Daimler Learns About Viral Customer Service Stories the Hard Way

There’s an old saying in customer service that a customer who has a good experience with your business might tell a single friend while a customer who has a bad experience will tell ten. Unfortunately, those numbers might be drastically out of date in the age of social media. In an era where any individual has the chance to communicate with millions of people around the world, even a single incidence of poor customer service can have significant impacts for businesses of any kind.

It’s a lesson an international automobile company recently found out the hard way. “Germany’s Daimler has suspended a local sales franchise for its Mercedes-Benz brand in China after a customer complaint about service from the dealership went viral on social media,” according to a Reuters article. “Daimler said in a statement on Tuesday that the dealership in Xi’an city in the northwestern province of Shaanxi had reached an agreement with the customer and was investigating its customer service and business operations and had suspended the franchise in the meantime.”

The incident stemmed from a video posted on Chinese social media by a customer which later went viral. In the video, the customer complains that a car she recently purchased was leaking oil and that she was later treated poorly by the dealer. Additionally, she reported having to pay a “financial service fee” of 15,000 yuan ($2,235) to an employee at the dealership at the time she purchased the car. Such fees are not permitted in China.

We’ve seen plenty of instances of poor decision making, or malfeasance, on the part of individual employees causing major headaches for the organization. Starbucks and United Airlines provide other recent examples. What may have flown under the radar 10 or 20 years ago now has the potential to quickly reach millions of potential consumers and severely damage a brand’s image. This makes it all the more important for organizations to communicate and enforce policies around customer service and ethics throughout every level of the organization.

How do your policies and processes reflect the reality of the 21st century and the digital communication environment in which we operate? Are employees on the front lines well versed in what your expectations are of them? Are you sure?

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We’re adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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