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Soy sauce company goes down in ‘reputation economy’

Posted December. 26, 2015 10:29,   


Passengers who get off a KakaoTaxi get a message asking for an evaluation of the taxi driver. They can give up to five stars based on their own evaluation of the driver. The more passengers do not like a particular driver’s service, the less stars he would get. Of course, five stars would not be enough for drivers who offer fantastic service. However, those who continue to receive negative customer reviews could be expelled from KakaoTaxi.

That does not mean that customers are king, though. KakaoTaxi also evaluates customers. If a customer calls taxi but then takes another one without waiting for the taxi he or she called. Once the negative points are accumulated to a certain extent, the passenger would get a “yellow card.” The information is shared among drivers. Black listed customers should give up using KakaoTaxi.

Mongo Food, a Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province-based company, ran apology advertisements on all major daily newspapers on December 25. The company’s honorary chairman abused his driver verbally and physically. After the driver publicly disclosed his boss’s abuse, the company’s reputation was marred. Even though it was a matter of the honorary chairman’s personality and had nothing to do with the quality of the company’s products, angry consumers were about to boycott its products. The public image of a company that specialized in soy sauce for 110 years has been significantly damaged. It is uncertain whether the apology by the company’s CEO, not the honorary chairman, will clean up the situation.

The advancement of the information technology and social networking services has opened an era of “reputation economy.” Once a customer or an insider makes up his or her mind, a company will get naked in public. However, businesses do not have many good measures to respond. There are reports that some restaurants, fed up with the tyranny of Yelp, a U.S. restaurant review app, put spits or nasal discharge in the food. It takes a long time to build a good image but an instant to put all the efforts down the drain. We are living in a world where everyone is watching everyone else.