Check out this great article on how to leverage social media to turn your disguntled customers into fans! Not sure how you can use social media for your store? Talk to us! Just send an email to email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help.
source: Automotive News | April 19, 2010 | Lindsay Chappell | located here
Anyone who was a friend of Florida resident Thomas Alascio might have gotten the following Twitter tweet from him last October:
“Took the kids to Sonic for dinner. Great food and service. Route 60 Hyundai should take lessons.”
Tolstoy, it isn’t. But as millions of Americans link together on chatty outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and Internet message boards and product review forums, auto dealers are grasping that social media offer an explosive new opportunity to market themselves and their vehicles.
They are also an explosive new source of negative publicity and customer kvetching.
Just as customers easily can tell the world about the wonderful dealership experience they just had, they also can blanket the nation’s laptops and Blackberries with angry denouncements and warnings to stay away.
Dealerships are scrambling to protect their reputations online, and ad agencies and online marketing shops are offering to help.
The Alascio case illustrates how social media can propel bad word-of-mouth far faster than ever before.
Alascio had received a loaner car from Route 60 Hyundai in Vero Beach, Fla. The dealership said he had damaged it. The two parties disagreed over Alascio’s financial obligations.
So last October, after an altercation at the dealership, Alascio took his beef to the airwaves, tweeting critical remarks about the store once or twice a day.
A typical post: “Beautiful nite. Pretty moon and btw. Route 60 Hyundai sucks.”
The dealership wasn’t amused. In December, Route 60 had its attorney write Alascio a letter demanding that he “cease and desist” making what the attorney called defamatory comments. The letter warned Alascio that his Twitter comments “entitle Route 60 Hyundai to bring an action against you for defamation and tortuous interference with an advantageous business relationship.”
The letter closed with a stern warning to the customer in all capital letters and underlined: “PLEASE GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.”
That warning sparked a longer letter from Alascio’s own attorney. It challenged Route 60′s legal claim and urged it to drop the matter or face a lawsuit from Alascio.
In a more conciliatory conclusion, Alascio’s attorney proposed that Route 60 instead consider actually inviting the unhappy customer into the store to discuss ways to improve its customer service.
That never happened, and the case simply disappeared, says Alascio’s attorney, Marc Randazza of Miami.
Randazza offers some stark advice for dealers upset at comments posted by disgruntled customers.
“If you are confronted with a consumer complaint and you pick up the phone to ask your lawyer to try and intimidate the consumer into silence, you should fire yourself for being an abject imbecile,” he says.
“Even if the consumer is wrong, it might cost you a few hundred bucks to make the consumer happy, which then would turn into positive word-of-mouth advertising.
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