Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors talking to her employees about the vehicle recall in a recent video
If video does not appear above, see link to video here.
"Damage control" looks different in the modern age of social networking. General Motors' recent problems with the ignition switches of several of its vehicles has created a public relations problem. GM's response has utilized social media on at least three fronts.
First, a video--supposedly a speech to GM employees--is available in the public domain.
Second--the Facebook page of GM is responding to customer issues--maybe not always successfully:
image from www.nytimes.com
Third, GM is at least listening in to Twitter complaints...and responding. One Alaskan mother, Lauren Munhoven, tweeted a complaint. GM listened and helped her with her Saturn Ion by paying the ferry cost to get her car fixed, and getting her a rental car. Munhoven posted her thanks on Twitter.
GM is also using old school methods of snail-mail notices of recalls, and call centers to help with customer problems.
I found it quite compelling that part of the message was that the cars were safe to drive IF there were no other items attached to the keys--like no key ring. These apparently could be bumped or could weight the ignition switch in a way that the problems ensued. The mixed message--that there is an ignition problem but that the customer might be partly to blame because they use a key ring--might not be the best message to be putting out to the public.
In this modern age of social media, customers who are outraged can "flame" GM's service--that is, negatively report their experience to as many others as might be tantalized by the customer message. It remains to be seen how this plays out in GM sales.
By the way, there is another Facebook page called GM Recall Survivors. From what I've read on it, it seems more to be about those who have not survived.
Source: "G.M. Uses Social Media to Manage Customers and Its Reputation," by Vindu Goel, New York Times, March 23, 2013.
effect would a text message from GM Customer Care have on your confidence level if you were a Cobalt owner?
- Evaluate Mary Barra's video as a communication vehicle to GM employees, and as as public relations piece "spinning" the defective part debacle.