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Online Review Response
Posted to Shop Management Forum on 4/7/2016 35 Replies


I received an email from a client asking for my thoughts regarding a negative online review. Following is a brief account of the situation, followed by a draft of what I thought would be a good reply to the review, as well as my rationale for posting a reply. Curious as to your thoughts.

BACKGROUND… The first experience with this customer involved a request to have his own parts installed. This is not something this shop normally does, but for various reasons as an act of kindness the shop owner decided to help the guy out. In so doing he made it clear that he's going against SOP and that this was a ONE TIME deal. The customer reportedly left happy. A week later he came back wanting more work done with his own parts. The owner declined. The customer asked how much the shop would sell the parts for. He apparently didn't like the price and left. A short time later this review was posted online:

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Nice people, but unfair pricing. I get that any small auto repair facility needs to "mark up" the parts they order but these fools mark them up at more than double what they paid. That's not a matk up it's highway robbery when you can get the same exact part at gmpartsdirect for less than half of what these scam artists pay

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My client asked my opinion regarding the following: Should I contact the customer to see if he can be reasoned with and convinced to pull the review? Should I post a reply to the review? Should I just ignore it and chalk it up to knowing that we can't please everyone every time?

HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS, which I shared with my client: First, I didn't think contacting the customer and trying to reason with him was prudent. By the customer not listening or choosing to ignore what he was told originally about the installation of his own parts being a one-time deal, he has demonstrated that he only hears what he wants to hear. I put this question to my client: How far are you willing to go in pleading with him to remove the review?

Next, I stated that I thought there would be little to be concerned about if he chose to ignore the review. I stated that (to me) the guy sounds like one of those 'the world is out to get me' types. I further stated that any time I see name calling in a review ("fools" and "scam artists") it loses credibility with me because name calling is emotional and petty and is simply a way to make one's own self look good by making the other person look bad.

However, I suggested that this review is actually an opportunity to explain how it's in the best interest of all motorists to allow the service facility provide the parts. Here's the draft of what I suggested as a reply:

Everyone wants a good deal. No one wants to pay more than they should. We certainly get that, after all we are consumers too. But let's put things in proper perspective. First, there are indeed sources where you can buy parts at discount prices, and for those doing their own work, that may be an okay option. HOWEVER, as a professional automotive service and repair business, that option is not right for us. Why? For starters, our customers tend to demand (and rightfully so) that we provide a warranty - labor AND parts. Therefore, it's important that we buy parts of high quality from a vendor we can trust. Second, it's important to buy parts from a vendor with whom we have a relationship, that shares our values with respect to quality and customer satisfaction, and will promptly provide us with replacements parts, without jumping through hoops, should the need arise. Does this mean sometimes paying a little more? Yes, but we believe that in terms of the OVERALL VALUE it is well worth it. Fortunately most of our customers understand and appreciate this.

I haven't heard yet what the shop has elected to do. Perhaps others here have some thoughts.


Mark from Michigan

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