Perception is very important in business. While good perception may translate to loyalty, trust, and good performance, poor perception by the customers may translate to poor performance. Research conducted by Saeidi et al. (2015) revealed that a companys reputation enhances customers satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is critical to business performance since satisfied customers have a higher probability of returning and thus provides repeat business which translate to customer loyalty (Lee, Kim, Seo, and Hight, 2015). Uber taxi Service Company became successful just from the time it was introduced into the market. Its success was so monumental that it threatened the traditional taxis services globally. Despite its success, the companys reputation was in jeopardy. Ubers reputation can be managed effectively by good public relations.
There has been many incidences of rape, arrogance, and unfair business practices associated with the company. The negative factors affecting the company affected not only the drivers and employees but also the companys founder. The PR response to the situation was timely, and it saved the companys deteriorating public image. The PR actions influenced the public view about the company. The public changed its view once they recognized that the company admits that it had problems and that it was committed to solving the issues they had raised. The response led to increased business performance by the company. Many customers were satisfied with the companys services, and the PR response assured them of their safety and good treatment while using the taxi services. The PR response had an effect of enhancing the loyalty among the customers.
While the initial response helped the company to regain its image, there was more than was needed to be done. The taxi industry involves several stakeholders that include drivers, cab owners, customers, and the local governments. Each of the stakeholders play a role and derive a benefit from the industry. Additionally, the taxi industry is one of the most competitive since it involves many competitors from individual can owners to company owning fleets of cabs. On a global scale, the taxi industry differs from the way it operates. Therefore, disrupting an industry from its traditional mode of operation is bound to cause heavy resistance from some stakeholders. While customers may be attracted to Ubers convenient operation and cost, the local governments, individual taxi owners, and companies in taxi business may not be impressed by loss of revenue. Therefore, they are more likely to resist rather than support a disruptive business idea. However, through appropriate PR strategy, it is possible to manage the situation.
As Ubers PR director, the company should adopt a strategy that focus on minimizing the negative attitude the business causes on the taxi industry. Additionally, the strategy should be aimed at minimizing the negative attitude the company is attracting from the competitors. Ultimately, the company should be viewed as employing best practices in the taxi industry such as ensuring safety of its customers, better returns to its drivers, and payment of taxes and other fees in wherever it operates. Further, on the aspect of competition, the company should change its image from being a fierce competitor to being a fair competitor. While the companys app may have resulted in creating convenience to the customers, the fee charged per trip was also low compared with its competitors. This made the customers to recognize Uber as a company offering them the ultimate advantage which they cannot find elsewhere. Therefore, one strategy the company can adopt is to continue enhancing customer convenience but increase its prices to almost the level charged by its competitors. The company will not be viewed negatively by the competitors who may fear that the company will push them out of business.
One of the factors that contributed to Ubers bad reputation are the comments made by the CEO on various occasions. Cleaning the image of the organization may involve firing an employee found to be tainting the companys image. However, when the issue involves the CEO, it becomes difficult. However, one of the easiest approach is to persuade the CEO to not only stop further careless talk but also to apologize to those who might have been hurt by his utterances. Regarding sexual harassment, the company should not engage in denial of the accusations. Instead, it should assure the public that thorough investigations will be conducted by the company with the support of the governments crime investigating agencies, and that appropriate action would be taken against those who are involved. As the company prepares to go public, it should develop PR strategies that would enhance reputation. Some of the activities include changing the companys corporate culture, changing management structure, and identifying relevant corporate social responsibility or philanthropic activities (Saeidi et al., 2015, OReilly III, Caldwell, Chatman, and Doerr, 2014). The companys image can be further enhanced through the power of the social media and other media as well as personalities that possess great influence. The idea should be to increase the companys positive talk in the media, and innovations.
Lee, Y. K., Kim, S. H., Seo, M. K., & Hight, S. K. (2015). Market orientation and business performance: Evidence from franchising industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 44, 28-37.
OReilly III, C. A., Caldwell, D. F., Chatman, J. A., & Doerr, B. (2014). The promise and problems of organizational culture: CEO personality, culture, and firm performance. Group & Organization Management, 39(6), 595-625.
Saeidi, S. P., Sofian, S., Saeidi, P., Saeidi, S. P., & Saaeidi, S. A. (2015). How does corporate social responsibility contribute to firm financial performance? The mediating role of competitive advantage, reputation, and customer satisfaction. Journal of Business Research, 68(2), 341-350.
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