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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly heard about all the chaos that’s been happening at Uber. What began as a single blog post has gained so much momentum that not only is the company under investigation by the government, but the CEO was ousted very ceremoniously. Allegations of sexism, sexual harassment, abuse and just about every bad thing a company could do to their employees started popping out of the woodwork. And all it took was for one employee to finally have the courage to say something.
Up until the chaos started Uber was pretty adored by its customers. All of these troubles were well hidden and Uber enjoyed massive growth, even threatening an entire industry -- taxis -- and doing a pretty good job of it. The convenience factor and cost savings were more than sufficient to make consumers choose Uber over any competition. And the ease with which people could earn a living encouraged many workers to join their fleet of drivers.
However, behind the scenes chaos ensued. As these stories were revealed to the public, all of a sudden consumers started reconsidering their loyalties. This is evident by the growth of Uber’s chief competitor, Lyft, while Uber has slowly been going backwards.
Company culture is typically viewed as an internal practice. The stronger culture a business has, the more engaged their employees are in helping the company succeed, which leads to higher employee retention. What many businesses don’t realize is that while building a strong company culture is essential to growth and retention, it plays a much larger role in the grand scheme of things: namely brand reputation and customer loyalty.
Prior to all of the news about Uber, if you conducted a Google search, more than likely you would find positive reviews and news about the company’s innovation, disruption of the transportation industry, astronomical growth and the high valuation they’ve enjoyed. Now, however, the news is filled with the exact opposite. There is even one movement working to educate people about “who Uber really is” and to encourage consumers not to use their service. It even has its own hashtag: #DeleteUber.
As is unveiling in the public domain with Uber, right before our eyes, weak company culture can turn employees, customers and even the public against a business to the point of creating actual brand detractors (versus advocates). Imagine if a dealership’s whole community rallied to ensure that nobody ever bought or serviced a vehicle with them – ever again. That’s pretty much what’s happening with Uber except on a much larger scale.
Ensure that your dealership has a strong company culture, including values that are non-negotiable and rigidly enforced. Hire like-minded employees and make sure that any poisonous employees are quickly shown the door. In this way you can protect the only thing that really matters, and that is who you are as an organization.
Just like you wouldn’t want to do business with someone whose behavior is abhorrent to you, consumers don’t want to do business with a business that misbehaves or doesn’t care about its employees. Don’t find out too late that you have an Uber-like crisis stewing at your dealership. Because, as Uber has illustrated, you may not be able to recover once you do find out.