Social media has been viewed as a 21st century vehicle to connect people, share ideas and provide companies with valuable information on consumer tendencies. While this has been great for small businesses in leveling the playing field against large corporations in some industries, others have been slow to catch on; specifically the auto industry.
After a study conducted by Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, this may change.
Researchers learned that consumer’s social media postings could be valuable for manufacturers in learning about performance defects.
The lead researchers explained to redOrbit.com that a great deal of information on vehicle quality can be found through social media outlets that is largely untapped by automakers. Essentially, a growing number of consumers conduct online searches for information on auto safety and performance issues, and they see Twitter postings and blogs as providing genuine details on the products they need. If more posts address a problematic issue (e.g. how often a car breaks down) consumers will consider them in making purchase decisions.
The researchers went beyond the glut of product reviews, discussion forums and news articles. After all, public sentiment is not always a reliable indicator in finding defects. This is because arguments and rants may not be directly related to correctable auto defects. Indeed, these sentiments may help designers in making changes to improve customer satisfaction, but finding design (or product) defects can be more difficult.
Because of this, they developed a method of analyzing (and organizing) consumer comments so that quality management professionals can make informed decisions about potential vehicle defects.
Source: redOrbit.com, Vehicle Defects Found With Help From Social Media, October 24, 2012