If you’re in business today, chances are you’ve had an encounter with a keyboard cowboy. You know who I mean — someone who goes on the internet and bashes your business unmercifully, wanting you to either pay for damage not caused at your wash or give them carwashes for life to remove their negative posts.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know how I’d fare with this type of extortion if I was still in business for myself , and that’s really what it is: extortion. I’ve seen otherwise smart business people give away the farm over bogus reviews. But where does it end? Bullies will continue the bullying until their victims fight back.

But it seems the tide is now turning.

I saw a post on one of the forums the other day where a wash owner posted a review he had received from a person that claimed that the wash attendant left her emergency brake in the up position, causing her to ruin her tires by driving several miles with the brake on. She wanted $600.00 for new tires. His response?

“…time to write your review. I usually don’t respond to reviews like this, but this one is an absolute joke. Did the guy that sold you tires make that claim? The only way you could have ruined your tires with your emergency brake engaged would have been if you were sitting there spinning your tires for some time, leaving a hefty smoke cloud or you must have been driving for miles with your tires dragging. If you ask me, that sounds impossible unless you are so unaware of your tires dragging down the road with smoke trailing and all the resistance of the dragging tires on the pavement. If the emergency brake was left on, there is ALWAYS an indication light on the dash that informs you of your emergency brake being engaged. What I’m amazed about is that you drove off…for how many miles with it on seems….”

And this wasn’t the first or only post I’ve seen like this lately from owners. It seems the days of being bullied by wannabe tough guys living in their mom’s basement are coming to an end and I, for one, am happy to see it!

There are always going to be folks trying you to see how much you are willing to give. They’re never going to be satisfied, and if you think about it, are these the type of customers you want anyway?

Let them, and the other squeaking wheels, know that you’re not a pushover!

Most reasonable people that look at reviews will look through them all and then come to their own conclusions. If you have 20 favorable reviews and then one outlandish one, this will be easily detected as a grab fest and discounted.

You should still, of course, address all unfavorable reviews with people who leave an honest, constructive review of your services that they felt were less than your normal standard. Those are the people that aren’t usually asking for anything — they just want to let you know that they were disappointed in the hopes that their next wash will be better.

But if you get one like mentioned previously, fight back! Hit these internet tough guys right where it hurts. Kick them right in their mouse pads! Punch them right in their PC! If they get kicked and punched hard enough and often enough, maybe they’ll rethink their strategy.

Beat the bullies at their own game: Use the internet to game the gamers and soon enough, they’ll go the way of the floppy disk….