American Airlines and the Case for Social Media
As someone who makes their living working in social business, I’m always on the lookout for great examples of how big brands tap the power of social media to better serve their customers. Since I head social media for a big brand, tax giant H&R Block, I’m always on the lookout for great stories of how social media is impacting business and customer satisfaction.
On my way home from a recent convention in New Orleans, I witnessed first-hand the power of social media as a customer service tool and how it can help brands get better – fast.
I had spent the previous four days speaking to franchisees and business partners at our annual H&R Block convention. The crux of my portion of a breakout sessions was the power of social media to help businesses like ours. Since our tax professionals help millions of Americans from retail storefronts, we’re in the retail business. That’s high-touch, high-anxiety stuff, especially during the emotionally charged tax season. The airline business is much of the same. Although, I have to say, I am sure the folks at the big airlines deal with much more emotion than we do.
Part of my presentation included the story of Canadian musician Dave Carroll. Carroll had flown United Airlines and had experienced an awful customer service snafu and failed social media response from the airline. He took out his frustrations by writing a song, “United Breaks Guitars,” and filming a whimsical music video that went viral. At the writing of this post, it has over 11 Million views on YouTube. It was a disaster for United and catapulted Carroll to social media fame overnight.
As I said, the airlines have it rough. They deal in delays and disappointment every day. In today’s socially connected world, it’s dangerous and one customer can have a massive impact on an airlines image.
As I sat waiting for my American Airlines flight back to Kansas City, I noticed a group of our franchisees were sitting together just a few seats from me. They were talking about being late or such (I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop) and I shifted my attention away from them and into another conversation.
A few minutes later, a gentleman and a woman with official airport badges came over to our franchisee, Dave Pollard from Colorado, and asked if he had posted a complaint on Facebook. Admitting that he was rather embarrassed that his Facebook complaint had been responded to – in person no less – Pollard soon had an in-person apology.
But how did he get to the point that he complained on American Airlines’ Facebook page? Here’s Dave’s story in a nutshell:Continued on the next page