After a massive global recall, the Japanese car giant ‘Toyota’ is yet again feeling the heat with the car owners demanding for full refund of their cars. Adding to the already grief ridden recall saga, Toyota invited loads of criticisms followed by legal battles ever since the revelations of their car’s tendency to accelerate out of control. The technical glitch seems too hot to handle for Toyota, and now the customers are out of control.
Thankfully, the recent recall by both Honda and Toyota has let the consumer’s to lose their confidence for Japanese vehicles. Has this change in consumer preference exposed the grey area for Toyota or other Japanese car makers? Blessing in disguise, the American car makers, ‘GM Motors’ and ‘Ford’ are finally ready to capitalize on their once undisputed Japanese competitors.
Lately the Attorneys Toyota Actions Consortium (ATAC) added rackerteering claims on Toyota for its number of lawsuits. Tim Howard,who is coordinating the ATAC even said that :
“It’s become increasingly apparent that Toyota profits were not built on quality products, but on a willful pattern of deception, fraud and racketeering.”
Undoubtedly all these development has tormented the reputation of Toyota globally. The growing list of enraged customers proves how PR was never considered at the first place followed by the absence of a strategic reputation management. Setting an examples how things can slip off your hands, if not dealt the way it has to be. Toyota has lost its reputation and number one position for being the most favorable customer loyal car maker in US. But its only matter of time before we know how grave the scar is for Toyota and other Japanese car companies.
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Crisis management is the new buzz word now, everybody from Celebrities, Politicians, Automobile companies to Theme parks are in dire need to salvage their reputation from getting tarnished online. No organization wants to be in a situation that would stimulate bad press against them and cause disruption to their business.
Some companies that are hard hit recently were not able to handle crisis efficiently. Toyota is one company that is finding it difficult to stop the embroiling situation, the quality crisis refuses to die down for them. This clearly shows that the company is not good at handling crisis. The initial slow response, the half-minded recall, poor communication had adverse effect on the reputation of the company.
Managing crisis is the second best thing you can do for a successful business. To deal with crisis needs accurate and decisive action. Take for example ‘A Gun manufacturing company loses a gun while on transit and before the public or the media ever comes to know about this the company is able to find it and put it back into the inventory‘. So rapid and precise action saved the company from getting a bad name.
Some of the ways to handle crisis is as follows:
- Identify the problems: The first step towards crisis management is to identify the problems in clear terms, so that you can sort it out easily.
- Collective decision: Fighting crisis can never be a one-man-show, a collective decision and team work is always better. Consider the relevant team and their decisions pertaining to the risk factor and go with the best option.
- Leadership: Lead from the front and talk with everybody in the team. Monitor the function required to minimize the crisis.
- Communicate: The most sought after action is to have continuous communication with the public and media. It is always good idea for the company to have their own portal or hub to update their view.
- Segregate issues: Take the best team out and let them work on every piece of the issue, break the issue until you identify the grey areas. Hire a reputation management company, which has standard practices to deal with crisis related issues.
- Encourage feedback: Read customer/client online reaction, this will help you know the correct pulse of the general public and help you overcome crisis.
- Analyze the problems: So you know from where it took shape and who is responsible and what corrective measures can be taken to get rid of it.
- Learn: Take a cue from your last experience, this will help you mold a better strategy in future. Always keep your last crisis experience in perspective and put in place tools so that your company is safe from similar crisis.