Online PR Nightmare
“Never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel” exclaimed Mark Twain. It was true then, a powerful publisher if irate enough could bury you, but during the digital age, let’s expand that to anyone with access to a computer. In November 2004, an English gent named Adrian Melrose bought a brand-new Discovery 3. It was a lemon. But his dealer and Land Rover itself were unresponsive. He began a blog called “Discover the Truth About Land Rover Discovery 3” and took his complaint to the web.
For weeks he accrued hundreds and then thousands of sympathetic comments while Land Rover ignored the problem. The notoriety became so embarrassing Land Rover replaced the car—whereupon the replacement immediately broke down too. Then, while fixing that, a loaner broke down. Then a second loaner broke down and the entire misadventure was chronicled on Melrose’s blog.
Finally they refunded his money triggering accusations of blackmail but it was only Melrose leveraging the power the internet had bestowed on him and every other consumer for that matter. One can only guess the damage to Land Rover, yet, incredibly, the brand still has no online forum for FAQ, service bulletins and much less complaints.
All businesses need an efficient platform to listen and care for their customers, do you have one? For the most part customers want to be loyal but they become frustrated because they think nobody is listening! Listening and responding quickly is one of the most important things you can do in customer service.
Jeff Lind can be reached at 544-9220 or firstname.lastname@example.org