My phone rang at 6:40 this evening as I was eating dinner and I let it go to voicemail. Without even listening to the message, I knew that it was someone I had called earlier in the day by the phone number that was on my screen. I was looking for a new auto mechanic near my house and obviously went to Google and searched for auto repair in Pittsburgh and it came back with a list of results. What I saw was a surprising, if not downright scandalous complaint lodged against a Frank’s Tire and Automotive in Bethel Park which is about 4 miles from my house. Someone had gone to great lengths to let everyone know that this particular auto and tire shop was the “scum of the earth” and that the owner “scammed women and people who knew nothing about car repair” Needless to say, I think we have all seen this before. The poster decided it would be a good idea to make up fictitious names and email address so that it would appear more than one person was unhappy with the service they had received. Unfortunately that person misspelled the same word in each of his posts, which further illustrated that the majority of these negative reviews were unfounded.I called the owner back and he let me know right away that he wasn’t interested in discussing anything else except getting those bad reviews off of Google and Yahoo immediately. Not only were they showing up all over the internet, but they were costing him money a few different ways. Take for instance that he not only does magazine and newspaper advertising, but direct mail as well. How many people do you think will go to the internet and type in “Frank’s Tire & Automotive Repair in Bethel Park “? Even if it were only one, he was still losing clients and that is not a good taste in any business owners mouth.This presented a particularly interesting problem for a few different reasons. First and foremost, the person that was making the negative reviews against Frank’s Tire & Automotive for no reason other than the fact that they were posted by an incompetent ex-employee (as mentioned by Frank himself) that had been posting them at a clip of one every six months. The second part of that equation was the easiest to deal with, because we all know a few different tricks to get the bad reviews to plummet and have better rankings and reviews show up ahead of them. The last and final part was to accept that some of the reviews wouldn’t go away. No matter how you look at it, a business owner doesn’t want to read anything negative about their business. In the end, we have someone who is willing to pay a premium to get his good name in front of prospective clients and customers, and who also doesn’t understand the true power of online review.As we work with Frank to get these negative reviews pushed down the page, we will be providing some tips and methods that have helped us handle some clients reputation management issues in the past. Check back for an update by this time time next week.
- Bryan Thornberg is the President and CEO of Higher Images, Inc., located in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Specializing in website design, search engine optimization and PPC advertising, Higher Images serves clients in the Pittsburgh area, nationally, and globally.