Glengarry Glen Ross & the Car Industry on Twitter


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In the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin tells a rag-tag group of salesmen about an innovative sales contest. First prize – a Cadillac Eldorado. Second Prize – a set of steak knives. Third prize – you’re fired. It’s a pretty famous scene, both from the original movie, and also from the subsequent parody on SNL.

Fast forward to late August 2015. Inspired by Dave Fish’s Airline Twitter Responsiveness test, we wanted to play out the Glengarry Glen Ross scenario with a modern-day automotive twist. We sent out tweets to 13 US luxury auto manufacturers offering up similar prizes – first, bragging rights (an Eldorado doesn’t ship well via UPS ); second, steak knives; and…well, you know the third option.

(We also sent out tweets to @TeslaMotors, @BMWUSA, @Audi, @Cadillac, @LincolnMotorCo, @JaguarUSA, @LandRoverUSA, and @porsche_us.)

Ready for the winners?

In first place…Mercedes-Benz responded to the tweet 30 minutes after it went out. In second place…Jaguar responded after 62 minutes. And in third place…Volvo, who replied 7 hours and 45 minutes later.

Kudos to the winners. Sad to say, but no other manufacturers responded.

In a fun kind of way, we wanted to see how OEMs are listening to current and prospective customers on social media. 25 years ago we wouldn’t have let the phone ring in the sales or service department. The modern equivalent is customers asking for information on social media. The phone’s ringing. Is anyone picking up?

Social media responsiveness is important for a few reasons. We know from our own work that the speed and effectiveness with which a customer’s issue is addressed can positively or negatively affect loyalty. A non-response doesn’t exactly promote a good customer experience.

Timeliness of an appropriate response is critical. I remember one training curriculum that encouraged dealers to get back to a customer inquiry within two hours. Times have changed. Now, try two minutes. Other industries are establishing that bar.

Establishing listening posts that utilize technology is essential in hearing, understanding, and addressing customer issues. Without the technology, and appropriate human responsiveness, an organization is setting itself up for failure.

How “human” we are when we respond to customers is important. Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar exemplified that in their responses. Not only did they respond quickly, but they both responded with humor.

  Jaguar’s response had a similar flavor…  

  And Volvo’s response was perfectly appropriate…

Let’s sell something!

Stay tuned for our next blog, which shows how the auto folks compared to the airlines (a blatant hook to get you to return).

Responding to customer inquiries is a price-of-entry challenge, and the technology needs to be in place to handle it. Addressing questions and comments that come via social media is not just quickly becoming price-of-entry…it’s already here.

Until next time.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Chris Travell
Chris Travell is VP, Strategic Consulting for the Automotive Group of Maritz Research. He is responsible for working with Maritz' Insight Teams to further the understanding and application of the firm's automotive research. He has appeared on numerous television programs and is often quoted in Automotive News, Time, USA Today, Edmunds, Detroit Free Press, The Globe and Mail and various other publications in regard to issues related to the North American automotive industry. He is the principal contributor to The Ride Blog, Maritz Research's automotive blog.


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