Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Of Facts & Fiction and Quality of Diction

By David P. Carlisle

Last week’s blog was about why someone’s daughter will never go back to a dealer. There is a back story on that one. Our blog-master, Ellen Jortberg sent me the following note:
David, I am about to publish the blog this week which outlines [a] daughter’s experience at a dealership. I realize it is not in my area of expertise, but as one who reads every blog it seems like we have done plenty of dealer bashing. Again, just a random thought, but is there a grander blog thread where this type of blog plays a crucial role. Negativity breeds negativity or so the saying goes I believe. No need for a response – just expressing a thought here on a Friday afternoon. Ellen J
I thought Ellen made a good point, so I forwarded her note on to all our partners. They all agreed with Ellen. But, the train had left the station after we arrived at a consensus decision that dealer-dumping might not be an effective way to change behaviors. We received the following from a subscriber:
I think you guys might be off the mark on this one …. I just pulled the Intellicheck info for this brand and $450, while it seems high, is not out of line with a two-axle full brake service using premium quality parts …. Regardless of source. Agree bait and switch tactics are a painful approach to business, but I can name dozens of brands across many industries that use this approach …
There was more:
  • Assume these blogs get read and passed around organizations and may ultimately get back to someone like me with the question attached …. “Do these guys have any credibility in the market?” [My boss] and I are [among] the few people that understand the quality data and practices at Carlisle, so we can run air cover, but you have to back up all you guys present into the market with facts.
  • Some of Carlisle’s blogs, including this one, come across as “Dealer Bashing” – “whose side are these guys on?” One of the inherent problems with blogs is that they often run from emotion and lack facts, tough for the average consumer to decipher
  • Now that you explained it was a “single axle” repair I can delineate the information a little finer and yes $450 for a single axle is most likely high even at Premium quality levels…. But people [reading] the blog think … my goodness is that for one axle, or a full service?
  • Carlisle professes the reason OEMs/dealers can differentiate themselves is because they maintain the advantage of “Genuine” … Parts, Techs, Equipment, Diagnostics, training, etc. etc., but then when blogs like this come out it appears as if he expects these services to be sold for the lowest cost in the market (Yankee mentality lol).
  • My point is simply to be as factual and content driven as you guys can with these blogs …. It reflects on your brand … I won’t even charge you consulting fees for my response (:
Well, that will wake you up in the morning.

There was a lot of right and wrong in last week’s blog. We were wrong to publish it because it really accomplished nothing. Maybe, the opposite of nothing. Something. If any dealer read this they might walk away angry from the slap-down, and even more inured by reading this blog. We sensed this even before we went to print. It was not about the facts behind the prices, ultimately, it was about the violation of trust. Perhaps the most egregious of our wrongs was in the “diction.” It was written by one with subjective eyes and a master of the pen, but one who could not look beyond this violation of trust. When trust is violated, it seems quite natural to go out and gather facts with a vengeance. Should the facts not support the original emotional conclusion, one tends to just move on, still feeling bruised.

Bottom line: Our client, who took the time to write us, and my partners were correct. Dealer bashing accomplishes nothing. We should have known better. No excuses.

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