THA 106: Managing a Negative Online Review

Your Learning Curve Never Sounded So Good

The Panel:

Joe Hanson owns Gordie’s Garage. Joe has attended Management Success, NAPA training, Lawrence Tech University and most recently he is a member of the RLO 20 Group 13. He has earned his ASE C1: Automobile Service Consultant Certification.  Under his father’s leadership, he has seen what it really takes to make a business like this work. Listen to Joe’s Episodes HERE.

Bill Greeno owner of Quality Automotive and Smog in Truckee, CA and is also a business consultant with a focus on leadership and management and is big on communication. He and his team work hard on building strong internal communication, that he says makes a huge difference in his unyielding customer service.

He also believes that having a satisfied staff is pivotal to customer service success. Having a shared vision is at the core of this. Their Vision Statement is “Your Trusted Local Auto Care.” Their service-related conversations revolve around their Vision Statement and it is the launch pad for discussions regarding new ideas and/or changing a policy or procedure.  Bill teaches on building a strong business culture. Listen to Bill’s episodes HERE.

Gary Pontious Jr., AAM, is the Vice President and General Manager of Toledo Auto Care. Gary’s Dad, Gary Sr. bought the business in 1985. The business is Toledo’s oldest independent auto repair shop and is celebrating, in 2017, a special milestone; their 100th anniversary.

Gary started working at Toledo Auto Care in the summer of 1990 as a fuel tank repair/restoration technician and pick-up/delivery driver. As with most family business, Gary worked in many positions within the company and in April 1994 he became a full-time Service Advisor. “Since the beginning,” Gary says, “our business has been focused on building strong customer relationships and providing the highest quality of workmanship on each and every automotive repair.”

Gary is a member of Elite Pro service with Jim Murphy and is also an ASE Blue Seal Shop. Listen to Gary’s episodes HERE.


Key Talking Points:

5 Step Program

  1. Two negatives don’t make a positive
    1. Breath and DO NOT respond
    2. Don’t Get mad. Once you hit enter everyone sees it.
    3. Take ownership. Acknowledge the review. Take the higher ground.
    4. Be clear and offer advice on how to continue the relationship
  2. Find out what the heck really happened
    1. Learn to be neutral in your thinking.
    2. Rally to troops. Read the negative review together.
    3. You may find that communication is a problem.
  3. Take advantage of the learning opportunity
    1. Where did we go wrong and right?
    2. Processes and procedures may have broken.
      1. Be collaborative, with your team, in solving your problems.
    3. Learn and grow from this.
    4. Take ownership of every review.
      1. Book: Extreme Ownership (find on books page HERE)
  4. Finalize a resolution, respond and over deliver
    1. The team should have bought into the problem and solution.
    2. Finalize a resolution and response and execute
    3. Start with ‘Thank You’ not I’m Sorry.  (Bill Greeno)
    4. You must respond. A no response can be hurtful when the public is searching your reviews.
    5. A phone call can be a powerful tool.  
    6. In your response consider writing an advertisement on the quality of the business, talk about your core values, not defensive or demeaning.
  5. Review with staff and MOVE ON!
    1. Simply praise/forgive and MOVE ON!
    2. Celebrate the WINS. The 5 Star reviews.
      1. Builds confidence and the positivity grows
    3. Empower your people to fix any wrong before they walk out the door knowing you may get a one start review.


  • Your first negative review can be devastating.
  • Sometimes a negative review can be an advertisement for your shop based on how you handle it.
  • You may have to fire a customer when all things fail.
  • Print the reviews especially the 5 Stars and post them and discuss them.
  • You must solicit reviews from your customers.
    • Use special APPS that can make it very easy for your customer to leave a review.
    • Solicit them quickly.
      • Use a Google Review Card.
      • Send a text within a few hours asking for a review with a link.
  • Four types of reviews
    • Anonymous Public
    • Known Public
    • Anonymous Private
    • Known Private
  • Some people lie especially anonymous
    • Many exaggerated stores need to be met with what you want to talk about. Don’t tell them that they are wrong. Create a positive story.
  • The general public can see a phony one-star review among 50 five star reviews.
    • Yet you must reply to it.
  • Brick and motor businesses, small businesses, are reviewed more often than big business.
  • Be proactive, with guidelines, to solve a problem that happened before customer leaves.
    • Give a gift that is not automotive related to fix a wrong.
    • Like a Starbucks card or certificate to a restaurant.
  • Bill Greeno suggests not apologizing. If you do you are validating the problem.
    • You can add fuel to the fire.
    • We say I’m Sorry right away. We are designed to do that.
    • When we respond to a positive review we say ‘Thank You’.
    • In a negative review start with ‘Thank You’.
    • Saying you are sorry puts you deeper in the mud pit.
  • Don’t Take Negative Reviews Personal
    • Don’t dwell on it. Fix it, learn from it and move on.
  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
    • Respond to positive and negative reviews.
  • Timing: Respond right away.


  • A special thanks to  Joe Hanson, Bill Greeno, and Gary Pontious Jr. for their contribution to the aftermarket.
  • Books Page HERE
  • Link to a previous episode on Managing a Negative Online Review HERE.
  • Leave me an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one of them.

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About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast and the pioneer of automotive aftermarket podcasts. Carm calls on his years of experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices, and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host of over 1,000 episodes, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ paths to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.

Follow the podcast on your favorite podcast listening app and always listen to learn just one thing!