Musician Dave Carroll’s advice to companies: Respect your customers
Asmart company these days understands that everybody has a voice. So the best way to avoid a public relations nightmare is to give great customer service right out of the gate. “It’s a bad day when a customer’s upset,” says Dave Carroll, creator of the viral three-part musical trilogy United Breaks Guitars.I met Carroll just after his keynote at the annual conference of the Society for New Communications Research (I’m a senior fellow). Carroll gave a funny and wise blow-by-blow of the PR and customer support blunders by United Airlines after baggage carriers broke his Taylor guitar.
The incident has gone down as perhaps the ultimate self-inflicted customer relations screw-up by a major corporation in the social media era of empowered customers. The original video has been seen 8.8 million times since it went live a year ago and is the 12th most-watched video in the history of YouTube.
— Dave Carroll
“Companies providing poor customer service can’t ride out the situation as in the past,” Carroll says. United ran Carroll through the bureaucratic ringer for 9 months before giving him a definitive answer about his compensation claim: No.
“I was almost out of options but I wasn’t because social media allowed me to express myself in a creative way,” he says.
In the interview, Carroll discusses his take on the idea of “a market of one” — the notion that today there are no statistically insignificant parts of the marketplace. “The market of one is everybody,” he says. Incorporating good customer service should be part of a holistic approach to a company’s business processes — not because it’s right but because it makes sense from a competitive business standpoint. Continue reading