Like 99% of people that start one, this blog has gotten stagnant. It’s hard to come up with topics that I have something interesting to say about, and even harder to find time to post them. Hence, I haven’t posted one in 13 months. But I was so irritated by the experience I had this afternoon with one of my favorite places to visit that I had to dust it off and post this. Enjoy.
No, this isn’t a post about my car. It’s about Road America – yes, the “RDAMCA” license plate I have on my Mustang is in reference to the fantastic Wisconsin racetrack that has helped develop my passion for racing and cars. I try and make it back at least once a year, even though I now live in Kansas City. I’ve got a track map framed in our house, next to a framed illustration of a group of race car drivers throughout history hanging out in Elkhart Lake, WI (where Road America is located). I love that place. Love it.
I went back in July of this year for their epic vintage racing weekend. As part of most race weekends there, a lunchtime event called “track touring” takes place; that’s a time for ordinary people to take their street cars onto the racetrack and experience what it’s like to drive the track, with controlled speeds, of course. This was my second time doing the track touring and I had some concerns about how the event was run, so when I got back to KC, I wrote a letter expressing my concerns and offering some solutions. If you’d like to read the letter, download it here.
I didn’t expect them to call, thank me profusely and tell me all my ideas were being implemented immediately. But I did expect to at least receive a form letter or email, thanking me for writing. It’s now October 18 (almost three months later) and I’ve received nothing. So, I went to Twitter today and tweeted at @roadamerica, which you can see below:
Ok, this response was kind of vague and mildly sarcastic but no big deal. So I replied.
More unnecessary, insulting sarcasm. Don’t get me wrong, I love sarcasm – just ask my wife. But not in this way. So I replied once more.
And this person still doesn’t realize I’m getting more and more irritated, or they just don’t care – either excuse is bad. Would it have been that hard to respond with “Sorry to hear that – not sure what happened. I’ll DM you the correct person that it should go to in a sec.” Or even better, “Email it to me – I’ll make sure it gets to the right person.” Not to mention this person not understanding the purpose of retweeting – it’s to share answers/info that your other followers might find useful. Pretty sure most of their followers don’t care about my simple question.
It’s not like I was trying to write a letter to Tim Cook or Alan Mulally; we’re talking about a privately-owned business that has 10 people listed in their staff directory. Two of those ten people are the Marketing & Promotions manager and the Communications manager. Two people that should care enough about the brand they represent to make sure whomever manages their social media accounts does it right. And this sure as heck isn’t it.
Instead of taking the 30 seconds to help me, they took the sarcastic way out. So I’m going to use the power that I have by posting about it, and probably using this in future case studies, presentations, etc. about the wrong way to use social media. I did email my letter to the Track Operations manager, so we’ll see if he responds or not.
That response won’t change the point of this post though: if you’re going to have a social media presence, do it right. Don’t use it to anger your loyal fans.
EDIT: Finally received responses from Road America today (10/19), the morning after I posted this.
That’s all I was looking for…in August. It’s just disappointing that it took a bunch of tweets and me calling them out in a blog post to get the canned, basic response that meets average customer service standards. I shouldn’t be baffled by great brands that can’t even get basics right, but this is just one of many examples out there. It’s a great reminder that, as marketers, we can’t ignore the basics even as we chase the next big thing.