David Oates: How To Repair Your Dealership's Reputation

By: Michael Cirillo   |   09 Jun 2022
Dave Oates APR

David Oates is a crisis PR expert with 25 years of experience in the field. He helps organizations repair their brand's reputation in the press and online. With the emergence of web3.0 and a rapidly evolving digital landscape, there are sure to be brand pivots and crises and with David's proven approach, he is on a mission to help businesses handle any PR situation.

 

 

Notes About Repairing Your Dealership's Reputation:

01:32 - David shares his background and how his career in the Navy positioned him to work in public relations. In particular, after nine years in the Navy, he was promoted to a public affairs officer and found himself dealing with many different types of PR cases that required heavy repair. 

02:42 - After the military, Dave worked for different tech companies and agencies and found that, given his background, he would deal with mass layoffs, product recalls, shareholder disputes, and CEOs behaving poorly. He says, "Not to boast, but I don't get nervous too much about any crisis matter for any industry of any size."

03:18 - Over the years, David chose to focus primarily on crisis PR — an opportunity accelerated given the fact that we each carry a small supercomputer in our pockets. At any moment in time, we have microphones, cameras, and an unlimited distribution network at our fingertips.

10:11 - David shares a baseball analogy and relates it to personal and corporate growth. There is a high degree of probability that you will fail, and that's okay. "Everybody is so concerned about the box score at the end of the day, but what they don't watch in the box score is the win/loss, who had the most runs, and who didn't. The only thing that matters is 100 percent. What matters is how many at-bats you took and how many times you swung at the pitch."

11:53 - When it comes to crisis management we need people to understand that failure is okay. We need to demystify it so that when it happens we are able to keep moving forward.

 18:15 - David shares why he thinks the fight or flight mentality causes our natural inclination to either fight or say nothing. This can be harmful when dealing with negative reviews or naysayers because it leads to being hell-bent on creating drama. 

19:00 - How to respond to negative reviews or comments about your dealership online. 

Listen to the full episode for even more insights and context about how to repair your dealership's reputation.

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Thanks, David Oates

If you enjoyed this conversation with David Oates, please let them know by clicking on the links below and sending him a message.

 

Looking for a reliable, high-performance dealership marketing partner? Visit https://www.flexdealer.com to discover why more and more dealers are choosing them over big-box providers.

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

[00:00:40] My guest today is a crisis PR expert with 25 years of experience in the field. He helps organizations repair their brand's reputation in press and online something. I'm sure we can all relate to, especially as we're moving into a deeper and deeper digital world, he can handle any crisis PR situation and train others to do the same.

[00:01:02] Well, that's lucky for us, Dave Oates. Thanks so much for joining us on the dealer playbook podcast. This is great. Thanks for having me on his pleasure to meet you. First of all, how, how do you get into crisis PR? Like we hear about PR how do you get into crisis? And be in the, be in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time.

[00:01:22] I'm not sure which one you want to go to. So my, my background, my background is so bass ackwards. I'll try to go. I'll try. Uh, synopsize it a little bit. So I started as a Navy officer, uh, driving ships and about halfway through a nine-year career, I became a public affairs officer versus a part-time. And then as a full-time Navy public affairs officer.

[00:01:41] And when you're military forward deployed operations, I had the privilege of doing so in Haiti, I was on an aircraft carrier for two years. I had, you know, different operations in between crisis is just part of the deal when you're forward deployed. And we used to call it the tip of the spear. Stuff's going to happen.

[00:01:58] And, and just on the aircraft carrier alone that I was on in the late nineties for a couple of years, we had a aircraft to F 14 Tomcat crashed in the middle of the Pacific ocean. We had had a couple of, uh, sailors lose limbs because of an accident on board. I had a grand theft auto case in Dubai. I had rape cases in, uh, Australia, and I had a whole bunch of other hot war environments and things like that.

[00:02:23] So you. Pretty quickly as a young, at the time I joined the carrier, I was 29 years old. And essentially you think about it as a corporate communication head of about a 7,500 person organization, because it was not just the carrier was eight other ships that went with us on deployment. So you'll learn how to swim pretty quickly and the people and the deep waters.

[00:02:42] And I went to the private sector about 20 odd years ago, I worked for a couple of agencies focused in startups and tech. So because of my background, I was the guy that was always doing. Mass layoffs, product recalls, shareholder disputes, CEOs behaving badly. You name it. I've seen a flare of it. And I don't, I guess that's boasting, but I don't get nervous too much about any crisis matter for any industry of any size, but how I got to start at doing it on my own is.

[00:03:12] I've had my own shop for about 16 years, but I focus exclusively on crisis PR for the last four. Thanks to these little devices that we all carry around are essentially whether you're trained at it or not, or our own broadcast vehicles. Right. We've all got a mic, a camera, and thanks to our social media accounts of distribution system and organizations big and small can have their reputation to be called into question and literally have everything appended on an Instagram post.

[00:03:37] So I'm privileged to do what I do for a wide range of it. I've never served in the military. But what I will say is now that I think this through I've had my own PR crisis and that is that ever since I saw top gun for the first time, a, the F 14 Tomcat was one of my favorite fighter jets. I thought I was going to be a Naval aviator until I was like, Um, I had to learn to ride motorcycles.

[00:04:07] I had to marry a blonde beautiful woman. And at some point we were going to ride. To the marina and make out on the back of my motorcycle, uh, did not get the pilot's license married, the beautiful blonde got the motorcycle. She won't get on this thing with me. That's not a bad track record. Three out of five would run.

[00:04:31] Right. There's still time. There's still time. Um, so I love that you have history, uh, in the, in the military, obviously thank you for your service. We appreciate that. Um, but I, I think, you know, I was talking about. Just recently, actually I was in Kentucky last week, speaking to a Naval aviator and, and we were talking much about the fact that because of his experience, to your point where crisis kind of isn't a crisis to you anymore, like you almost see it like the matrix.

[00:04:58] He really felt like his service in the military provided him with a different perspective about life in general. Um, do you feel that, is that, do you feel the same way as that, is that kinda what leads into. Based or was it just your sheer exposure to so many different types of crisises, both, right. I think it's, it was combination of two things.

[00:05:18] One is you experienced a lot in the military and I was, I was a young, you know, I was a young kid who graduated. I hadn't yet turned 22 when I put on my instant bars. And I was in for, like I said, about a nine little overnight. And you two things that they teach you in the military is one how to, how to go beyond your expectations.

[00:05:39] Everybody has their own limits, right? The mind is a, is a real strong organ because it can talk you out. Anything you don't think you're good enough. You don't think you're smart enough. You don't think you're capable. And the military basically puts you in positions where you think there is no way I'm succeeding at this.

[00:05:55] Like, um, I have been set up for failure and you have to rely on your own. Initiative in order to get things done. And an early on you're under the tutelage of some real seasoned, enlisted personnel, and some officers who expect you to fail. And this was the lesson that I had to learn for myself early on is it is perfectly okay to fail, provided that you're in an environment that is supposed to train you for that.

[00:06:24] Because from failure, we all learn our lessons in life and you realize you can do more. And I think. Is something that I have taken with me since that has served me extraordinarily well in good times, but also in real tough business times since then when I've been in the private sector. But the second thing is you do see a whole lot of different things.

[00:06:46] I, I talk about, you know, the fact that I was on an aircraft carrier and I was essentially the corporate communications head as a 29 year old for 75 posts. Organization that was scattered among nine assets that traveled halfway around the world and back. And I talked to PR people who've been in the corporate side for all of their career and they didn't see that type of opportunity until well later.

[00:07:11] And I was, and they said, how did that happen? I said, I picked up the phone and the detailer in Washington, DC, who starts out by saying, Hey buddy, what? You knew you were getting screwed. We're going to position. That was just, it sounded awful. It sounded like there was a no win situation and you figure it out.

[00:07:27] So for all of those things, I'm extraordinarily grateful for my time in the service. And. I try not to be that old guy at the, you know, the old veterans home that's sound about in my day. But, but I, I, I guess I do look back finally on it. Cause I, I still rely on those lessons. Now, here I am 22, 23 years in corporate, 15 years on my own 30 years gaining, you know, having a paycheck.

[00:07:54] Right? What was experienced those first nine years were pivotal. It makes total sense to me. I mean, like I said, I've never served in the military, but in my early twenties, I went to the Philippines. Um, I did missionary work there, humanitarian type work, um, had to completely immerse myself in that culture and that experience.

[00:08:13] I feel like a taught me how to think much more critically than I had ever thought. Um, probably ever before in my life, as a young kid ripped out of the comfort of, you know, north America thrown into a third world country seeing and witnessing things you've never experienced. That gave me perspective about how to navigate life at a whole new level.

[00:08:35] And I gotta be honest, and this is probably the biggest douchebaggery thing to say. I'm like, did nobody else learn how to think? I still few people know how to use their brains. Oh, hell no. So nobody teaches you that, right? Everybody teaches. Everybody teaches. And, and this isn't a denigration on the etiquette education system and understand the reasons to do that.

[00:08:54] So apologies to anybody who's going to take umbrage with what I'm about ready to say, but we're also worried as a society about failing that we teach to facts, but we don't necessarily teach at an early enough age to the country. The facts. Right? So here's what I tell people. I, I have the privilege of doing some volunteer work with college and high school students through a large rotary club that I'm involved with here in Southern California.

[00:09:18] And I'm involved in rotary international on some other elements. I tell kids you're supposed to try new things, right. You're supposed to take a chance and get out of your comfort zone. And for me, I lucked out. I, and I say I lucked out because I got to military. There was no way on earth. I should have been in there.

[00:09:34] Save for a retired Lieutenant commander by the name of John Wesley gainer, the third at Gaithersburg high school who saw something in me that I didn't see in myself and put me in a position that I was able to secure an ROTC scholarship and then mono my way through college. But I tell them, look, it doesn't have to be in the military, right.

[00:09:49] It could be. Foreign service. It could be missionary work. It could be something you do in your backyard. The point is, is that if you think for yourself in a certain situation, like, oh, I, there's no way I'm going to succeed at that. That's the time you jump in for that. And maybe you don't and you know what, what's the worst thing that happens.

[00:10:11] The worst thing that happens is you fail and you learn a lesson and you move on. Everybody's so worried about the box score at the end of the day, but what they don't watch in the box score. So baseball is my first love. I'm going to go here on analogy is they look at the win-loss who had the most runs, who didn't.

[00:10:25] And that's, that's the only thing that matters S a hundred percent. The thing that matters is how many at-bats you took and how many times you swung at a pitch, because guess what? The best player in baseball persons making exhilaration dollars a year, who has a batting average of three 50 fails two out of every three times, they attempt to do their primary job, which is to get the bat on the ball and put it in.

[00:10:50] Nope. That's not what happens. Right. They fail at it two or three times, and then they have the audacity at least three days later to get up and try the same damn thing again. And that's the secret to life. We don't teach that enough. And it took me until my twenties to figure that out. And I though, if I can help kids figure that out at an earlier age that you just got to try, everything will work out, you'll get your hits, you'll get your runs.

[00:11:12] You're going to have a lot of scrapes, cuts and losses at the, in between. And that's perfectly okay. I love that. And, and it makes me think of something. My good friend, David Spees, Zack said is very well known in the automotive industry and, and throughout, you know, just a, a vast experience that he's had in his career.

[00:11:30] And on a recent podcast episode of his, um, he said you either succeed at achieving the whole goal or you don't make it fully. But you still progressed. You still, so, so another, just, I love the paradigm shift on failure. Like it's you learn something you still gained so much. Maybe you didn't only get there, but you got, you got somewhere.

[00:11:53] Yeah, we get, we got to teach. We got to teach kids that failed. Failure is perfectly fine. In fact, that happens all the time, provided that you've stepped up to the plate and you've tried right. That the attempts are what matters the shots on goal. If you want to use a hockey analogy, whatever it is that works for you.

[00:12:10] The thing that will, the thing that I still look back. I was just at a networking event before this. And we were talking about what our regrets are and the regrets that I had as the times in which I talked myself out of doing something. Right. Cause Della failures of the time that you, you didn't even step up and try that.

[00:12:25] Well, what if, if only I did that, those are the regrets that I still carry with myself in high school and college and some cases. First year and a half in the military until I woke up one day, he said, you know, I'm failing because I'm not even trying well, damn. If I'm going to fail, I might as well give it a shot and we'll figure it out from there.

[00:12:43] And at that point, once I had, once I trained my mind to overcome the fear of failure, Stuff started happening. Right. And, and I want to be clear, cause I've sort of mentioned this in the beginning. It's not been all better roses for the last 31 years. And even in my own private practice there, there were some really rough lean sucky years I think is the technical term.

[00:13:05] But I knew I could get myself out of it. I knew that there would be a solution I just had to keep trying and that got me through and I'm, and I'm grateful for it. I love that. And this is actually a. Segue into something else I wanted to talk to you about, because I love that we started here and we talk about the perspective required in order to see crisis, not as a crisis, almost to, to alleviate panic mode.

[00:13:31] However, Now we introduce the business side of it and the money side of it. And all of a sudden our perception is that the stakes go way up and boy, we cannot afford to screw up. So, so when it comes to crisis and then we'll, we'll talk about online a little bit in a minute, but when it, when it comes to crisis, how do you alleviate than the fear of failure when money is on.

[00:13:55] Yeah, it's a great question. I don't say that I alleviate the fear completely, right. Because I don't know if any of us alleviate the fear, but I can help people manage it. And it usually is to show them the path that they're on and the impact that it will have versus another communication path that still may, in-car incur some level of pain.

[00:14:18] Right. But. Because you have to, you have to be open. You have to be transparent. You have to express in some cases, empathy, even if it's not culpability, because it's not your fault, you still have to express empathy and action. That that takes a lot of business owners. Auto dealerships, particularly ones that own chains of auto dealers, you know, it takes them out of their comfort zone because they're largely been successful.

[00:14:42] This is an overgeneralization, but you know, walk me, you know, stay with me on this one. They are large successful because they have two specific characteristics, whether they're in auto dealerships or. Industry they've ignored the naysayers. People who have told them, you can't do it. You're not good enough.

[00:15:00] It's a highly competitive market. What do you think? And, and they have tuned that out and they've kept their eyes on the prize. And the second thing is if somebody's throwing an obstacle in the way, whether it's permitting for a facility, right, or. You know, uh, an ability to carve out a market or something like that.

[00:15:17] They have barreled through it. They have fought their way through it. They've either knock that barrier down. They've gone over it around it or whatever, but those two characteristics, the fight or flight mode as I call them, do not serve well. When somebody's taking a pot shot at you on Instagram and calling you worthless because they'll either tune it out, which means that narrative then goes festers and goes all over the social media.

[00:15:37] Or they respond in argumentative terms, which only validates the other, person's saying, Hm they're ticked off enough. Me thinks dots, protest too much. So I take them out of that. So I tell them, look it going this route may still provide you some pain, but it will be far less. And you get back to normal operations.

[00:15:55] And that's what I tell folks. I said, my goal here is to not try to spend something that isn't going to be truthful. My goal is to try to put this in context, have a communication strategy that endears herself, at least on some level, or there's an acceptance for the audiences, whether that's employees, customers, partners, investors, whom.

[00:16:16] And say, look, let's give these people a chance to fix whatever it is. Even if the fix is simply miscommunication and get them a chance to get back to normal operations, preserve the revenue stream to the best possible ensure profitability or a way back to profitability and get them to be able to fix whatever it is that they're fixing and in doing so they might find that they endear themselves even more to audiences, but it is out of their comfort zone.

[00:16:40] This makes me think of. So earlier you held up your phone, right? And you said here here's the broadcast device. I say this all the time on the show, my listeners are probably sick of me saying it, but what's the statistic got to say this. You got to hear the same thing a zillion times before it sinks in this sucker right here has transfigured teleported us to an alternate reality where stupidity is the.

[00:17:05] And, and, and, and, you know, like, I'm sure you've thought of how do I create the drunk text app that like, you know, yeah. A filter, because what I see here, I see it all the time. People go online, they're fighting, they're arguing, they're this. And I sit here and I go, do you realize that you're arguing with.

[00:17:31] Dude, that's got Cheeto dust fingerprints on it, but this is just what he does in his mom's basement. Or what mitzvah do you realize you're arguing with a 12 year old Japanese girl. No. And so it's funny, right. There could be an app for that one, right? Artificial intelligence, natural language processing app that sort of says, like you use keywords and I'm going to hold onto this for a couple of hours.

[00:17:58] And when you sober up, you can look at, you know, do you really want to say that that would be kind of. The problem is it would really, uh, disrupt the business model of Facebook and Instagram. And tick-tock because they love it when there's animosity, anger and panic, because guess what? That draws eyeballs.

[00:18:15] It's, it's the same thing when we slow down, because there was a car accident, right? We, we, we are, we are drawn or re, or we, why we watched the Kardashians or whatever the Frick, you know, it's just, it's just nuts. What we, what we, you know, sort of stop and watch the deal though, is. When we, when you have an organization and an executive team that operates on that fight or flight mode right there, our natural inclination is to fight back or say nothing.

[00:18:42] And the problem, as you said with that is you're sort of barking up a tree that is hell bent in many cases on creating that drama, maybe just for their own self, you know, self promotion and, you know, has nothing really to do with you. You just happen to be the subject matter of choice for that day. And I tell folks.

[00:19:00] You really have to think about why you're responding to them. And, and this goes specifically the car dealership. So let me give you a good example, car dealers, all the time, have a real tough go at keeping the online reviews happy, right? Because people don't write reviews unless they're not happy for what ever reason.

[00:19:16] Right. They had a bad day, their dog just died. Uh, the service, whatever reason that they got at your dealership happened to be on a bad day. Okay. Make some mistakes and they're going to chop about it. And if you respond in a way that's angry, it only elevates the conversation. So you have to answer them in a way.

[00:19:36] That diffuses the situation. And even if it's a total bogus review, you are saying it in such a way that not necessarily to change the mindset of the reviewer, that reviewer is gone, right. That reviewer is, is, is cemented in their viewpoints. And that's how it is, but you're Telegraph and everybody else.

[00:19:55] Either a, Hey, you did make a mistake, right? We're all human and you're fixing it. So there's a little bit of understanding that you care about that. Or there are ways in which you can do it without anger and animosity, just to sort of Telegraph to everybody else who's on your Yelp page or Google reviews or what.

[00:20:12] That this may not be a real customer. This might be a competitor. This might be bogus and you can do it in a way that lets everybody else know. You really shouldn't take this review at face value, but discipline and requires monitoring or requires a steady strain to do that. You just can't ignore it. And then months later, go back to it.

[00:20:30] You kind of lost your credibility at that. This is so critical too. I was just at an event in Kentucky where I heard from Greg Gifford. Who's one of the foremost SEO experts in the world. I mean, he just travels all over the world. He works in automotive and out of automotive and, and does some really cool stuff.

[00:20:47] And he was talking about how online reviews in particular, Google reviews are one of Google's many ranking signals that. And so of course they want to encourage people leaving reviews, but to your point, the number of replied, um, reviews, negative reviews. And I love that you brought up the fact that, you know, in, in many cases, there may not be any credibility to any of these things like you're you were throwing out examples and I almost blurted out.

[00:21:19] Yeah. They're mad that Ikea changed the catch-up brand for the. Hot dog, but you were, you were trying and I mean, car dealers don't have the best reputation sadly to begin with, especially when you look at Gallup polls, um, like it's just, there's this negative stigma that there are many who are proactively seeking to do away with, but, but you also said something that made me think of language, and I want to get your, your thought on this.

[00:21:48] When I get an email from somebody. Whether they want conflict or not. When they use words, like, since like, since you didn't submit this to us on time, we weren't there. And I'm like, I'm outreach through the screen right now. Yeah. Oh yeah. I'm going to strangle you. Yeah. Yeah. Like I paid you to do a job and now you're throwing a, since you didn't ask me.

[00:22:12] Oh, right. And we see that all all a lot. So what's your take on language? Does it. Okay, can the language word imp in particular specific words, either skewed our emotional response, not going to lie your, uh, your characters, uh, trades, right. There were freaking me out a little bit. You did such a nice job of sort of having that moment where I thought he's really gonna lose it.

[00:22:35] He's seriously gonna be seriously going to flip out on me. That's a really good, this'll be the first on that one. Well done, sir. You should go now. Um, no, I, I agree with you, right? So it goes back to what I said is, is I don't care what the crisis is. I don't care what the industry, I don't care what the situation is about.

[00:22:52] Do express every response as an organization or as an individual empathy and action. You have to acknowledge that somebody is feeling the way they are. Even if the reason for there to be feeling is not founded. In fact, you have to say, man, I'm really sorry. You feel that way. I'm really sorry that, that you're feeling that the experience, wasn't a good one for you.

[00:23:14] We'd love to talk to you about how we can make that. Right. And helpfully clarify some of the things that occur from that. And let's see if we can come to a resolution, whether that's an offline conversation or online conversation. The first thing people want to hear is that they've been heard the reason why.

[00:23:30] Animosity and anger occur is because somebody is fearful that they have been disenfranchised and fear. Fear will always if left unchecked turn to anger, not S you know, sociologists probably told me that there's a whole lot of other scientific fact on there. Fine. I can tell you 30 years of experience, I've seen it every time.

[00:23:50] Fear left. Converts to anger and anger will then manifest itself because it's so damn easy via social media and texts and non-right reviews because everybody has the ability to vent and they feel that's their only recourse. So if you don't respond in an empathetic and then fall, but actual orient way, how you're going to actually clarify something or fix something.

[00:24:10] If you've done something wrong. Then it's just empty words. So both of those have to be present for that. And your response from a language standpoint, in an online review or a social media post, or an email, you know, that comes in through the website of the dealership or wherever needs to include those two items.

[00:24:28] And those are not skillsets that are natural, particularly for successful people for the reasons I stated earlier. So they have to be trained. You have to have, you have to be able to understand when you see. And, you know, when you see that type of animosity, how you'll respond to, uh, yeah, it makes perfect sense.

[00:24:47] And it cracks me up that you thought I was going somewhere. I was just like, no, but you're right. Like that, that's the power of words. One word, I think, needs to be removed from everyone's vocabulary, as it pertains to serving others is the word, unfortunately,

[00:25:06] Unfortunately makes me want to, I will buy a plane ticket to wherever you live to burn your house down if you unfortunately, so I will, uh, Uh, not, not in a car dealership, actually. I, I, I don't, I I'm the kind of guy in probably, sorry, sorry. Car dealerships. I'm the person who buys and buys the vehicle new and then runs it, you know, drives it till the wheels come off.

[00:25:29] Um, but I am, I am a regular service guy, so hopefully that'll hopefully not all. But, um, I will. So I've never, I know I've always had good experiences with dealers when I've used them, but I'll give you one in the airline industry. And I still remember it and I refuse to fly this airline to this day, 16 years later, I won't, I won't, uh, give the name on that one there, but it starts with, um, a United and we'll just leave it at that.

[00:25:54] And, and I remember. When I was going through a TSA checkpoint at an airport coming back from business and in the east coast. And I still have to go through the. Counter. I was, I was going to the ticket counter and the ticket counter was trying to wait on and I'm like, I got 30 minutes and that TSA line, this is before they had like TSA.

[00:26:15] Pre-check not that TSA line is at least 40 minutes. What can you do right now to help me? Because I don't think I'm going to make the plane. And I swear to you, the ticket agent looked at me. And gave me a shrug of the shoulder and a ma I was like, are you kidding? Seriously? I have a problem. I'm telling you about it proactively.

[00:26:37] So we can maybe find a resolution, even if we're like, look, I'm sorry, here's what I can do. And put you on standby. Let's see if you can make it into here. Something to show me that I, you care. And she could not have been any further. Uh, way from caring, from showing empathy for my situation at a cross country flight back to Southern California, it's a Wednesday night I got to work.

[00:26:57] First thing Thursday morning, it's afternoon. I'm like, I don't make this white. I don't get it. Right. And I was like, can you just at least tell me what was going on? Yeah, it's sort of the, unfortunately, unfortunately you're basically telegraphing. There's nothing I can do. It's like, oh really? Oh, okay. I'm the customer I'm paying money.

[00:27:17] I think I at least should have some acknowledgement that I get where you're coming from. Let me see what I can do. And if the answer is there's not a lot you can do, then at least show me some empathy. Yeah. You know, it's w what blows my mind about this, uh, scenario in particular is the, the margin gap here.

[00:27:34] So for example, flying is not cheap for the. It's it's a lot of money. Yeah. The problem is contrast that against two airline revenues. They're not making any money now. And so lots of money for us expect, you know, VIP level service because we're, we're paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars for these plane tickets, thousands.

[00:27:57] In some cases, contrast that against the people making no money, like there's no motivator really for them to service us at all. So the, the, the challenge here is. You know, there might be those listening saying, uh, it's a big airline. What do they care if they lose your business? No, no. They care because they need every last penny that they can get their hand on.

[00:28:17] Well, and even if they, even if they didn't right, the issue becomes I now this was 15 years ago, right? So this is before social media, but I, now, if that happens, guess what I'm doing as I'm standing, waiting in the 40 minute TSA line, I'm on Instagram, I'm on Facebook. I'm on whatever. I can't believe the sucky experience I just had at this ticket counter at this airport for this airline, you suck, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

[00:28:46] Right. And I am all over the place. I'm tagging the organizations, everybody else, all my friends are going that's BS, blah, blah, blah. And the next thing you know, they got a crisis on their hand. That's, that's where I get called in a lot of that time. And you know, in, in retrospect to you, we talked about, I felt disenfranchised by the employee.

[00:29:03] Well, there's a reason why. Employee felt the way they did. And I would submit to you, they felt that way because they're probably disenfranchised. They didn't feel empowered to think about it. And they, maybe that employee, at some point in their career had tried to make things good and had felt like there weren't communicated effectively by their employer to help with that.

[00:29:24] And they've sort of given up right. If they were always that way, then there's a hiring problem. And the HR department should, should take note of that. But I think in some cases, most people have a get a job because they want to do a good job for that one. They're interested in that one. There, there are people person you don't get into that type of line of work without at least having some sort of ability to converse.

[00:29:44] And this person probably. Just disenfranchised and their job, I hates their job is the only thing I can come up with. Well, then my question is what did that organization do to communicate and empower that person, particularly in previous sort of crisis matters many crisis like that. And this is what I tell organizations.

[00:30:02] And it's, it's absolutely imperative for dealerships, right? Your first and most important audience in any communication. Is your staff because your staff is your frontline have conversations to people who are wanting to give you money. If they do not feel like they're empowered that they are cared for that, they are informed that they are kept in the know they will translate.

[00:30:25] To the person that walked into the facility either to buy a new car or to, to do a test drive or in your service and your body shop maintenance, right. They were the ones who will then determine how they will treat others. If they don't feel empowered. Anything that you say in the public will be undercut by their attitude.

[00:30:43] When somebody walks into the showroom, that's just the way it is. Yeah, and, and this is a topic that's on the minds of many dealers should be every organization, especially as we get deeper and deeper into this digital ecosystem. And metaverse, and, uh, you know, consumer sentiments are changing a little bit, are shifting how they research and buy and.

[00:31:04] We're realizing that people always mattered. They're going to continue to always matter how they choose to get to the point of transaction. Is it going to look a lot different than what we're used to, but there's going to be so many human touchpoints and I love that you bring culture work environment.

[00:31:20] I would submit to, and I'd love your thoughts on this. Um, you know, as we wind down, this is something that, to your point, I don't think employees, staff members are going to see. Um, voice like this is something that you have to proactively as a leader, you have to proactively lean into this and assume likely that there's something they're not satisfied about in their current position and the work they do.

[00:31:48] Uh, or, or, you know, just anything as it relates to performance, I would agree, but I'd also think that's not specific to employee. I think most people don't care for one-on-one in-person confrontation. It's uncomfortable for many people, right? Unfortunately that's where these little devices have sort of become that outlet that I talked about.

[00:32:09] They don't feel like I can tell somebody, look, I'm not really happy with how this is working out. And here's why, and what happens is that, that they will go voice it in some sort of social media or online review platform. Employees are no different. That's why everybody's gets shocked. I shouldn't say everybody, but a lot of organizations get shocked about their Glassdoor rating.

[00:32:29] It's like, who are these people? Like, why am I getting two stars on glass? Because they are concerned about actually having a conversation with their supervisor or anybody up the food chain for fear of losing their job for fear of being, um, you know, basically, you know, marked for that when they're, or maybe quite frankly, they just don't like the confrontation.

[00:32:49] Yeah. These little devices that we all hold right now, allow them to have an outlet to say things that we say in the back of our mind, that that can be in the forefront of that. And that's the world in which we live. So you're right to, to get to the point dealers and any other organizations need to proactively engage all audiences.

[00:33:08] About how they're feeling for that. And I see that in, um, in all sports or forums, but particularly I think dealerships, you know, hopefully they use it well. Is how was your recent experience? Give us an internal ranking, a one to five, you know, and if, if they enjoyed that say, Hey, we'd love you to write a review, but otherwise just thanks for the feedback, because what will happen is you'll get tipped off on things that they may not have told you.

[00:33:31] Because they didn't want the confrontation and you had an opportunity to make things right without ever having to have it blow up into the public domain. And employees are certainly somebody in audience that you should do that. I love it. Uh, how can those listening learn more about your business and, and get in touch with.

[00:33:48] I appreciate that. Uh, I've got a website, obviously, public relations, security.com, public relations, security.com. But if you Google Dave odes crisis PR I'm up on LinkedIn and I've got a Twitter account and a, uh, an Instagram and, and, but by all means, I hope people can reach out. And just, even if it's just, uh, you know, especially for dealers, And other people in the industry, if they just want a quick question answered, you, go to my website, you can schedule 15 minutes with me, free consultation.

[00:34:16] I love what I do. If I can be a sounding board for something, it takes us 15 minutes to do so I'm only too happy to make brilliant. I had a blast having you on. Thanks so much for joining me on the dealer playbook. And a tree. Thanks for the deck.

[00:34:40] I'm Michael Chirillo and you've been listening to the dealer playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, please click the subscribe button wherever you're listening. Right now, leave a rating or review and share it with a colleague. Thanks for listening.