I keep seeing headlines in the Trade publications about Car Dealers being slow to embrace Social Media, well here’s the truth we’re not slow we’re scared, and the reason we are scared is that social media is too powerful, most of us can’t afford ‘Super Injunctions’ which means that your previously good reputation that has taken years and year’s to build up by word of mouth, could be destroyed instantly in less than 140 characters.

I would like to think that at heart I am a nice guy and I would not intentionally sell anyone a bad car, but a customer buys 1 car every few years and I buy them every day, perhaps, as a result, my senses have been dulled as I see cars with the same inherent faults that manufacturers have known about for years I spend thousands of pounds a year reconditioning my cars to a good standard but I can’t make them better than they were when they first rolled of the assembly line.

With all the consumer program’s on these days some people’s expectations have become unrealistic and your relationship with them is great until the first time you have to say ‘no’, In the old days when you reached a stalemate with a customer the worst thing they could do was to threaten to tell their friends, or put your name up on the notice board at work, now even before they get out of your showroom they can tell all their friends at once and they can also tell all your customers, and all your potential customers alike, there is no arbitration, they can just say anything they want about you, some people by their own admission look for something to complain about so they can get a refund/discount/money back etc, in some cases this is no better than blackmail.

Has anyone else noticed that people who are satisfied with the service they have received hardly ever go to the trouble of writing a glowing report on the internet, while complaints and negative feedback are rife, as an example I like gadgets and I am an avid viewer of The Gadget Show on Channel 5, one of the presenters is Pollyanna Woodward she goes by the name of @gadgetpolly on Twitter and including me she has 48,284 followers, recently she was having her car repaired and wasn’t happy with the job that was done, or her treatment by the staff, she documented her dilemma on Twitter in realtime, if the garage had any defense you didn’t get to hear or read it.

This is how it unfolded on @gadgetpolly ‘s Twitter timeline

off to pick my car up…c ya later 🙂 xxx 2:37 PM May 17th via web

Ooooohhh. ..i hate bad service… At a garage now, that couldnt care less that they havent done a decent job on my car bumper..hate that!!!! 17 May 2011 15:34:37 

Just so none of you end up as disappointed as I am right now, I would think twice about using ******* coachworks in *****!! 17 May 2011 15:44:48

the matter wasn’t resolved to her satisfaction and within 10 minutes she had warned nearly 50,000 people not to use the garage that in her opinion had done a bad job, a few RT’s (retweets) from her followers and that number would rise exponentially, now she tweeted that in the heat of the moment, I have worked in the motor trade for over 35 years and I know full well that if a beautiful young blonde girl who is also a popular TV personality can’t get a job done to her satisfaction or the matter resolved amicably, in a garage that would mostly be staffed by red-blooded young males, then I and pretty much all of you lot would have no chance at all!

Your worst nightmare would be to have @ladygaga as a customer, do something to her dislike and have her tweet it to her 10 million followers, you may as well just lock your door, post the keys through the letterbox and walk away from the sinking ship that used to be your business.