When Dave Carroll was finally told by a United Airlines employee he would get no reimbursement for his broken guitar (and that it was his fault) he began a journey that even he never imagined. His goal at that time was to write three songs about how United Airlines broke his guitar. He had hoped to reach a million people with his story.
Instead, he reached 100 million people, he has elevated his profile as a singer/song writer (a talented one too) and he has become something of a celebrity in the world of customer service. Oh, and he has also founded a business that connects unhappy customers with businesses in a way that helps them sort out their differences and come to a healthy resolution.
And now he’s speaking to big audiences about it.
Dave’s story illustrates the power of social media better than any I have seen. It shows how our world has changed. As he explains in this video, we used to tell a three people if we had good service and 14 if we had bad service. But he told his story once and it reached a hundred million people.
It’s easy to say not everyone has a bullhorn like Dave Carroll. Not all of us would craft such an artful message. Not every customer complaint can or will go viral like his did. We can’t all expect to become famous because of one customer service complaint.
And this is all true.
But they don’t undermine or discount the power we all have because of social media and the technology that makes it possible. When I reach out to a company (either directly or through social media channels) I don’t expect a million people to hear my message. But I know some people will. And sometimes I get a response that makes a difference.
But even if the company in question does not respond, the act of telling my story is important. It makes a difference. It reminds me we all have a voice.
Because Dave Carroll used his social media “voice”, his life changed. And I think it’s safe to say things at United Airlines changed too. My understanding is they paid him to use his video in their own customer service training.
Not your typical customer service apology but it seems to have worked.
How has social media affected customer service in your life or your business? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.