How Social Media Saved My Car Lease

Something similar to this may have happened to you.

Nine days ago I leased a brand-new car.  And I am about to take it on its first road trip and show it to some friends of mine who are dying to see it.

It’s a beauty, too.  Fully loaded, with every conceivable option and upgrade, including built-in GPS, XM Satellite radio, and Bluetooth capability that literally transforms the entire car into an extension of my business phone as long as my Blackberry is inside the car.

Indeed, I went to the dealership asking for a “driver’s car” and that’s exactly what I got.

So imagine how fast my crests fell when I’m driving along and all of a sudden, the XM Satellite radio disappears.  As in, literally – the icon is no longer on the screen – it’s as if the XM was never there.

Then I discovered a broken trim piece in my trunk that I missed when I was looking over the car before signing for it.

And since we were now on the “there’s problems with this car” subject, I happened to notice that the floor mats I had ordered the day I leased the car still hadn’t shown up.

All covered under warranty – no problem.

And it’s not like the car wasn’t running.  Absent XM Satellite radio, and nothing I really like on regular radio, I could just listen to my Benny Mardones CDs until I could schedule the repair.  The trim piece could be fixed at the same time.  And it runs without floor mats, though I wish I could protect the carpet better.

No big deal.

But…then…it became a BIG problem.

It seems that nobody who answered the dealership’s phones had a clue how to handle a customer.  I dialed 11 times over the course of an hour.  It’s a “mega” dealership with multiple locations so I spoke with the main switchboard and three service department locations.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of these calls made me progressively more sorry I had leased the car.  I won’t get into details of how I was mistreated but let’s just say it was really bad.

Then, I tried calling the salesman who handled the deal with me.  I was told he was not working that day, and twice I got disconnected when being told I would be transferred to voice mail (one time I actually thought I heard the receptionist scoff and hang up the phone).  The third time I called, I asked for a manager and was told no managers were working that day.  (HUH?!?!?!)

Not knowing what else to do, I discovered the dealership has a Facebook Fan Page.  Out of options, I asked for help on the fan page.  Five minutes later I tried the dealership again (using the tack, “Who do I speak with about getting out of a lease and getting my old car back?”).

Amazingly, this time, the business manager was immediately available.  And yes, the service department would be delighted to look at the car today, how soon could I drop by?

When I arrived at the dealership, the sales manager (supposedly off that day) and the salesman who handled my deal (also supposedly off that day) were waiting for me.  Both were surprised to learn their customers were being told they had taken the day off.  Both were aware I had commented on the Fan Page and were intent on making sure I felt valued as a customer and my problems would be taken care of.

This guy has a Facebook Fan Page.  Do you?

Bottom line – the fact that the dealership has a Facebook Fan Page saved my lease.  Because they actively maintain it, they caught my comment and made sure it got addressed.

So What Does Satellite XM Radio And A Car Lease
Have To Do With Website Conversions?

It’s simple, really.

Because of the Facebook Fan Page, the dealership management, who were clearly being blocked from hearing from me due to the incompetence of the people answering the phones, were able to connect with me and do a great service recovery (they’re going above and beyond to get this fixed for me).

People who buy new cars will make a huge part of their buying decision based on how they feel they will be treated AFTER the sale.  Until we brought Facebook into it, I was one more screw-up on their receptionists’ end away from exercising my 30-day satisfaction guarantee on the lease.

Whenever I hear a prospect or customer say “I don’t want to be on Facebook” or “That social media stuff is not for me”, I challenge them to ponder these questions:

  • What if my main customer service system breaks down and a hot prospect wants to reach me?
  • How can prospects engage me to get questions answered that will help them make the decision to invest in my products and solutions?
  • Where is the “direct link” between my business and its prospective customers where we can have a conversion conversation?

Still think social media is a waste of time?

Now get that Fan Page going.

Here’s to converting and conserving our customers,
- ARH

P.S. This big car dealership (which doesn’t sell info-products or coaching, and happens to be a bricks-and-mortar business) was saved from a huge mistake due to social media.  What other big mistakes do you think big companies make?  Click here to read my FREE, no obligation special report and find out how you can AVOID mistakes.

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2 Comments

  1. Customer Service is so important in the business world, no matter what the product/service is. And the key word in customer service is ‘service’. Years ago I knew that the internet was going to be the future–eCommerce, eMail, etc…and the future is now. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, YouTube are now common words in the home and on the marketplace and knowing how to utilize each is so important for day-to-day life-in business as well as home life. Personally, I admire technology. And besides, it’s almost like ‘use it or be stagnant’.

    • Adam Hommey (Help My Website Sell)
      Tuesday 14 June 2011, 7:30 pm

      @Debe – see, the issue with what happened to me, I think, was a (pretty serious) issue with folks not knowing how to handle incoming phone calls. This was virtually a non-issue until I had almost a dozen calls in a row go nowhere because (so it seemed to me at least) everyone who answers them took leave of their common sense. The actual service I’ve gotten since (once I finally got connected to the right people) in getting the issues with the car resolved has been OUTSTANDING, way above-and-beyond.

      Another reason why many companies are reluctant to embrace social media is because, I’ll come out and say it, it really isn’t all that likely that your business will exactly double just because you throw up a Fan Page. It’s the long-term, cumulative effect of the information sharing and relationship building that gets you there. It’s rarely a quick-fix, but it’s essential to long-term survival and healthy profits the same way regular exercise is good in the long term.

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