For those of us that work in digital communications, it can be easy to forget there’s a whole world out there that are welded to an historical/traditional mindset and approach.
In itself that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just because there are newer ways of doing things, doesn’t mean you have to throw out the baby with the bath water (so to speak)
Except there are instances when it’s clear an overhaul is needed.
Which brings me to my experience last with Nissan. Firstly I just want to say I don’t have an issue with Nissan or the person who was in charge of their twitter handle who I was sparring with. (Or even the leasing company ALD who still haven’t responded).
It’s more to do with the industry as a whole. I’ll explain.
I leased a brand new car about 18 months ago. It was a Nissan Qashqai (I’ve been teased about its Dad-status but that’s besides the point)
Haven’t not owned a car for 10 years prior to that, the responsibilities that come with owning a car (such as services it) had passed me by. Hell I was just excited to have a new toy.
18 months later I realise I should take the car in for a service. The service attendant at the Nissan Garage in Leyton informs me I’ve missed the first year service.
The conversation went as follows:
Nissan service attendant: “You realise you were meant to have serviced the car last year. Did you just forget?”
Me: “Well not really. I never got a reminder telling me it was due. In fact other than being sent a tax disc 6 months ago, I haven’t had any communication for Nissan or anyone.”
Nissan service attendant: “That’s pretty bad. I’d have thought someone would have got in touch with you somewhere down the line.”
So with that, I went through the formalities of booking the car in and as one who works in digital Comms, sent a tweet to Nissan saying, it’s not on that I haven’t heard from then since I brought the car 18 months ago.
The following exchange ensued:
Now as someone who as worked with car brands I understand the complexities of the supply chain. However, in the day and age we live in surely the guardians and owners of the brand have the responsibility to ensure that partners aren’t unduly treating their customers and ultimately potential advocates. (Ok I’m being a bit pedantic. At the end of the day all that happened was that I didn’t get a reminder. It’s not the end of the world).
My point is brands spend lots of money trying to connect with customers and influence them to buy into their product or services. But when someone does the systems behind the scenes more often than not, don’t live up to what is being portrayed.
After my twitter exchange with the guy he actually called me up and we had a good chat about how to avoid situations like this for other customers. I appreciate where he is coming from and also the challenges of trying to connect a company that has systems that aren’t designed for the digital age.
It boiled down to the fact that despite being a Nissan advocate, Nissan’s social media team have no way of knowing who I am or linking my online public persona to their customer data.
Nissan are certainly not unique. This story sums up this issue facing many organisations. While their is a lot of effort putting on a public face, things aren’t necessarily working that well behind the scenes.
And this is why a lot of social media efforts are viewed sceptically by the public. Many lack authenticity. And why? Because they aren’t a true representation of the company culture.
Even though social business is becoming another buzzword that’s being banded around, for me this is a real live example of the disruptive power social technologies and thinking will have on many industries.
FYI – I actually really like my Qashqai.