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SOCIAL MEDIA ATTACK SNOWBALL


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First, step step back and look at it with fresh eyes. DON'T panic. Some people like gossip, but if you have been in business 48 years, many people have experience with doing business with you and know you are a straight shooter. People that are scandalous tend to be known as such and other people take them with a grain of salt. Having said that, resolve the issue as soon as you can in a reasonable manner.

Edited by HarrytheCarGeek
a word
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I'd say you handled it correctly. I also agree with xrac. The gloves have come off. You bent over backwards to make it right, now they are just being *****. File a mechanics lien and call the cops if they show up again. If they showed up yelling, I'd tell the police it's harassment and they have abandoned their vehicle on your lot. We've all heard it before, but you can't make everyone happy. And some people just can't be made happy by anyone. They sound like scum, so treat them as such. Get your money out of em or take the car, forget about it, and move on.

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I also agree with XRAC's statement. I would add that it might be time to call an attorney and file a suite for slander. The case will never go to court, you offer to settle with an agreement to remove social media posts and an NDA. People tend to get off their high horse when papers get served from the court. If you're concerned about the damage to your rep and that this may continue it might cost you a grand a two with an attorney but it will stop the bleeding.

As long as you were prompt to respond to the issue (which I assume you were) it looks like you did what you could to rectify it. Sounds like more that you needed to. Its fine if she leaves but continuing to make a scene is not helping anyone. Especially if she hasn't even picked up the car. Not sure on your state laws but in NY a registered letter must be sent before you can collect storage charges. Then start racking them up and add it to the law suite.

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Not to sound trite, but if you're shop lives by social media, it can be hurt by it. Let your good customers decide based on their personal experience, not rumor, grapevine, hearsay, innuendo..etc.

I would bet your best customers are not big "social media" people but are busy, productive and have more to do than stare at their phones.

I've seen it, lived, it won it.

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My policy is: I will repair at no charge anything that myself or my employees break. I know that people make mistakes. I WILL NOT pay for damage not caused by myself or my employees. If the customer does not believe me when I tell them it is not our responsibility, my response is to go get it repaired elsewhere. Bring me a receipt from a repair shop (not your boyfriend or some guy in his garage) stating that we caused the damage and I will write you a check. I will and have bent over backwards to make people happy. If I reach a point where I realize I cannot make this person happy I stop. I have never gotten above a 3.8 star rating and don’t really care if I ever do. I always ask how a person found us. They will say, I read your reviews and they were good. I always respond, did you read the bad ones? Nine out of ten respond, yes if you didn’t have any bad ones I wouldn’t believe the rest. EVERYONE knows you can’t make EVERYONE happy.  Many years ago a shop in town was busted for not re[lacing parts they were paid to replace. I thought, wow goodbye to them. Ten years later they are still there. Just as busy. I learned THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BAD PRESS. It is time to get nasty with these people. Your good customers know your good, the rest all think we are thieves anyway. It’s our job to prove we are not. 

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In case anyone doesn’t know this. The Better Business Bureau is NOT A GOVERNMENT AGENCY. THEY HAVE NO POWER TO DO ANYTHING. They are a for profit non profit just like your non friends at AAA. Another fine institution out to fill their pockets. 

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As soon as someone mentions the words court or sue I tell them, "From this point on the only interaction we will be having is written." I will not accept your calls and there will be no verbal discourse. In court the only things that speak are paper, photographs and an ASE certification of the tech working on the car and or you the presenter of your side. When I invoke my written only policy you would be surprised how many people want to suck the words back into their mouths. In forty years I have been sued once. I was much younger then. The customer wanted me to not only refund his money for what he spent at my shop but also the repair he had to do. I refunded him what he paid us. Hes sued me and I wanted to see what a judge would say the correct answer was. The judge said that he had to made whole. He had paid 22$ more to have the car repaired in Chicago, so I lost and had to pay 22$ plus 85$ court costs. A side note to anybody, I would recommend avoiding court at all costs. What your think is black and white becomes gray in those rooms. Never walk in the door thinking its an easy win.

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On 1/18/2018 at 12:50 PM, DUFRESNES said:

According to the attorney, which he is right, the BBB is a marketing group.  If you are a member, you sign a contract, that you will arbitrate a complaint and abide by their decision, at least in our city.  I used to belong for 30 + years as a A+ credited shop.  When they raised us to 800 a year from 435, I said no more.  So, in this case they can present, but couldn't hold me to a decision.  They did close it out in our favor, there was nothing more that could be done. They say they may show under your shop name the answers.  Ours would show we bent over backwards.  Below is the letter sent to her .  The other thing the attorney said was always show a paper trail.  If you have to go to court he said she said won't hold up , but written between the parties will.  One good customer came in happy with us, but had read all of the neighborhood site.  She asked my daughter, "What have you learned"  Her answer was, we should have turned it over to the insurance company and let them battle her..

 RE:  2002 AUDI A4 ..........................

 

 

 

Dear Randi,

...................................

 

 

I would remove this post with details specifically about the customer and complaint from this forum. No need to post that information on the Internet, you are opening up the possibility for it to cause you trouble. Keep it confidential. Also, hire the attorney, I wouldn't send this letter, hire an attorney and have them send the letter. Not to be impolite but your letter is only going to make the issue worse. It is a lot of he said/she said banter. It will only fuel the problem. Loose the arguments and stick to the points and the facts. Let go of your emotions. File a suite alleging slander and loss of business if you want the social media comments removed. You could also petition the forum owner. Check their terms of service on false claims. You may get it removed that way.

The facts of the current issue are (or it seems are) the vehicle is still on your premises, amounts may be due. Those are the ONLY things your letter should state along with instructions on how to deal with THOSE issues with  deadlines. Loose the rest, it will only cause you grief.

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  • 1 month later...

My shop just received a five star review. The person that wrote it states she came there after reading a horrible review about us. The review was placed on a private network for the University Hospitals and clinics. I could not respond to it there. They filed a complaint with BBB and I responded to the complaint there. A customer of mine was nice enough to put a link directing people to my response. Good customers are not stupid. Not sure I can say that about the bad ones. You don’t want to work for everyone. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/15/2018 at 12:07 PM, DUFRESNES said:

Sadly, it has not been resolved.  1st she went to the BBB and we agreed with what she wanted.  Then she decided to put another on the BBB and again we agreed.  Finally the BBB closed  the complaint.  She then filed a small claims but she filed it in the wrong county.  We finally go to mediation and court in the end of May.  We replaced her engine with one that had 7000 miles less, did a timing belt for free.  Now she want more money.  We will see.  We had many customers came in to keep us up to date.

We had a situation like this.  We filed a counter claim in small claims court.  The judge requested that all parties try to come to an agreement before he will hear the case.  We came to an agreement, and found that some of the case was based on misinformation between the husband and wife, and some was just misunderstanding of vehicles.  We shook hands in the end and both parties felt the agreement was fair.  Good Luck

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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