Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are most likely more than aware of the trials that Toyota has had recently in regard to their gas pedals. It has gotten so bad that they have stopped production of affected vehicles, had dealers in a “Stop Sell” mode, and have suffered financial losses as a result in the decrease in sales.
We all know that no company is perfect. All of us in one way or another has had an issue with a product or service that we either deliver or have purchased. My word of advice is this – the problem or challenge does not define you or your company, but the way you handle it does. If you do nothing to correct the situation and continue on the same path, your reputation will follow the same path. However, if you take ownership of the situation, make a public acknowledgement of the issues, and take steps to correct it as quickly as possible, you will survive the short term losses.
Toyota has recently aired the following commercial. I think that they nail service recovery right on the mark. They acknowledge that they have “not been living up to the standards” that we’ve come to expect from them. “That’s why 172,000 Toyota employees are dedicated to making things right.” “We are working around the clock to ensure we build vehicles of the highest quality to restore your faith in our company.”
All of these statements are exactly what the public wants to hear. Sure, there are some Toyota customers that will leave, but most will return. Certainly, there will be some potential customers that will be romanced by the offers that some of the American car manufacturers are making to gain previous Toyota customers.
My feeling is that the majority of Toyota customers and many new potential customers will take notice of the way that Toyota has handled themselves. Was there information available previously that could have corrected the issue? I don’t know, but I am glad to see that this company is not pushing it under the rug and hoping it would go away.
I’ve included the commercial here for you to see the message that they are working to fix the problem and gain back the trust of the customers.
As I was discussing this with a friend the other day, he made the correlation between a similar circumstance in recent pop-culture. He was speaking of Tiger Woods and David Letterman. Both have been caught in less than ideal circumstances with women other than their wives. David Letterman owned up to it on his show. Yes, most likely he did so only because he was being blackmailed, but the point is that he made a public acknowledgement of it, apologized to his family, those involved, and his fans. As a result, his ratings have actually increased since then.
Tiger Woods on the other hand has not been seen or heard from publicly since the scandal. As a result, many of his sponsors have dropped him and many friends of his have publicly expressed their disappointment. True, he will always be one of the best golfers in history and, over time, the public will forget and move on to the next scandal. But he never owned up to or accepted responsibility for his actions.
Maybe Tiger Woods’ camp should contact Toyota’s public relations firm. Just a thought………..