What is the first thing that comes up when you search your brand’s name online? Are you aware of what your customers are saying about you? Maintaining your online business reputation is a crucial task. With numerous open platforms available to people, it is essential what your brand speaks online.
An oil stain on the reputation online, can hamper your business in ways unanticipated. Here is a case study of how United Airlines’ reputation was at stake because of one song.
United Breaks Guitars
A song that highlights the incredible power of social media, United Breaks Guitars is a customer complaint that had all the qualities to go viral. Produced by Canadian musician Dave Carroll. He took this step when his efforts to recover the value of his guitar, broken in transit, went in vain for over a year. Posted on July 6, 2009, the video was shared by Carroll’s friends, posted by various people on their sites and shared by bloggers. From there, it was an easy path to mainstream media. The video had 4.6 million hits by the end of July, with external references increasing the audience by many more.
The viral video showcased a very important and useful insight. People spend more time on social media compared to television. A music video produced for as low as $150 is capable of getting the attention an airline and its customers.
With their presence on Twitter, United picked up the video the next day it was posted and responded with, “This has struck a chord w/us and we’ve contacted him directly to make it right,” on July 7. The airline offered $1,200 to replace the guitar and $1,200 in flight vouchers. When Dave Carroll asked the airline to give the money to another, similarly affected passenger, they decided to donate $3,000 to a music school. United used Twitter as a communication channel throughout the commotion and responded with “Absolutely right, and 4 that (among other things), we are v.sorry and are making it right. Plan 2 use video in training,” to critical tweets.
United’s response was received in different ways. People were divided into classes saying it was very good or could have been better. Students however, had a mixed opinion about United making a positive statement on customer service, or keeping a low profile on the incident to let the attention subside.
Incidents like these, have the power to make or break a business. Online reputation management (ORM), is an important aspect, and an organization needs to be proactive about their online stance.
The world is a transparent and saying exactly who you are builds a positive repute. However, projecting a speculative version of truth will not help. Keeping a check on what people are saying about you, should be the first task in your checklist.