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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jim Bell

Jim Bell Performance Manager

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I was on the phone with a dealer friend of mine in our 20 group.  About a month ago, there was a nasty post on their Facebook page about a deal that went south and the dealer wouldn't refund their money to them.  I just happen to be on Facebook at the time of the post and sent her a text to make sure that she saw it right away.  Initially while she was doing some investigation, she couldn't find this customer anywhere in her system.  She responded to the upset customer on Facebook to contact the General Manager to get this issue resolved.  They didn't hear from the customer right away and thought that this was maybe a bogus post and was going to delete it from their page.  Low and behold, a call came in.  After a message back and forth, they finally got a hold of the customer.

Here is what happened.  The customer wanted out of the deal for some reason.  He called the salesperson and let him know, but he didn't want to lose the deal and said that they couldn't have their money back and actually hung up on the customer.  The hang ups happened a few times.  Since the customer didn't have a Facebook account, he decided to open one up since this dealership has a good presence on Facebook to voice his concerns and that he would never do business there as a result of this incident.  He was heard and the situation was resolved.  The customer ended up deleting the string of comments on his own.

So what is the correct way to respond to that upset customer online?

  1. Try not to bring your emotions into the situation.  That is tough since they may be bashing your company publically.
  2. Don't delete the comment.  Respond to them publically and apologize for their experience and give them a contact person and number to take this offline.
  3. Resolve it offline.  When it is resolved, have them respond to the thread how the situation was handled in a way that was satisfactory to them.
  4. If they continue to bash you on other sites, just keep with a standard apology with a name and phone number to contact.

Let's face it, we all will have them come in and it all boils down to how you handle that upset customer.  Not everyone can be happy and it happens.

Bruce Etzcorn
Ok, I'll admit... I love hearing how dealerships (and other companies) combat public outrage using reviews, Facebook & twitter. This one seems to have a happy ending (which helps too). Your 4 points are great for every online channel. I think it might be a good idea to extend this idea into a more proactive space. Don't wait for them to appear on your Facebook or Twitter feed for a reply. Using a service like http://www.socialmention.com allows you to search the web for your dealership and "listen" to customers talking about their experience. Any mention of a bad experience and you should jump in and apply Jim's 4 points.
Jim Radogna
Great post Jim. Hell hath no fury like a customer scorned in the internet age!
Jim Bell
Funny thing is I wrote this at night and when I got to work, low and behold a bad review. It was handled, but I thought it was quite ironic.
Jim Radogna
That's what you get for working nights...
Bryan Armstrong
Great as usual.We had one on our FB page and the GM wanted to delete it, I told him no, we responded (as above) and while it was not resolved to her satisfaction, we actually received commentary where people told her SHE was being unreasonable. :)

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