluating and learning how to advertise and market with the demise of yellow pages and rise of internet searching. Wow! What a tangled web we've weaved. It used to be that if you did good work, had fair prices, were clean, was pleasant and helpful, and had good warranties then word of mouth along with some yellow page ads assured you of enough business. Things seem to have changed somewhat. While an online "community" with its opinions and information sounds good, its connection to reality can vary.
I have come to realize that my previous position toward online reviews has hurt us. I always resisted aggressive demands for reviews and took a 100% organic approach to them. Now I see several Johnny Come Lately shops with amazing numbers of reviews and incredible 5 Star ratings with almost no complaints dominating search engines. If it appears that I am skeptical because of my sarcasm you are indeed reading me correctly. I have been in the auto repair business since I was 17 years old. No matter how perfectly one executes an auto repair business there is no way to bat 100%. How happy am I going to be when the car has broken and expensive things I previously never knew existed are inconveniencing me and draining my bank account? Some folks are almost too reasonable and others completely unreasonable. Web site advertising shows staged pictures that are like someones wedding day where everyone has dressed up in their best duds and is on their best behavior. That may or may not represent the actual day to day appearance and behavior. This applies equally to me and everyone else!
Shops that have the most training, best diagnostic and repair equipment, and the most quality information resources typically get referred the most difficult and expensive types of diagnostics and repairs. It stands to reason that those services are fraught with difficulty and the potential for problems and misunderstanding are greatest. Also the more expensive repairs are, the more unrealistic expectations ensue. We in the auto repair industry joke all the time about the "ever since ya did _____ now it does _____" scenario that plays out all the time.
Am I saying online reviews are useless? NO! They can be a decent starting point to narrow down a search somewhat. Realize that while companies hosting reviews seem to try to make their reviews reliable they have been and are being manipulated by sellers to gain buyers all the time. I also recommend calling and talking to friends and neighbors, parts stores, and the potential repair shops themselves to get real world input for your shop selection. While Twitter size soundbites make for mildly entertaining reading they are hardly sufficient for large, complex, expensive, services with many moving parts (so to speak).
Also, before I give the wheel back to you, I ask that you ponder carefully before you post a negative review of a business. Consider the number of people effected and the livelihoods represented before throwing out careless words that aren't easily retracted. People have bad days. People make mistakes. People generally try to do the right thing. Perhaps consider establishing a track record with a business before giving an honest review. Try communicating with employees and/or management about your satisfaction not just your unhappiness. My Dad always told me "It's the squeaky wheel that gets greased". I wish that more folks would let us know how good we did as well as would let us know if things didn't go as planned. I try to practice what my mother taught me "If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything". Unless something is a gross misrepresentation, theft, etc.. I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt remembering that not patronizing a business applies a financial penalty.
So, if you are a regular client of a small business, please get out there and give honest reviews. Big businesses are better able to manipulate the system to their advantage so us little guys really need your help to keep up. Smaller family owned companies like us are better able to respond to you quickly and efficiently also! With that I will step out of the drivers seat and let you take over again for awhile. Thanks for your time and safe journeys to you.