Wednesday, July 15, 2009

United Singing the Blues Over Broken Guitar

I saw this story on The Inspiration Room blog and wanted to share a few lessons from it with Communication Creatif readers.

David Carroll, a singer with the Canadian group, Sons of Maxwell, took his guitar on a United Airlines flight only to discover upon touchdown in Chicago that it had been damaged, allegedly by some overzealous baggage attendants.

Perhaps you've seen United's "It's Time to Fly" campaign on TV which "celebrates the optimism and sense of adventure of frequent business travelers."
Undoubtedly, Mr. Carroll was feeling optimistic when he called United and asked to be reimbursed for the damages to his guitar. One would imagine that his optimism waned however, when he hit a brick wall over and over again with the customer service agents and no one at United either took responsibility nor compensated Mr. Carroll for his loss.

One hopes that the folks at United realize that this is not the sort of adventure Mr. Carroll was expecting when he chose United over Southwest or other airlines.

So, Mr. Carroll did what millions of heartbroken musicians have done throughout history. He poured out his troubles in a song. Not just one song actually, but three to be exact. He then made accompanying music videos and released them on YouTube.
You can guess what happened next.

In the last week, over 3 million viewers have heard the message "United breaks your stuff and doesn't care."

Had the situation been resolved by United's customer service department in the beginning, a handful of people would have known about the problem and United would hve been out about $3,000. Now, 3 million people have been told, United's reputation has been sullied and they could potentially lose thousands of dollars in revenue.

If you follow this blog, you know that I repeatedly stress the importance of taking care of your customers and remaining true to your brand promise.

It's the difference between dancing all the way to the bank...or singing the blues.