Canadian musician Dave Carroll suffered the loss of a valuable instrument at the hands of an airline carrier. When he asked for the company to make good on their mistake, he was denied. Dave knew that consumers have power and a voice, and he decided to create a public relations nightmare.
“In the spring of 2008 … my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred, but for nine months, the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised … that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world.”
Another empty threat from an irate customer, right? Well, not exactly. Take a look at Dave’s YouTube video, “United Breaks Guitars.“
“United Breaks Guitars” is now also a BOOK!
It’s an entertaining and catchy song and a well-made video. A day after the first video was posted, it had received 150,000 hits. Three days later, it had 500,000 views. Two months after that, it had five million hits, not to mention widespread mainstream media (and social media) exposure! Currently it has over fifteen million hits!
The negative point was made about United’s customer service and did considerable damage to its brand. Beyond that, it made one of the strongest cases ever forcustomer-generated communication.
Improving Communications likes the work of Ernan Roman Direct Marketing Corporation. Ernan promotes Voice of the Customer (VoC) Relationship Research for understanding how your customers and prospects want you to improve the quality and value of your products and services. In other words, listen to your customers. Talk to them, and especially, let them talk to you.
For a long time, companies have been accustomed to one-way communication. In the Social Media Age, customers can talk back. Give them positive and memorable experiences, so they will become fans–not adversaries.
Most important–when you make a mistake (and you will):
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