iFrog Change Blog 625x515Change, it is forever and ever. The automotive business is a perfect example of this maxim in action. New models arrive every year or changes to old models keep them fresh and up to date. Accessories, packages, trim levels, safety features, the list goes on and on as to what changes you can expect.

What doesn’t change is the way dealerships do business with their customers. I don’t want to paint all dealers with the same brush, but overall, most dealers are unaware that the shift of power from businesses to the customers they serve is well underway.

Dealers will refute that statement with tired explanations of how well they do on their surveys, the awards they have won from the manufacturer, and on and on. Doing well on those proves they have a great relationship with their customers. The problem with that conversation is, if you talk to their customers in person they are not as happy as they would seem. Just like the happily married person who it turns out is not so happy when something better comes along, your customers may be just waiting for that something better.

How many complaints do you get in your sales and service departments that are handled poorly before (hopefully) they are handled correctly? How much anger is built up in your customer’s minds after a frustrating experience with your business, that you pass off as just being another day, no big deal. Well, it is a very big deal. It is this disconnect from the customer that drives dissatisfaction, and you will probably never know about it until it is too late. This is because you don’t believe in the power of social media.

Social media is; “The conversation that your customers are having about you” right in front of your face but you can’t understand it. Why? The response I get from managers and owners is, “I really don’t care, because there is no real way to control it.”

In other words, “If I can’t control my customer I have no interest in them.” Sorry Mr. Customer, I can’t get that done right now. Oh, I’m sorry you already spoke to someone else and they said we would do it? Well, why didn’t you just say so... Happy to help.

Sound familiar? This is the conversation that will be replayed over and over when the customer talks to friends and family, and if they are really annoyed, ends up as a Facebook status or more immediately in their Twitter feed. “Just letting everybody know what an IDIOT the service manager is at XYZ Motors.”

Right or wrong, that message is now out there and if you don’t know it, you can’t respond to it. Before long (make that, very quickly) everybody else and his brother who has had a problem with your service department is now piling on.

The solution to this problem starts with respect and is managed with awareness. You have to respect your customers enough to listen to them. They know when they are being sloughed off with generic answers or being manipulated because you don’t feel like dealing with their concerns. They know when you are patting them on the head and letting them know it’s just outside their ability to understand. Congratulations, you have just created an enemy.

Having a social media strategy not only helps you to connect to your customers generally, but it gives you a platform to express your genuine desire to be of help. Of course that is the key to any relationship, an honest desire to be of help. That, by the way, is something that has never changed.

iFrog Digital Marketing offers reputation management strategy and training for you and your staff. Let us show you why the lack of a cohesive digital strategy is the number one problem overlooked by dealerships.

-Steve Hills | iFrog Digital Marketing

Published in Blog

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