Customer Service requests falling on deaf ears? Make a YouTube video!

Spoken | August 9, 2016

HeidiBlog HS by Heidi Miller, Social Media/Online Community Manager

In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen this video yet, musician Dave Carroll was less than happy with United’s customer service agents’ response to his claim that they’d damaged his guitar. When he hit the customer service wall of apathy, he borrowed a guitar and made this YouTube music video to voice his frustrations:


I first heard about this through (where else?) the For Immediate Release podcast #464, which seems to always have its finger on the pulse of all PR and media-related gaffes and goofs, as well as through Tom Vander Well’s QAQNA blog. But it’s been making the rounds, with 2,812,343 views to date and inbound links from NBC Chicago, MSNBC and more.

Dave Carroll has since created a response video indicating that United has “generously, but late offered some compensation,” money which he then suggested they donate to a charity of United’s choice. He also called for his viewers to lay off the United employee mentioned in the song, indicating she was a good employee and promising a more “lighthearted” approach to his interaction with her in United Song 2.


Recently, Esteban Kolsky wrote an excellent blog post about Twitter as the new IVR, stating that social media tools like Twitter have a place as communication channels but that they don’t replace customer service. I agree and also maintain that we as companies do need to go where our customers are and take advantage of social media channels to reach out to customers, whether they be Twitter, YouTube or Facebook. A YouTube video from United wouldn’t replace the terrible customer service Dave received, but it would have gone quite a ways to showing United customers a concerned, caring, personal site of the airline.

My question here is, why didn’t United make the response video? Why is United using traditional channels to deal with a complaint made through YouTube instead of joining the conversation when and where it happens?

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