Never Anger a Customer Who Can Sing

I once heard Marketing Consultant Paul Weyland remark at a seminar that if you have an unhappy customer, “You need to either make him happy, or kill him and bury him in the backyard.”

United Airlines did neither with this passenger.

I don’t have any way to evaluate the particulars of this story. But apparently Dave Carroll of the band Sons of Maxwell flew United  a while back, and something bad happened to his $3,500 guitar.

Carroll responded by making the video below. He posted it on July 6; in less than three days, it’s been viewed more than 255,000 times, and has generated nearly 3,000 comments — very few of which are sympathetic to the airline.

Two more videos are in the works. Enjoy this one, and ponder: how much will United Airlines’ inability or unwillingness to make one passenger happy cost them in damaged reputation and lost business?


UPDATE 7/28/09: According to Business Week, the video has now been viewed more than 3.5 million times. United Airlines has made a $3,000 donation to charity at Carroll’s request, and says it will “do a better job” deciding when to bend rules on passenger compensation for damage.


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One thought on “Never Anger a Customer Who Can Sing

  1. Phil, great blog and also a great reminder for anyone who is in the “service” industry. We need to be aware of these issues, ESPECIALLY in the viral world that we live in today. 15 years ago, it may have been a phone call to the BBB, but today it only takes a video on YouTube or a Tweet to spread your dissatisfaction. Thanks Phil!