United failed the “Social” test

by Richard Furleigh

The era of social once again shows us just how swiftly information spreads, especially when it involves one of America’s least liked industries; airlines. At approx 7:30 last night a video showing United personnel forcibly removing a passenger was posted online, and in a little over 12 hours is trending on every major social media platform. At 9:27 CST United’s CEO issued this statement:

Twitter has been having a field day with “re-accommodate” and for good reason; it shows a complete lack of caring. There was no ownership of the incident, no real empathy, and the entire message reads very cold.

Companies have to come to grips with the immediate nature of Social and the implications that poor responses like this will have. United especially has been under fire for other issues in the recent past and have to find a way to better manage these situations. It goes without saying that having them not happen to begin with would be preferable, but humans make mistakes so inevitably you will have to respond for your company’s mistakes as well.

Policy and actions aside, the takeaway point here is not only finding better ways to interact with your customers on a daily basis, but it is beyond imperative to respond in a humanistic way that admits to fault, and sincerely assures your customer base that things will be fixed in the future. The response from United’s CEO was…. lackluster at best…. It feels entirely like every other major company “apologizing” for their mistake with zero sense of connection to the people they serve. It is our job as good corporate citizens to reach our customers in a much more enriching way, and make sure messages like this are a thing of the past.

What are your thoughts about the way business could handle a situation like this? What would you have done differently? Until next time Pengminions!

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