Mistakes happen, people realize this. Nobody expects a business to be perfect, as everyone has bad days. However, how you handle these mistakes is the secret to formulating long-term opinions of your business.
Social media has given people an unheard of platform on which to air their grievances. If people feel like their concern is not being met person to person, oftentimes they will take their issues to the internet in the form of a Facebook post, tweet, or review site.
This is especially true for car dealerships as there is an inherent overall negative opinion of them. It has always amazed me that people may have had a great experience buying their last car, but all they want to talk about is the negative experience they had ten years ago.
Not to worry; embrace feedback from customers, even when it is negative. Why? Because this is an opportunity, an opportunity to make a wrong a right and truly wow a customer. This is how brand ambassadors, those people that will beat the drum for your business so you don’t have to, are created.
Keep it Transparent
Whatever the platform your customer chooses, start the discussion there. You want to make sure your unhappy customer knows that you are accountable for your actions and they have your attention, and equally as important, the other people watching the conversation realize this as well.
A Timely Response is Paramount
Oftentimes when doing reviews of Facebook pages, I will see unanswered complaints or complaints that take days even weeks to get a response. Usually by this time these posts have gone somewhat viral. Monitor this daily if not more – this is your reputation, one of your most precious assets.
Dedicated Person to Handle These Customers
Ideally, the General Manager of the dealership should be handling these customers because by this point, they are usually frustrated with the people they have dealt with. They want someone who can get a positive result and fast.
Respond to their post with a sincere apology and contact information along with the title of person they will be contacting. Assure them that their problem, even though it is a rare mistake, is a top priority to you.
Be sure to offer a solution too, not just an apology!
Offer Them a Relevant Free Service
Hopefully by this point, you have talked with the customer and gotten to the heart of the problem. Sometimes though, people just aren’t happy until they feel like they have won.
Offer them a free oil change or detail or something else for free. In the end, you want a customer to be happy and feel like you have done all you can to resolve the situation.
More times than not, these customers will go back to the platform and give an update or change the star rating, singing the praises of how your dealership helped them in their time of need.
Every dealership should strive to be one that C.A.R.E.S. (Customer Always Receives Exceptional Service) but when you trip and fall, dust yourself off and get back up. If you own up to the mistake and make it better, you will end up with a customer who you look forward to seeing, because they usually bring a friend!