I'm a little behind in writing about this, but it's a great example of how people can use social media to get their stories out. As of July 21st, 2009, this video had 3,547,771 views, but that's only part of the story. Doing a google search, I get 3,140,000 results. Bing comes up with even more results. Sadly, searching on a United response to United Breaks Guitars, doesn't really come up with much.
In fact, the video response from Taylor Guitars (see below) actually comes up 1st in that search. And if you look at the videos or articles about this video, you'll see very little, maybe no, support for United. Not a lot of folks saying "Sorry they broke your guitar, but hey, they get a lot of luggage to the right place without damage." Nope, most people say "Yea, they screwed up and they should've done better." And those are the nice comments.
So now United is faced with a dilemma of how to respond. Of course, we all know that they're only trying to resolve the situation now because of all of the bad press they got. They lost my luggage for 4 days between LA and San Francisco and after fighting with them for over a week, I just gave up. Guess I should've learned to play the guitar! But since we know that fixing the problem wasn't their first reaction by a long-shot, we're not really going to think that they really want to help fix problems in the future.
The fix for United is a total overhaul of their customer experience training. And it has to start way up at the top. And the people up at the top need to really believe that creating the very best guest experience possible and taking customer complaints seriously is priority number 1. That's the problems brands have today. Put on a little band aid, fix it while people are watching and then get back to business as usual, and you'll see your business erode. We just don't have the time for bad experiences any more.
Taylor Guitars responds
Download Tripping Over Technology. You can read about my United experience from as few years back. It was probably 5 years before I flew United again and only because they were the airline partner for a client.
Image source: Paul J.S.