United Breaks Guitars – A classic ‘service gone wrong’ story

When a fellow passenger called out, “My God they’re throwing guitars out there!” Canadian singer/songwriter Dave Carroll was horrified when he realised the guitars were his.

With his guitar broken and horribly damaged Dave spent 12 months chasing United Airlines to pay for the damage they had caused. With nothing less than indifference, United Airlines did not offer a sincere apology nor did they fix his guitar and repay Dave for the cost of repairing his equipment.

So Dave and his band, Sons of Maxwell, did what they do best. They wrote a song (and then a second one) about their experience and released it on YouTube.

The song was an immediate YouTube ‘hit’ and you can see that there have been currently over 10.5 million ‘hits’ on the song.

Within a day of the release of the song United’s share price had dropped by 10%. The value of the drop in shareprice could have bought Dave 51,000 guitars.

The moral of this story is that we live in exponential times. Not every story will go ‘viral’ – but you just don’t know which ones will. If a company gets something wrong, which does happen from time to time, then the best thing to do is to fix it as fair and fast a way as possible.

The OTM Service Strategy® is a system that has been designed to enhance an organisations capacity to provide a consistent and continuously improving system for service excellence. Contact me if you would like to arrange a conversation regarding how the OTM Service Strategy® could benefit your organisation.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at http://garyryans.com