A lesson in reputation management:
Last night I was driving away from the Local Search Summit Conference with Mr. David Mihm, local search whiz, when I noticed that I had a flat tire. As luck would have it I stopped the car right in front of Tate Family Complete Auto Care at 477 Market St. in San Jose, CA 95113. David checked the door to the store but it was locked. We were about to change the tire but the traffic was pretty busy so I got in and pulled the car into the driveway in front of the Tate Family Complete Auto Care garage, which we noticed was open with a light on inside.
Not eager to change a flat with a guest in the car, I walked into the garage and inquired if they had one of those Tire Inflator kits to temporarily fix the leak, to which the guy at the desk, which was stocked with car repair stuff, replied “Sorry, we’re closed”. I told the guy “no problem” and walked back out to the driveway to start jacking up the car.
After a bit of comical effort by Mr. Mihm and myself trying to take the hubcap off, the guy walks out of the garage and in a kind of pissed voice asks what we are doing to which I replied “changing my flat tire”.
The guy then says in an angry voice that I should take my car down the street to Wheel Works and get out of his driveway. I respond that I have a flat tire – and it was totally flat – and that I was just going to change it and be on my way. He then tells me, again in an angry tone, that a customer is on their way and they will need to get their car and I have to get out of his driveway.
Now I have no problem with the guy asking me to get out of his driveway, even if there was plenty of room for his customer to get by and even if I had a flat. It’s his driveway after all and he can set the rules. I do have a problem with him immediately treating myself and Mr. Mihm as Gitmo refugees when we were clearly in need of some help from someone who specializes in I don’t know, auto care. If the guy really wanted us to move all he had to do was ask nicely, or at least not in a threatening way. I would have gladly moved the car, even though driving on a flat tire is a great way to screw up your wheel. But unfortunately the guy had to be a complete jerk.
So what do you think a small business online reputation management enthusiast does when confronted with this kind of unwarranted hostility?
I almost said to the guy “Dude trust me, you really don’t want to do this.”
If you are the owner of this business I’d like you to think about what my interaction with you says about your company. Do you think if I was closed for the day and a guy knocked on my door telling me their site had lost its rankings that I would treat him that way? If you really cared about Auto Care and if you really had family values like your name is trying to imply, I think your guy (or maybe it was you) might have taken a different tone.
Now I am a forgiving person so Mr. or Ms. Tate, all you have to do is apologize in the comment section of this blog and email me at localseo at localseoguide.com with your contact info and I’ll see what I can do about those nettlesome reviews. Oh and you may want to fix the broken promotions page on your site (sorry no link for you bub).
BTW we drove down the road a couple of blocks and found Dynamic Audio at 599 S. Market St. They were awesome. They lent us a power jack and filled my spare with air. I highly recommend you check them out for all of you car audio in San Jose needs.