Does the name Dave Carroll ring a bell with you? How about the song ‘United Breaks Guitars‘?

If you have been watching the development of social media,  you are, no doubt aware of the situation Dave Carroll, a musician, who found himself  with a broken guitar, damaged by United Airlines and a very stubborn airline that refused to budge on compensation. Dave Carroll, wrote a very catchy tune, posted it on Youtube and the song went viral, attracting the attention of CNN.  His song has been viewed over 11 million times.  When CNN phoned United Airlines, they had a different response than Dave Carroll was able to obtain on his own.

Dave Carroll received about 10,000 emails in the first few weeks after he posted his video, many consumers asking if he could help them. He has teamed up with Richard Hue and Chris Caple to form a new site called Gripevine.

Dave has decided to become a consumer advocate and travels internationally doing speaking engagements. He has a book coming out in May 2012 called ‘United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media‘.

What makes the  Gripevine site different? It does the usual things. It posts your complaint. It notifies the company involved. It provides visibility (a voice) to frustrated consumers.

Gripevine insists that customers post what they want as a resolution at the beginning of the complaint process.

Many people who complain, bash the company but fail to articulate what they want done that would satisfy them. This feature alone should help organizations resolve issues more easily. And it is an excellent teaching tool for consumers to get them focused on what it will take to satisfy them.

Another feature is the ability for a complainer to ‘market his complaint’ on social media and ask others to support him. The site offers a ‘support member’ link on the public gripe.  In this way, a complainer can attract others to his cause. It is expected that the more people supporting the problem, the more pressure on the organization to address it.

But profanity and bashing seem to be disallowed. The tone of the engagement between complainer and organization is expected to be civilized.

Visit Gripevine at

There are many other ‘complaint sites’ on the web. It will be interesting to see if this one, with a ‘celebrity’ on board can stick out from the crowd.

What is your opinion?
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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.

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