How much damage can one man do?

//How much damage can one man do?

How much damage can one man do?

I think everyone knows someone in their organization that, if left to their own devices, would most likely inflict serious damage to it? However, if kept focused in the right direction, the same person could possibly be of great value. But what if someone outside your business, a customer perhaps, could inflict a damaging blow to your company’s share value- what then?

This week I heard such a story, perhaps you did too? Dave Carroll a customer of United Airlines had his hand made Taylor guitar broken while in their care. After a year of trying to obtain some kind of compensation, he finally gave up and took the issue into his own hands by making an entertaining video and posting it on You tube, you can see it here. More than four million hits later and the story has now being covered by all the world’s top news agencies and United Airlines is having to engage in a massive unwelcome and unexpected PR campaign.

So what went wrong? United Airline’s image of being friendly has simply fallen out of line with their customer’s perception. Their customer care policy is being tested top its limits by thousands of people who are now reacting to the video, sharing their own experiences on the net and now adding their own claims on the back of it.

Of course in this situation, Dave Carroll gains global publicity for himself and his band, United get world wide attention and a chance to put things right – but the fact remains that enormous damage has and is being done.

So my message for other businesses that have built their names and reputations on a ‘We Care’ platform is: don’t allow your perceived company culture fall out of line with the hard reality of your customer care department and the policies behind it, educate and re educate your customer contact teams to keep in line with your corporate culture. And if you find that they are two far apart, then consider re-positioning yourself because the real problem in this story is that United positioned themselves on being soft and cuddly but the public’s perception no longer supports it.

In today’s anarchic media world – businesses are vulnerable to well informed, creative and upset customers. Trust me, this is just the beginning of a wave that will spread and become common place, even impacting SME’s and local businesses. When people see an advantage in someone behaving in one way, they do not take long to follow.

Have a good week,


2016-11-17T08:25:31+00:001 Comment

About the Author:

Harley is a dynamic 'we can do this' kind of person with a successful track record of working for a wide variety of companies in all kinds of sectors. From very small family run businesses right through to giant multi-nationals. Over the last thirty five years Harley has built a reputation for inspiring those around him to rout out and tackle the core problems facing their organizations. Armed with a wide range of pragmatic tools that he has developed over the years, Harley is able to help his clients bring about long-term, sustainable solutions, while having fun at the same time. Harley is a motivational 'people person' who is nonetheless tough on efficiency and delivery. Apart from being well known for his highly entertaining and motivational speeches, Harley is also a blogger and author of four books; 'The Change Manager's Handbook', 'Transition', 'Inspirational Leadership’ and ‘Making a Difference’.

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