Title Disconnected - Gary Lemke - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
You learned why I think Guitar Man's big break happened when United broke his guitar. He turned down United's belated offer to pay for the repair of the Guitar but received two new guitars (thank you Taylor Guitars). At the urging of Guitar Man, United donated money to charity but negotiated a licensing fee for the use of the songs in corporate training. The biggest benefit was the platform from which to take his career in new and bigger directions.
The title - United Breaks Guitar - leaves me a bit perplexed. Let me explain. In my eyes, this is not about an airline's abuse of baggage. It happens and it's unfortunate it happened to a cherished musical instrument. But the story is about a passenger's frustration with the airlines deafness to his requests for compensation. In other words, there would have never been a song, YouTube video or social media wildfire if the airline had, within the nine month period of time between the incident and the promise to go viral, made restitution. It's not a matter of broken baggage as much as it is a matter of a broken customer experience.
But United Ignores Guitar Man just isn't a very good title. The Times newspaper reported that within 4 days of the video being posted online, United Airline's stock price fell 10%, costing stockholders about $180 million in value. It doesn't take a math major to figure out it would have been easier to pay a grand or two for repairs instead of losing millions in company value.
I won't argue that the airline's stock went down during that period. But was the decline really due to United Breaks Guitars? I doubt investors bought and sold the stock based on the video or the Guitar Man's story. By the way, other airlines experienced declines in stock price during the same period. Regardless, would a prior investment in social media have avoided the United Breaks Guitar saga from happening? United, what say you?
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Publish Date: November 2, 2011 4:24 PM