The Japanese automaker created its Facebook page way back in 2009 and, as August 8, 2011 has close to 300,000 fans. And, as you may expect, 300,000 voices on the internet can be both a blessing and a curse for a huge brand like Nissan.
Erich Marx, Nissan's Director of Marketing Communications, is responsible for the automaker's social marketing efforts (including Facebook, natch), and he apparently has a team of 15 employees dedicated to social media. These men and woman keep track of the comings and goings of the company's Facebook fans and monitor the comments left on its page.
Not all of the comments are favorable... and they are all very public. While the automaker's policy is not to remove or delete any negative commentary, postings that are negative or outright customer service complaints need to be responded to. Says Marx: “Based on what I've seen in 90 days, I can realize that this is something we are going to have to deal with in the future. As opposed to operators or help desks just waiting for a customer to complain, we need to have a Facebook presence to solve issues before they get bigger, and take a more proactive role in identifying consumer issues or question.”
So, does this mean Facebook will take over telephone-based customer service at Nissan? Not anytime soon, but we'd certainly expect, as social media continues to grow in importance for all automakers, that Nissan's 15-strong staff will grow right along with it. And that number will surely include employees whose job descriptions include resolving customer complaints. It's a brave new world out there, folks.