A business such as Toyota takes years to build up a brand but recent days are a testimony to the fact that brand implosion can develop quite easily. The massive safety incidents coming out on a daily basis are fueling the fire of destruction. Point blank, Toyota must solve their safety issues. But unless Toyota is willing to go the extra mile to tell its customers that they do ‘truly’ matter, a lot more can be lost quickly. Reliability and quality are some of the values around which Toyota as a brand was built and when these values are questioned, it is time to look beyond conventional marketing and advertising and use social media as a crucial tool to reach out to customers.
Why does Toyota need social media?
Social media provides businesses the platform to speak out to their customers and involve them in a direct discussion. This is the space that Toyota can use to express what they are doing to fix their problems as well as their thoughts and allow customers to vent and receive a timely response. Most businesses come up against challenges and obstacles. How they deal with it is determines what they are made of. Toyota can use social media to let its customers know that they are working hard and diligently to make things right. They can also let them know that they ‘the customers’ are the people who are the most important to the company.
Customer service goes a long way in developing loyal and deep customer relationships. It is important for customers to know that they have not been alienated and the brand they trusted and depended upon has the courage to accept its mistakes, repair them and move forward. Toyota can use social media to offer responses and views in real time. Customer service can be upgraded to a whole new level with social media applications that can help Toyota reach out and have a dialog with their customers, potential customers, news organizations, in essence basically anyone that will listen. Fortunately Toyota recently is now moving in a positive direction pointing to a stronger social media team to come.
Toyota on social media
Toyota has been using social media with the President and Chief Operating officer Toyota Motor Sales, Jim Lentz, answering questions on Live Digg Dialogg. While this is one step in the right direction, there is much that the company can still do to assure customers of their intentions. Product recalls have happened in the past and businesses have been known to survive the flak they have received. As a previous fan, it is up to Toyota to pull itself together and take care of what went wrong. Toyota’s recovery strategy needs to include clear, honest dialog on social media sites. It needs to reach out to its customers so that they know that they don’t stand alone. While errors and mistakes have been made, customers need to know that will be overcome. This information has to be put through in a simple and easily understood manner.
This is an age when internet users contribute greatly to online content and help mold public opinion. Toyota has to take steps to ensure that its customers are kept up to date on what is happening at the company and what is being done about the recalls. It is important to specify what went wrong, how it is being resolved and everything that Toyota is doing to make things right. It is important to once again build the faith that Toyota drivers held in their brand.
Image Credit: Toyota Twitter Page