Last January 7, 2014, a fan sent a photo to Top Gear Philippines‘ Facebook Page:
It’s a photo of a Black Suzuki Alto 800 with plastered papers with messages that read:
“This car is brand-new but defective. Suzuki won’t replace the unit even if the transmission is shuddering, the horn is dead, and the body has static electricity. Suzuki really is no good. Don’t buy Suzuki if you don’t want to have a headache.” as translated by Top Gear Philippines’ website.
Top Gear Philippines is one of the leading car magazine and automotive website in the Philippines and they have 202,909 LIKES on Facebook.
Upon posting the photo on their Facebook Page, the image immediately went viral and now with 9,165 LIKES, 3,565 SHARES and 1,320 COMMENTS some even tagging Suzuki Philippines’ Facebook Page to get their attention.
Today, January 9, 2014, Suzuki Philippines issued an official statement published on Top Gear Philippines’ website:
“The incident concerning the Alto 800 unit purchased by Mr. Roderick Gabrillo has come to our attention and is already being addressed. When the issue with the unit’s horn was first raised by the owner last November 2013, our Suzuki Auto Shaw dealership immediately took action and tested the unit pursuant to the guidelines stipulated in the warranty.
Other concerns were raised by the customer thereafter and the management of the dealership proposed that the unit be left at the service center for further testing and evaluation. The customer agreed to leave the car at the service center provided that a loaner will be issued to him. Due to certain standard operating procedures that must be observed, the service unit/loaner requested by the customer was not given immediately by the Suzuki Auto Shaw dealership.
Suzuki Philippines Inc., in line with the commitment to provide quality services to our customers, is conducting further investigation in this issue to be able to implement appropriate actions. To facilitate the proper testing of Mr. Gabrillo’s Alto 800, Suzuki Philippines Inc. and Suzuki Auto Shaw agreed to provide him with an Alto K10 as a service car.
We apologize to Mr. Gabrillo for any inconvenience this situation has brought upon him. We are still coordinating with him on how amends could be made to address the situation and move forward.
We appreciate all the feedback that were given and you can trust that we will be taking them all into consideration as we continuously strive to deliver quality products and services to our customers.”
My reaction? Wow.
THE GOOD? Suzuki Philippines’ Statement
It was short and straight to the point. It has the elements needed to prevent a PR crisis going worse – a quick rundown of what happened, an apology directly addressed to the person involved, and a sound assurance that they are now coordinating with the client and that they value the feedback provided.
In sense, “We acknowledge. We are sorry. We will make it better.”
THE BAD? The fact that all these could’ve been prevented earlier on. As per Suzuki Philippines’ statement, the customer raised the issue November 2013. This could’ve been resolved with customer service and account management. It’s sad that it has to reach the point of a shared photo going viral.
THE AWESOME? The demonstration of the Power of Social Media. A 2 month-old issue deemed hopeless, but in 2 days this one post in Facebook has clearly sped up the process. Social Media has power, indeed.
“Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” – Benjamen Franklin