United, the airline that breaks guitars, had a chance to really leverage the experience of one of their customers, and totally blew it. David Carroll of the "United Breaks Guitar" fame, flew United again, only to have the pleasant experience of lost luggage. Maybe his next song will be, "United Breaks Guitars and Loses Luggage."
If you are not one of the 5.8 million people that has viewed his music video, you can read more about his story here. The gist was Carroll was flying on United Airlines and watched as baggage handlers threw around his guitar, and in turn, broke it in two.
He and his band made a music video about the experience, and about his struggle to get any sort of help from United. I don’t think neither Carroll, nor United, realized that this music video would be a YouTube sensation, but it was.
At this point, if I were United, I would use the voice of the customer (in this case, literally) and think of this as an opportunity to do some damage control. They could have taken it to their social media platforms — perhaps, release something on YouTube addressing the situation and how they were going to fix it, or even poking fun at the situation. Even mentioning something about it on their Twitter page, or using it to form some sort of customer listening strategy.
Apparently, United’s spokesperson, Robin Urbanski said, "This has struck a chord with us, and we’ve contacted him directly to make it right.” Yes, she really said "struck a chord." United also sent a canned, direct message from Ms. Urbanksi to anyone that had tweeted about the situation, mentioning that 99.5 percent of the time, baggage is not lost or damaged.
I am sure they were not expecting a customer in that .5% to lose their luggage again. And, of course, that this customer would have a breakout hit on YouTube. Maybe they will do something different this time around.