It seems everyone has an opinion these days, especially those venting online — and they insist that you hear it. What’s more, the emphasis on online ratings for businesses is growing and experts are advising on what business owners can do to encourage good ratings and combat bad ratings.

It can be overwhelming to keep up and manage your dealership’s reputation online. So, what if you didn’t worry about managing it? Check out this letter to the editor from a recent customer of Falls Farm & Garden Equipment, Hudson Falls, N.Y., that appeared in the local newspaper, the Post-Star:

“We always say that we live in a great community, but it’s so nice to see that kind of talk put into action! This past Saturday, our riding mower broke and we needed a part, so we called Falls Farm and Garden and the guy (turns out it was the owner, Tim Havens) who answered the phone said he had it, and even though he had already closed, and he would wait for us. We drove to the shop and picked up our part, and there were two other customers who Tim had also waited for after closing time! A great community doesn't just happen, it takes guys like Tim Havens going out of his way to help out his fellow community members. Thankfully, that way of being a member of this community is alive and well!”


Tim Havens owns Falls Farm & Garden Equipment.

This public compliment didn’t happen because Tim Havens asked for it or tried marketing techniques to encourage it. Instead, he answered the phone, had the part in stock and practiced exceptional customer service. He knew the importance of a good-looking lawn for the 4th of July weekend.

I’m not recommending that you ignore social media, online reviews or reputation marketing. There are smart, progressive dealers who are investing wisely and devoting resources to online marketing. However, it wasn’t marketing behind the recent customer experience at Falls Farm & Garden. It was a dealer who had what the customer needed and made it easy and enjoyable for them to buy.

This wasn’t a fluke compliment, either. Falls Farm & Garden recently received an Ethics in Business award. The dealership was nominated by community members and recognized for their ethical conduct, integrity and civic responsibility.


Falls Farm & Garden Equipment, Hudson Falls, N.Y., was recently honored with an Ethics in Business award from its local community. The dealership team is pictured here at the awards ceremony.

Many of you are also going the extra mile to serve your customers. How many days in any given week do you unlock the door early and stay late; spend extra time with an inexperienced equipment owner; or work miracles to repair equipment quickly and cost-effectively?

Whether you’re publicly recognized or not, it’s the right thing to do and the best way to run a business.

We’re featuring Tim Havens and Falls Farm & Garden in our summer issue, so you can learn more about how he runs his dealership, which is celebrating 34 years in business.