Posted by: dandelion4good | May 30, 2012

Customer Service & Communications

I received the message below in an email. As I’m becoming increasingly interested in the radical and surprisingly unrecognized change in the role customer service plays in brand equity and overall communications strategy, I watched the video referenced in the message. I do not recommend that you watch it. It’s terrible. But I did find a video of Dave Carroll speaking at a brand conference. I do recommend watching this video at 4:00 minutes and 10:00 minutes.

Message below

 A musician named Dave Carroll recently had difficulty with United Airlines.  United apparently damaged his treasured Taylor guitar ($3500) during a flight. Dave spent over 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages caused by baggage handlers to his custom Taylor guitar. During his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, he stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for YouTube exposing their lack of cooperation. The Manager responded: “Good luck with that one, pal.”

So he posted a retaliatory video on YouTube. The video has since received over 6 million hits. United Airlines contacted the musician and attempted a settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Naturally his response was: “Good luck with that one, pal.”

Taylor Guitars sent the musician 2 new custom guitars in appreciation for the product recognition from the video, which has led to a sharp increase in orders.

Here’s the video http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=5YGc4zOqozo

 

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Responses

  1. Fascinating find. Thanks for posting. I had to watch the video, despite your valid warning. As I was listening to his interesting song, I noticed some display ads popping up on the screen. Well, it seems that Mr. Carroll has taken his public complaints a step further and created a website as a platform for others with customer service challenges to be heard, with the stated goal of ultimately reaching resolution for both the customer and company.

    His site, http://www.gripevine.com, appears to be a collaborative effort with an entrepreneur and a web developer. Their mission “…to provide a neutral, fair and level playing field where consumers and companies can come together to work out their differences and arrive at successful resolutions to common consumer complaints.” They allow the consumer to post their complaint, they then notify the company on their behalf, and if there is no response, they help you leverage social media to attempt to get the company’s attention in a public way. It looks like they provide a free platform to the consumer, but charge businesses to leverage their services. I’m guessing that when the business senses that their brand image may be in jeopardy, they are then willing to engage with grapevine. Are the founders of grapevine fueling the fire? Is this a form of blackmail? And, is it even ethical?


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