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Jiffy Lube may not be engaging. Are you listening?

2009 March 30
by Steve Lawson

On Saturday my nephew Josh posted a quick status update on Facebook that caught my eye.  It was a simple post; short enough to be a Twitter “tweet” as well.  His post, dated March 28, 2009 at 1:25 pm read:

 “Josh Elman is jiffy lube not so jiffy”

Millions of  posts like this appear on social networks every day and are commented on, voted on, ingested, digested, forwarded, re-tweeted . . . you get the picture.  If your company is not listening  to these on-line discussions and participating in them you are missing out on one of the most effective means of connecting with your happy, and not-so-happy customers.

My nephew’s post drove me to search Twitter to see what others are saying about Jiffy Lube.  You can judge the results of this search for yourself, (click here to see the search results) but it doesn’t seem to me that a majority of those posting on Twitter are big fans of the oil change company.  In fact, it looks to me like the negative and indifferent comments far out-weigh the positives.

Before the emergence of web 2.0 conventional wisdom held that an unsatisfied customer would tell 10 people.  Today, news travels faster than ever and an unsatisfied customer can reach tens of thousands of people very quickly.  Coreen Bailor wrote an article titled “Keeping Pace with the New Influencers“  in 2007 when social networking was in its infancy.

In her article Bailor wrote about a conference keynote speech delivered by Paul Gillin, former editor-in-chief of Computerworld and founding editor-in-chief of TechTarget.  According to Bailor’s account Gillin touched on:

“the frenzy that followed from AOL customer Vincent Ferrari’s dreadful June 2006 ordeal of trying to cancel his account, a firestorm that began about when Ferrari posted an audio file of the call on his blog. Shortly thereafter he contacted The Consumerist, a consumer advocacy site, and Digg, a site that allows users to share and vote on content. Within days of Ferrari’s cancellation fiasco, his story was picked up by several major news outlets including The New York Post, The New York Times, and NBC’s Today show.


“If you had typed ‘Vincent Ferrari and AOL’ into Google on June 19 you would have gotten zero results. If you do it today you get about 17,000 results,” Gillin said. “It’s hard to say how many people saw this video or heard this audio file, but it was clearly in the tens of millions. Traditional marketing wisdom has been that a dissatisfied [customer] tells 10 people. [But] today they have the capacity to tell 10,000 people or 10 million people with rare cases like this, and that’s the change that we’re talking about, that’s the change that’s going on right now.”

Are you engaging in on-line conversations with your customers about your product and services?   Are you even aware that these conversations are taking place?

It’s evident that the good folks at Jiffy Lube are not engaging.  They aren’t even listening.  They are just talking.  Watch for yourself.


When you watched that video what did you hear? 

To me, and I’m sure to a lot of others who watched (excluding the Jiffy Lube marketing and PR folks) it was a lot of white noise, more corporate “blah, blah, blah”. 

Because when brands just talk.  Nobody listens. 

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