Friday, March 18, 2011

If a Tree Falls in the Woods and Nobody Hears it……

In the past week, Steven Wade, aka Swade, of passed the baton to new ownership of his venerable blog as he has moved on to work in interactive media for Saab. The new group has carried on his tradition of providing interesting insights, and all the latest and greatest news from Saab. Recent weeks, at least since the start of the Geneva Autoshow, have been chock full of news from Saab. Today’s big announcements included a good showing by Saab in the US JD Power quality survey, and premium auto component builder ZF (pronounced zed-eff) has entered into a contract with Saab to build subframe and axle assemblies near Trollhattan.

While this may not all be earth-shattering, it is news worthy, and if the Saab cognoscenti are interested in this, so should those who work at Saab dealerships. I am. That’s why I am in the habit of reading Saabsunited and refreshing the page several times a day. However, not every employee here or at other dealers has the time to do this. The one site we do visit and stay on all day is SCNA site called IRIS, where we transact all our business with Saab, and where we derive all our information on service, sales, parts and training. Beyond that, there is a “What’s New” page which will often give news about comings and goings at the company, relay information that’s been in the news about Saab and so on.

I’ve been astounded since the Geneva show that there hasn’t been a single post except to announce the Saab Banner Builder and Story of Saab on Facebook. No mention of the Geneva show and its PhoeniX, 9-5 Combi debut or iQon infotainment system. No mention of Swade leaving Saabsunited to work for Saab. Maybe we all don’t need to be conversant in the ZF deal, but could you imagine a customer coming in and striking up a conversation about Jason Castriota’s PhoeniX being met with a blank stare?

Beyond providing knowledge for the sake of maintaining an educated dealer network, Saab dealers need to maintain their optimism as the brand is being rebuilt. What better way for Saab to trumpet their progress than to post it on the site that all dealerships and almost all their personnel look at daily?! Building our excitement is key in building excitement for Saab owners and prospective buyers. In fact, wouldn’t it be cool if as part of the greater Saab family we heard these things BEFORE the public did.

I’ll get my information, whether Saab puts it on IRIS or not. I just think that Saab needs to recognize what their omission of communication symbolizes to those of us working the trenches. It’s not endearing.


Jason Powell said...

Totally understand the frustration as I feel it daily. Here in Canada, I feel that we at the dealership are less informed from Saab then you in the US. Hopefully this is one of the reasons for Swade going to Saab and giving up his "Baby" in saabsunited. We are the front line and hopefully the communication will improve because like you said, the blank look on a salesman's face would be of great concern to me.

Jason Powell said...

I tried to comment earlier on this but it didn't take. I totally agree with you on the point of information getting to customers before us. I have too scene people talking to customers and have the "I didn't know that" reaction, which is why I also am on saabsunited everday to stay informed. Not sure if it's better for you in the US, but for us in Canada, I don't even want to think of where we'd be without a saabsunited. I'm hoping that with Swade departure, that he will be ensuring better dealer contact as well as customer contact.