You want to join a driving school, but you are unsure about which is the best? It is normal. After all, every driving school around you is probably saying the same things: we are the best driving school, we have the best instructors, most of our students pass the road test, etc.
The Power of Online Reviews
One easy way to learn something (behavior, etc.) about some stranger you plan to meet is to ask about him from people who have met him or at least know something about him. You can then form a mental picture of the person and decide if meeting him is worth the effort and time.
The same applies to brands; you can only learn more about them from the customers who have used them. It is all about the experience, to sum it up. Once you use a particular brand’s product or service, you can then join the bandwagon of those with something to say about the brand.
Interestingly, potential customers tend to trust what other customers have to say about a brand than what the brand says about itself. That’s how powerful or influential these customer opinions are.
These opinions, complaints, likes, unlikes, praises, views, or recommendations are generally called customer reviews in the business world. If you have bought a product on Amazon, you have no doubt been requested to leave a review after using the product.
Here is a quick one: according to research by PowerReviews in 2014, up to 97% of potential product or service customers will read 1-10 brand reviews before coming to a final decision to purchase. Sadly, 85% of these potential customers are especially keen on negative reviews.
The same research found that 42% of product or service consumers wrote reviews on them. This has jumped to 50% today.
You can bank on reviews to get a good idea about a brand. A driving school worth its name should have some past students with one or two things to say about it. One place you can get these reviews is on the Google My Business Page.
Things to Focus On In A Driving School Online Reviews
So which are the seven critical things to look for in a driving school’s online reviews?
1. The Name Of The Instructors
It is not unusual to find an overexcited driving school reviewer going as far as mentioning a particular instructor’s name and demeanor. Something like “I especially Mr. Peter; he was much helpful…he was patient with me. I passed my test the first time, thanks to his tips.”
If you plan to join the same driving school as this fellow, you may want to be taught by this Mr. Peter if you notice several reviewers keep mentioning him as one of the best teachers.
2. Instructors’ Competence
You are as good as your teacher. People want to be like their role models. Much of the kind of driver you will become may depend on which driving school you attended. That is why it is crucial that only experienced, and highly-qualified instructors teach you.
An ideal driving school teacher should be punctual, patient, friendly, and informed. You want to be taught by someone who inspires you to be a better person than you are. You have probably heard some successful CEO say that she learned self-discipline from her high school teacher.
As you read the reviews, pay attention to the kind of teachers you are likely to meet there. If you feel most are incompetent, unfriendly, rude, impatient with slow learners, it is best you get another school.
3. Success Rate
The teachers may be friendly, but then you notice that many of the reviewers end up saying, “I did not pass the road test on the first try, but I sure like that driving school.” If many learners are not passing the test, the good teachers are not doing something right, so you should be concerned.
When you notice that many learners have had to repeat the test even up to four times to get a pass, your chances of passing on the first try are slim.
4. The School Fee
Some businesses unreasonably overcharge. There are hidden charges here and there so that by the time you are done with them, you have spent much more than you budgeted or bargained for.
Since reviewers are free to say anything they feel about any driving school, it will not take you long to come across reviewers complaining about the school’s driving cost.
You can compare the cost with other driving schools you know to decide which one is pocket-friendly. But as you make your price comparison, never overlook other factors we have discussed. Cheap could be expensive in the long run. Strike the right balance between affordable or inexpensive school and competency, success rate, etc.
5. Outstanding Services
Each driving school has something special about it. It could be the high success rate, good reputation, friendly instructors, serene learning environment, or nice cars.
You have to decide which of a driving school’s outstanding services means a lot to you. Do you value friendly teachers over an inflexible learning schedule? Have an eye on which services the customers praise more and see how these can benefit you.
6. The General Tone of the Reviews
Reviews should be a mixture of positive and negative feelings. You had better be suspicious of any one-sided review page. That said, you should be able to tell the general tone of the reviews after digging through the positive and negative feedback. If most reviews tend to lean on the negative side, with only a star or two for each review, it is safe to conclude that quakes, not qualified instructors, run the driving school.
However, you should take some negative reviews with a pinch of salt. It s not uncommon for a lazy, disinterested, and hard-to-teach learner to later turn around (after failing the road test) to trash the good teachers, school, cars, classes, and anything else associated with the school. He is blaming anyone and anything but himself.
Such kind of people exists in every industry, so this is not unique to driving schools. They do not follow the company’s terms and conditions, thus they fail to benefit from the service.
On the other hand, could be business competitors out to sabotage the company. Such unscrupulous or unprincipled business rivals would recruit moles to attend a driving school with the single aim to give it extremely negative reviews regardless of the experience.
It helps if you read the replies by the service provider to each complaint to judge who is on the wrong.
7. The Volume of the Reviews
A driving school with only ten reviews in the review section may not give you that accurate picture you need. It helps if the quantity of reviews runs into hundreds or 1000+.
More reviews simply mean more learners have attended the school. That alone is a sign that many learners prefer the school.
Wrapping It Up
Having read several reviews to arrive at a decision, you should also always take the time to write a review yourself to help those coming after you also make the right decisions.
Remember, each brand changes over time, so an up-to-date review is more accurate than an old one. You should provide your review because it is the most recent experience that many potential customers await.
Again, the whole point is to help others form the right picture. At Pierre Paul Driving School, we have our Google My Business review section where you can leave your honest feedback, or read what our customers have to say.