General Motors is using social media to manage customer complaints and its reputation — and using it well. How they are applying social media management is a good case study for other companies in crisis. (The Detroit auto manufacturer has recalled 1.6 million cars and faces roiling legal issues after top management hid defects that caused deaths for 10 years or longer.)
Key examples from a New York Times article by Vindu Goel include:
– GM’s Facebook page. In addition to hosting GM-produced content, it is also an open forum where customers can post comments and complaints. GM staffers are engaging them in real time with assistance and responses.
– @GM on Twitter. Frustrated customers who have spent an hour or more on the phone with GM customer service representatives have turned to Twitter to seek help – and found it in minutes.
“G.M. has a team of about 20 people based in Detroit that manages its social media presence — including monitoring about 100 independent auto forums — and responds to inquiries and complaints seven days a week,” reports Goel.
In addition to managing the crisis using traditional methods – including letters to car owners – GM created a video with CEO Mary Barra to keep customers and employees abreast of how the company is managing the situation.
As more companies use social media to better manage customer relations, they can learn from GM’s example.