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“United Breaks Guitars” case analysis

The case study is about an incident that happened at United Airlines. This incident would have caused the company to lose 10% of its stock market value.This incident shows the importance of polishing one’s reputation when one is a large company, as ignorance of customer satisfaction becomes extremely problematic in the long term. We will therefore see how the incident was handled, what the consequences were and how it would have been wise to resolve the problem.

 

In March 2008, a Canadian musician, Dave Carroll, flew from your company (United Airline) to Chicago, Nebraska. It was the beginning of a nightmare for United Airline and what happened during the trip made Carroll a famous character, a courageous man who was able to preserve his rights and interests.

 



Carroll says he heard another passenger say that baggage breakers at the Chicago airport were throwing passengers’ luggage out during stopovers. “When Carroll arrived at his destination, he discovered that the neck of his $3,500 Taylor guitar was badly damaged and had a few cracks in it.” 

 

He made a claim to the airline but unfortunately they were indifferent to the incident and told Caroll that he would not be entitled to any compensation.

 

To get revenge, in 2009, Carroll made a protest song called “United Breaks Guitars” which described his experience on United Airlines and the airline’s subsequent reaction. The song became a hit on YouTube and received feedback from his online peers when it was released. United Airline received many negative reviews in terms of consumer service and brand burning. As a result, United Airlines’ reputation with the public deteriorated significantly.

 

An aggravating factor is that united airlines presents itself as a customer-focused company offering one of the best services and experiences to its customers. This incident shows the gap between what they claim to do and reality. The risk is that if the case is not isolated, other disgruntled customers who have suffered the same injustice will join the complaint – the movement can take on considerable proportions.

 

In today’s era, social networks give immense power to customers.  A complaint can be filed against a publication and damage the company’s reputation. Or an influential person can make a bad advertisement, which could be disastrous for the company’s business activity. It is therefore important to always go in the direction of the customer in order to provide the best possible experience.

 

The ideal in this situation would have been to deal directly with the dispute by offering compensation to the client but at this stage of the incident.  The company can only try to right its wrongs. Given that the bad publicity has gone viral, it would be a matter of making the resolution of this conflict public. For example by a public apology and why not buy a guitar back from the client. This is what the CEO of this company ended up doing. Of course, the aim is to prevent this kind of incident from happening again. It will therefore be necessary to change the way baggage handlers work and also to review the system for handling disputes.