Have you ever had a really BAD experience with a company and took to a social network to post your rant? Have you gone as far as Dave Carroll and create a viral YouTube video?
It’s easy to forget the power of social media until instances like this occur. Dave’s video got him more than 200 interviews on talk shows and inspired other customers to create sequels (United Breaks Guitars 2 & 3) that garnered more than a million likes as well. Taylor Guitars also created a YouTube video explaining their repair services in response to Dave’s video. They even gave Dave a new guitar. It seems everyone but United acknowledged Dave…
From a social media perspective if I were an Online Reputation Manager and saw this video I would have gone into immediate damage control. I would have responded to Dave and asked him to write me a message explaining his situation, what damages he is seeking, and thank him for his time and for choosing United. I would have then addressed this with my human resources department and done everything I could to find out where the disconnect was and how the issue escalated to this.
Once I had all of the facts I would release a statement apologizing and explaining what we are doing to make it right for Dave. I would go on a press tour and explain to the media that we understand Dave’s frustration and are doing our best to make sure this instance never happens again. I would also take to social media and express our gratitude for their loyalty and explain how we are ensuring we are making the effort to handle every item in on our airplanes with care. Of course there will be negative comments surrounding our efforts. It is important to not make the same mistake twice and listen and respond to these comments appropriately.
While United Airlines may not have done it right in this situation I am happy that they used Dave’s video as a learning tool. If I were an Online Reputation Manager I would add the following practices to our social media practices:
- Post our “hours of operation” in our “About Me” sections.
- Make responding to customer comments within 24 hours a standard.
- Make our responses personal by saying “thank you” at the beginning of every post and signing each post with out name at the end of each post.
- Most importantly if a situation seems very tense to make a supervisor aware. If a situation like Dave’s arises we would discuss on a more micro level and ensure all parties involved are happy with the resolution.
- Keep “follow up” files for followers we should check in on.
While all of this seems so easy social media is fast and immediate. Most posts don’t show up on other’s social media feeds for very long, but people don’t forget. Taking the time to go the extra mile on social media can save you time, money, and most importantly the trust of your customers.