On the surface, Chinese ride-hailing service behemoth Didi Chuxing seems to have read the playbook on crisis management.
When it came under a barrage of criticism after a driver in its carpooling service, Hitch, raped and murdered a female passenger last Friday, it said and did what you’d expect a responsible company to do.
It deployed what industry calls the 3Rs of crisis communications. It expressed Regret — Didi extended their condolences to the grieving family and professed deep regret for their shortcoming; Reason — They humbly and touchingly admitted that the unfortunate incident happened because they prioritized growth over safety; and Remedy – They fired two high-profile executives, indefinitely suspended Hitch nationwide, and reprioritized safety in their entire operations.
The 3Rs are sufficient in most instances to neutralize criticism and allow the company to get on the road to recovery. This, however, did not happen. Instead, the criticism of Didi carries on unabated and is starting to look worse by the day.