An Amazing True Story of Cars, Bribes, and Customer Service

November 24th, 2008

(Originally posted on Off Madison Ave blog) Earlier this year, I received a FedEx envelope unexpectedly. It was from Infiniti (Nissan Motors USA). I purchased an Infiniti EX in late December, 2007.

Turns out, according to the letter enclosed in the FedEx, the window sticker on my vehicle listed a “rollover sensor” as standard equipment. Two questions immediately come to mind. First, what is a “rollover sensor”? Second, if you’re going to rollover, or already have done so, what good is a sensor at that point? It’s like a Google alert that says “guess what, you’re losing your ass in the stock market.” A little late.

I continue reading the letter…Apparently they did NOT include the rollover sensor in the car, and in fact had never planned to do so. However, because it was listed as included on the window sticker, Infiniti will immediately write me a check for $2000 or BUY THE CAR BACK FROM ME.

Again, questions come to mind. First, how fired is the person that included “rollover sensor” on the window sticker, and how glad is that person that they work in the U.S. instead of Malaysia or someplace where a firing squad would be readying? Second, is Infiniti just trying to buy me out of a potential class-action lawsuit? Third, have I ever seen such outrageously amazing customer service and proactive public relations?

Every Man Has His Price

I mean seriously. The chances that I would ever know or find out that the sensor was not included is just about nil. And even if I did find out, Infiniti could quite easily give me a free oil change and I’d be totally fine with it.

But to proactively draw my attention to it, send me a FedEx, and buy my silence for two grand? Wow. (Ironically, based on this blog post they have failed to buy my silence, but maybe this whole thing is an elaborate social media experiment by Infiniti to trigger good brand buzz around the EX). (Note: Since I originally posted this, I heard from a few other customers that received similar letters, but no groundswell for or against Infiniti seems to have occurred).

If social media’s ability to spread news (good and bad) like room temperature butter on a hot English muffin has resulted in this type of corporate get ahead of the curve-ness, then Viva Social Media.

What do you think? Good move by Infiniti? A waste of $2k per customer? Social media experiment?

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