Corporate Suicide: How to Kill a Great Customer Review of Your Company

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Quick back story here: I live in NYC, and keep a car. That’s not the norm here. But occasionally, I do have to drive for work, and I can’t bike to my skydiving drop zone or to the triathlon or road race in Jersey or Connecticut. So I keep a car, and I give it to my assistant to go home for the weekend much more than I ever use it myself.

Driving upstate yesterday to run an errand, my “change your oil” light went on. While I was pondering what to do about that, my “change oil filter” light also went on. All that was missing was the “Hey, NYC dumbass: This means go to an oil change place” light.

Getting close to my destination, I spotted a Valvoline facility – So I pulled in. No wait, the staff couldn’t have been nicer, and the person I dealt with was honest, not condescending to the obvious “New Yorker who rarely drives,” and the entire process couldn’t have been easier.

So when I was paying, and they asked me for my email to send me a survey, I gave it. The survey came today, and I took it, giving glowing reviews. When I finished, they offered me a coupon towards my next visit, and asked if I wanted to post a review, and gave me the clickable option of posting it to Google+.


“Cool,” I thought. “They’re on G+ – That’s progressive.” So after printing out my coupon for next time, (which you know I’ll totally forget to use,) I clicked the G+ link to post a quick review.




And I got the following:


So much for leaving that review. I don’t know what happened here, but I assume that no one at Valvoline has checked that template with that link in it in months and months.

That’s where most people would have quit, and Valvoline would have lost the occasional opportunity for the positive review.

But I wanted to see what their G+ page was, because, well, because I’m a geek.

So I Google “Valvoline Google Plus”, and I find their G+ page. So I follow it. And then I notice there’s no ability to post anything – including a review. Then I happen to notice that the page, the first result in my search on Google, isn’t even the American page. It links to

D’OH! (x2.)

So that’s my story about how Valvoline prevented me from leaving a great review about their service. I’m a guy who lives in NYC and rarely uses his car, much less knows what to do when a light goes on. But the Valvoline in Newburgh, NY, off of I-87 didn’t hold that against me, and took great care of me, and I wanted to tell people that. But I couldn’t.

Lesson? Customer service, when awesome, merits sharing. And in this world of constant connectivity, that share means real revenue – A quick search on  showed me 112 people in my first degree networks within 15 miles of Newburgh. As the social sphere continues to become the trusted sphere, those 112 people would find out that I trust and recommend the Newburgh Valvoline when their car’s light comes on – automatically. Soon, they won’t have to search for reviews from people in their network, their car will need an oil change, and they’ll get a notification on whatever device they’re using, with the note that “these people in your network recommend Valvoline, and you’re 1.2 miles away from it.” That day is really, really close. That’s what social is becoming – a trusted network of people whose opinions matter to you – because they’re connected to you or to someone you trust. The value in that is a billion times higher than a random review from someone you don’t know on a random site.

Want to make sure you’re ready to take advantage of that? Start by checking your links. Valvoline gave me spectacular service. But the only reason you’re finding that out, is because you read my blog. And that’s a problem.

As always, I welcome any comments you have below, and thanks for reading. Oh, and happy new year!

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