Customer Satisfaction Blues on Youtube

David Carroll, a Canadian singer was flying from Halifax to Nebraska with a stop over in Chicago where he and other passengers watched in horror as United Airlines damaged his guitar. United was unresponsive after many attempts so he wrote a song, put it on Youtube. After 150,000 views, it was picked up by CNN and his song has been viewed by over 6 Million viewers on Youtube. United responded!

There are 4 videos in this post. The 2 songs Dave Carroll had released on video, the CNN episode it generated and Dave’s comment on the attempts by United Airlines to make amends.  There is a third song to come.

This is what is possible with social media! While not everyone can write songs and deliver them as well as Dave Carroll, what is a possibility today, will become more and more main stream. Both Positive and Negative. While this post deals with the negative impact of videos, there is another Youtube video that gives a compliment to Lowes. See it at (note this is not the best video in the world as part of it oriented sideways but the idea of using Youtube as a vehicle to communicate customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction is demonstrated in this video as well)

Here’s Dave Carroll’s Story. I like the song.

United Breaks Guitars

United Breaks Guitars – CNN Situation Room – Wolf Blitzer

Dave Carroll Statement about United’s Response

Have you seen other examples of this kind of behavior or other interesting uses of Social Media or Web 2.0 techniques to get customer satisfaction issues exposed?

Update: Feb 28, 2010

United Breaks Guitars Song 2

In an article titled Capital Communicator: Beware the Legal Issues of  Social Media, the impact of United Breaks Guitars video  was a loss of $120 Million in Market Capitalization.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

7 Responses to “Customer Dissatisfaction in Song – United Breaks Guitars”

  1. Will customer satisfaction surveys survive in a Social Media world? | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management Says:

    […] 6. Youtube, the second largest search engine in the world. Negative customer comments recorded on Youtube  go viral fast (see United Breaks Guitars). […]

  2. Passenger sues United Airlines in Small Claims Court - Wins | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management Says:

    […] to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! United Airlines is in the news again. After the fiasco with United Breaks Guitars, a video that went viral on Youtube about a damaged guitar, United lost a passenger’s […]

  3. Restoring Customer Satisfaction in a Crisis: FedEx Case Study | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management Says:

    […] This might be a lesson learned from the fiasco of United Airlines where a song uploaded to Youtube went viral. […]

  4. Adele Says:

    David Carroll, the song writer who wrote United Breaks Guitars has started a customer complaint initiative. See the article at

  5. United Airlines Fiasco: Loses a 10 year old Girl | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management Says:

    […] not learned its lesson from its very public fiasco where it damaged a passenger’s guitar (See United Breaks Guitars) and refused to accept […]

  6. Case Study: United Breaks Guitars - 5 years later | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management Says:

    […] 2009, I wrote  an article  about how United Airlines broke a singer’s guitar by mishandling his baggage and refused […]

  7. Who is lazy and indifferent: Customer Service or Management? | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management Says:

    […] with on line complaints.. on complaint sites, blogs, Yelp, Sidewiki, Twitter, etc.  The ‘United Breaks Guitars’ song is an […]

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