Monday, January 16, 2006

Fastlane is GM's Voice to the Customer

One of the top-level benefits of a blog is that it brings you face-to-face with the unedited sentiments of your user community.

The General Motors blog, Fastlane, is great reading, especially for car enthusiasts (that's just about all of us, isn't it?). GM executives post to give readers an inside-look at the company Fastlane itself is full of user-centered content instead of the expected defend-or-criticize mode of engagement with the company. A bonus for enthusiasts is a concise listing of relevant websites in the Fastlane blogroll.

But it's the reader comments on Fastlane that make this so valuable to GM ... even when they hear stuff they don't want to hear ... it at least gives them a way of hearing the market and building trust. A lot more effective, in my opinion, than the company's rack of puffery advertising that communicates very little of use to car buyers and car owners.

Online comments and sentiments can make or break a business.Take how Sony's spyware debacle was triggered and accelerated by disparaging blog comments and forced the company to change direction in a matter of days. The good news is that Sony listened and responded.

Such listening to the marketplace can put any company into the fastlane.


At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

I think the General Motors blog, Fastlane, is a great idea and would be of great use to many people in the future, especially GM car owners. Other companies can look towards GM for guidance and ideas if they were interested in creating a blog. I like how it showcases different cars and gives you new information about them in the podcasts. It is a new way of highlighting their product rather than on commercials and advertising, just like you said. I agree with you about the readers comments being valuable to GM because it is solid, constructive criticism that can be of use if GM knows how to execute it the right way.
If I owned a GM car or was interested in buying a GM car, I would use this blog as another resource to find information that I wanted to know. I would also recommend this blog to anyone I know that is looking into buying a GM car. I think it was GM's intentions of getting feedback from their customers on their product, but whether or not they know how to handle the good or the bad is a question to me. If they handle a similar situation like Sony, and respond to the comments effectively then they should be benefiting from this experience.
This is the first blog I have seen from a car manufacture company and I love the idea of it. If my car company had a blog about all of their products, I would definitely read it to find out more information about my car such as recalls or updates.

At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

It sounds like GM is finally doing something right. After all of the bad media they have been getting, they are obviously working hard to overcome this obstacle. It looks like they have found a great way to get customer feedback, as well as give the customers helpful information. Hopefully this will help future customers, as well as current customers, have a voice in the GM world. It will also give the possible consumers information about the company's products.
I think something impressive about this blog is that it is visited and commented by General Motors executives. People like to talk to the "big shots," and it gives consumers a sense that they are getting the truth.
I agree that this is a great way for GM to get information from their customers. Whether it's good or bad information, it is more than they had to begin with. General Motors has an obvious need for improvements in consumer satisfaction, and I think they have found a great way to target internet bloggers...who just happen to be car buyers as well!
This is just one step to a greater and better General Motors company, and it is smart that they are targeting feedback from the buyers--the main people who can help them get back on their feet. I have a feeling that after General Motors jumps back into the market, other car manufacturers will try this trick!


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