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Jim Bell

Jim Bell Performance Manager

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It All Starts With a Tweet

 

So many of us have heard the story of Morton's Steakhouse monitoring their social media and going above and beyond with meeting Peter Shankman at the airport with a full steak dinner.  That is just one example of a small business watching their social media.  I'm sure that Morton's didn't know that they would get the publicity that they got among all the social media channels.  I know that when I am near a Morton's Steakhouse, I will probably hit one remembering the experience that Peter had with it.

Now, what about one of the biggest companies in the US watching their social media?  I made a call to AT&T because I knew that I was eligible for an early upgrade.  Little did I know that I would only be able to upgrade one of my phones on my plan, and not the other.  It all started with a tweet.  After I got off the phone with customer service, I tweeted out of frustration.  

I didn't know what to expect after tweeting that.  Here I am dealing with one of the largest companies in the country.  To be honest, I wasn't really expecting anything.  I was just plain frustrated with the whole thing and decided to vent on Twitter.  About 10 minutes later, I received a tweet from @ATTCustomerCare.  

I was shocked.  I did DM them my phone number for them to look into my account and received a call about 15 minutes after sending them my information.  They explained to me what the policies were for early upgrades.  I found out that my primary line was eligible, but not the other for about another 7 months.  I vented on the Social Media Customer Care Representative my frustrations.  I bought two Blackberries, signed contract the same day, and only one was eligible?  He understood where I was coming from.  We spoke about it and a few weeks later, I was on the phone with him again ordering 2 iPhones.  They waived upgrade fees, early termination fees, and expedited shipping to me.

So what does this have to do with the automotive business?  We as dealers have to be aware of what is going on out there and what people are saying about you.  It happens everyday and you may not know it.  

  • You must have a strategy in place on how to handle situations.
  • Pay attention.  Do searches or be alerted when someone tweets about you or the dealership.
  • You have to respond to it, and not just 'let it be.'  If it is a frustrated customer, reach out to them.
  • Be active and engaging with the consumer.
  • Go above and beyond with the customer.  Do the unexpected.
I have seen local companies and dealerships get bashed on Twitter and there is no response from them.  Those tweets may go a long way and it is the new word of mouth advertising.  It can hurt you or help you.  Now go Tweet about this.
Larry Bruce
Jim 2 good things happened here and 1 bad: Good - AT&T was listening Good - AT&T took care of the problem Bad - no social follow up from AT&T so no one else listening on twitter or Facebook knows the good thing AT&T did but you. At the end of the day to get your social media ROI & good will the whole conversation needs to take place in public. Finally a question - Do you think that 1, 1000 or 1 million of these type of tweets hurt AT&T or any company? After the complaints are posted are they just a flash in the pan & quickly forgotten? It sure seems that way. That said in some cases no response might be the best response.
Jim Bell
Thanks for your thoughts Larry. They did follow up with me via DM and have been great there. Being a huge company, I don't think that the tweets would hurt them, but as a small company, it can. I feel that you should respond as a dealership to customers that may be venting because it can hurt us more than a company like AT&T. I have seen them tweeting at Blake Shelton and Ashton Kucher after they tweeted about frustrations with them. Who knows how that turned out, but they are definitely watching it.
Joey Abna
There may not have been a large online presence of the exchange between Jim and ATT but I would imagine that the resolution Jim experienced was shared by Jim over dinner, coffee and other one on one interactions he has in his day to day. The life of a particular tweet can be very short lived but you never know when one tweet gets retweeted by just the right person to turn into an avalanche.
Rosa Luciano
Larry asked a good question when he asked 'do you think that 1, 1000 or 1 million of these type of tweets hurt AT&T or any company?' I think AT&T gets bashed via social media on a daily basis and I am sure 90% of those Tweets are concerning upgrades or bills, and although their responses are pretty generic (ie: send us your info and we will look into it), it is still a response and typically calms the customer down because at least they were acknowledged. Now on the other hand, a social media rant can hurt a company. An example is when American Airlines lost a passengers cat and she took it to Twitter. That Tweet got national attention and the airline got scrutinized. Basically the magnitude of the rant depends on how big of an impact it will have. losing someones cat is unheard of... complaining about an upgrade or services happens everyday
Jim Bell
I have no idea how many people will complain about a large company like AT&T via social media. Will they really hurt a company like them? Probably not, but the point is that it WILL hurt a small company moreso than a large one. Yes, I was acknowledged, but was also followed up via phone calls and DM's. My whole upgrade was done pretty much all through Twitter. I never expected anything from them when I tweeted. You do make a good point on it is the magnitude of the tweet. If the right person reads it and RT's to their followers, people may reconsider on who they choose to do business with.

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