Posted on July 23, 2009 by Dennis Snow
A few weeks back, I posted an article titled, Customer Service and Twitter, in which I focused on how our customers can instantly let people know about their experience with us.
A recent example of the power of social media is the popular YouTube video, "United Breaks Guitars." If you don't know the back story, here's the condensed version:
Musician Dave Carroll was on a United flight and he, along with other passengers, watched as baggage handlers manhandled bags and threw Carroll's $3,500 Taylor guitar on the ground causing about $1,200 in damage. United initially refused to pay for the repair, inspiring Carroll to compose a song about the experiece.
The video went viral and to date has been viewed 3,691,735 times.
United eventually handled Carroll's claim, but look at the cost in bad press, mistrust, embarrassment, and increased scrutiny from passengers. What could've been handled quickly and professionally turned into a PR nightmare for United. For more on the story, check out an early article on the situation as it appeared in the Orlando Sentinel.
Similar to the way I ended the post about Twitter, it's worth reflecting on this question in every contact we have with every customer: "How would I feel and how would my company feel if this interaction ended up on YouTube?"
By the way, United Airlines is now using the video in their customer service training!