I have a friend who recently went to Lake Union SeaRay in Redmond, WA to sell his boat. Nothing fancy, just a nice weekend power boat. His plan, stay off the water for a couple of years while his very young kids became old enough to appreciate boating, then buy something big and powerful from the same dealer. Much to his surprise — and mine — he was given an unbelievable runaround.
First he was told what his boat was worth and “bring it in.” Then he was handed from person to person and finally told, “Oh your boat isn’t worth that, we’ll give you this instead.” But the most amazing part, and this gets to word of mouth marketing, was after the deal was closed the Sales Manager promised call after call, day after day, when this couple would get their check. But no check was ready at the dealership. His wife drove many miles to get there a few times and each time there was another excuse. Or he would say, “I left you a message” when he hadn’t.
Yesterday, they finally got their check but only after she put her foot down.
So what is the outcome of this? Lake Union SeaRay has lost future business from this couple. And this couple is now on a very aggressive campaign to tell as many people as they can about how poorly they were treated.
Remember—no matter how good your social media and word of mouth marketing efforts are, if you give customers a poor experience, you not only may lose them, you may lose many other potential customers.