BMW Clears Up Its Understanding of Social Media. In a way. Maybe.

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For those who read my last post about Social Media, Customer Service, time, and how it relates to the catastrophic failure of a new car at 718 miles, I have an interesting update. BMW Assist (which is run by Allstate) contacted me to apologize and read my blog post. This means that the post, Tweets, Posting to Linked In and Facebook, somehow made it to their attention because they actually read to me from my post and apologized for the incident. In fact, they are sending gift certificates to the people that helped me out when I was stranded, and to me. Kudos for reaching out and trying to correct a tense situation for everyone involved!

BMW is replacing my new car with a “twin”, but I have heard from no one other than my salesman at the local BMW dealer, which I find odd. I’m also thinking that BMW should have tossed in a couple of extra goodies into the replacement vehicle just to, somehow, atone for the whole embarrassing brand situation. Or at least some executive at BMW here in the US should have called to find out what happened. I’m also thinking that if I were an executive at BMW, I’d have had that car on a flatbed in a hot minute to find out what caused a catastrophic failure at 718 miles, given there are already rumors about oils pumps failing in some other more expensive models than mine. Perhaps this defect has crept into my line too? Maybe someone didn’t QA the car correctly? I guess I’ll never know and BMW might have to wait until more customers experience my error to find out. In the meantime, I’ll just wait and see if anyone contacts me from BMW itself to find out what happened and apologize to this five time BMW owner. As of one week from the engine failure of the 335xi, no one has.

I might also remind everyone that I posted originally because over forty eight hours had passed since the issue and no one had contacted me. I had no idea if the car would be replaced, and 48 hours is an ETERNITY now in internet time. And what I said would happen did: my post was picked up and spread around the internet, and I received many comments. I’m sure my post has not done anything to boost the BMW brand, and if someone had reached out to me the next day, this incident would have remained somewhat private instead of being very public. Heck if BMW had contacted me by now, I’d be writing about that here. But I can’t because, a week later, no one at BMW itself has.

I feel justified using this as a typical Customer Care example in 2012, and an example to point out that if you’re just listening, it isn’t enough. If you’re just screening looking for posts, and something that has the capacity to go viral starts the process, you’re hopelessly lost unless you can, somehow, pinpoint the people who have the ability to turn the conversation around. You can’t do that with typical software, or with any of the software out there with any amount of accuracy except for ours. In fact, I can tell you what happened to my post, the Tweets around my post, who looked at it from Linked In, from Facebook, and where it got re-posted. I followed my own post with our own software to make sure my complaint got heard, and it did. I will remind you that I called NO ONE nor did I email anyone. Not even the dealer in this entire episode. Are YOU ready for this? Can YOU handle this? If not, then why haven’t you sent us an email yet? In fact, I’ll be in NYC this week attending the Social Media for Customer Service Summit. Stop by and say hi if you’re there. I’ll show you all about this in person.

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