Dave Carroll wrote the infamous ‘united breaks guitars’ YouTube hit. The video received several million views and started a huge uproar against the customer service at United Airlines. This video single handedly created one of the online world’s biggest customer service headaches.
United were applauded with how they handled the situation. They approached Dave directly and dealt with his issue, even changing a few internal policies to ensure this never happened again. David later added a video to the popular video sharing website that thanks United Airlines for the way they responded.
So all is well that ends well?
Not so in this example. The biggest problem here is what took place before the YouTube hit. Dave Carroll received months of bad customer service that resulted in Carroll turning to YouTube to vent his frustrations.
The video may have never existed if United had they right customer service processes in place.
The common denominator with this case study was that employees within United were not empowered to make customer service decisions. Instead they had to follow a very rigid set of guidelines that kept them from actually solving the clients problem.
I would advise all companies who are getting into social media to ensure that they are ready to look at their organisation on a whole. Make sure that as you enter the transparent world of Social Media that you are ready to be transparent and open to the public. Social media is a fantastic tool to engage with people and this is good news. However the best way to ensure that your social media experience is a good one is to ensure that you customer experience and product quality are great.
Better to avoid the “brand destroying YouTube video” than to have a great social media response plan take action. So far David’s video has been viewed 9, 896, 546 times!