Airline Destroys Man's Guitar. He Comes Up with Brilliant Plan for Revenge


There are few things more frustrating than sitting on hold for 30 minutes waiting for a customer service representative. Unfortunately, this frustration is all too common in our world today.

Instead of fixing problems, customer service often prolongs, or fails to resolve issues they are presented with. As a result, customer service has been sometimes ironically identified as a disservice to consumers.

Between outsourced call centers and lack of available help lines, an experience with customer service often quickly devolves into a game of patience. One must assume that there is a better way of solving problems regarding goods and services.

Enter Dave Carroll, who had the misfortune of dealing with an especially unhelpful customer service department at United Airlines in 2008.

After the airline had broken his expensive $3,500 Taylor guitar due to mishandling his luggage, Carroll got the go-around at all levels of customer service.

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So he decided to make a formal customer compliant in a rather unusual way—he wrote a song about it. Below you can watch the first video in a trilogy that documents his experience.

This video became viral in the first couple days of it being posted. It exploded online, reaching people across the world through the beginnings of social media.

It had measurable impact on United—dropping their stock value by 10% in the first week, costing shareholders a reported 180 million dollars!

However, it also had a huge social effect as well—reaching number one on iTunes during its first week as well.

His song has been considered, “the most effective customer complaint in history.” Because it documents the potential impact of a single customer, it has become a staple case study in economics and business course in universities across the U.S.

Following the immediate impact of the video, Dave Carroll was asked to share his story at a number of corporate events. After speaking at his first event, he realized that this would be a great opportunity for him to make a meaningful change through storytelling.

Carroll has already spoken in 30 countries, and continues to travel with a remarkable message about the customer experience.

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He says, “If our brands rest upon the stories of other people, then becoming successful in business is really a matter of becoming a more effective story teller—and anyone can do that.”

When Carroll teaches corporations how to improve their public image, he caries a message of compassion. He believes that, “caring is a fundamental value,” and, “compassionate design,” is the best approach when choosing a business model.

“A confrontational style of business is ultimately self-defeating in far too many cases,” he says. “What I think is missing, is compassion.” Hopefully, he is able to push this message far and wide.

Instead of focusing on profit, businesses should return to the fundamentals of customer satisfaction. If they put people first, success will surely fall into place.

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