Have you ever bought a product that just wouldn’t work like it should, or been to a store or a restaurant and received just the worst service imaginable? You complain, you do all you can but nothing seems to make a difference.
Well, with the power of social media (YouTube to be more specific) you can pressure big business with more than just a customer-complaint card or 1-800 number.
That’s what Dave Carroll did after watching the United Airlines ground crew throw his guitar around like luggage. I don’t know how much you know about guitars, but they can get pretty expensive. Apparently Dave’s was worth around $3,500 – now broken due to the mishandling by the airline. After complaining he didn’t receive much of a response. Certainly no compensation for the damages suffered to his equipment. So he decided to make the situation a public matter and he broadcast this video to the world:
Now, maybe he is just another YouTube sensation. However, I’m sure United Airlines doesn’t appreciate their brand being publicly ridiculed on the Internet. The YouTube video currently has over 4 million views. And the story was even featured on CNN:
As a result The Daily Mail reported that what could have only cost United Airlines approximately £1000 to fix the guitar, has ended up costing them a loss of 10 per cent in share value – or in otherwords, $180 million.
A little more than just another YouTube sensation. All due to the power of social media.
Another example, but one that hasn’t quite taken off as much as Dave Carroll’s story, is a recent attack on AT&T for their apparently lousy iPhone coverage. Another example of customers using social media to pressure brands into stepping-up their service. Whether it significantly impacts AT&R remains to be seen, but let’s keep a close eye on it.
What do you think about the use of YouTube videos or blogs to get a big company’s attention? Do you think they are more willing to listen after they have been called out online, in front of people from all over the world? Is this going to force big brands to better their service offerings in order to meet customer expectations?
Let me know what you think.