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United Breaks Guitars: The Power on One Voice in the Age of Social Media Reviewed By John Cowans of Bookpleasures.com
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John Cowans

Reviewer John Cowans: John was a University, College, and School English teacher for over 40 years, John Cowans now lives in retirement in Chester., Nova Scotia.

 
By John Cowans
Published on September 20, 2012
 

Author: Dave Carroll 

Publisher: Hay House

ISBN: 978-1-4019-3793-5



Author: Dave Carroll 

Publisher: Hay House

ISBN: 978-1-4019-3793-5


These days I suppose everyone has his own airline horror story. I know that I have. Complaints lodged; complaints ignored. Grrrr! Anyway, who am I compared to the massive size and influence of a giant airline, and considering the millions of air miles travelled without a mishap, my problem, they say, is simply statistically insignificant. I used to be a matter of ‘statistical insignificance. That is, until Dave Carroll came along.

By the way, who is this Dave Carroll? Dave Carroll is a singer-songwriter from Halifax, Canada. He had a bad airline experience. United Airlines broke his guitar, and ignored him when he tried to get them to replace it or just repair it, after all it was his livelihood. They regarded him as statistically insignificant until, in 2009, he wrote a song called ‘United Breaks Guitars‘ and then made a YouTube music video about the poor customer service he received. I watched the video again the other day.

I was the 12,442, 664th person to do so! So, Dave’s career blossomed and he is now a highly-sought-after performer, content creator, author, keynote speaker, and consumer advocate. And because of his efforts United Airlines learned a lesson or two, and all of us, ‘insignificant’ consumers of all kinds of products and services, are better off too. This is Dave’s story.

United Breaks Guitars: The Power on One Voice in the Age of Social Media is a well organized, highly readable, amusing and instructive book about how one person made a difference in a world where many feel overwhelmed whenever unfair confrontation is thrust upon them. First Dave tells us what happened to him and how he decided to handle the situation. To make United airlines pay some attention Dave Carroll used good humour and music to gather to his defense not just people whose complaints had been ignored, but all people who might need support when confronted with seemingly impossible barriers.

As a result of his stand against United Airlines and the army of supporters that he drew to him, United Airlines stock declined 10%, shedding $180 million in value. We live in the Age of Social Media which means that if we are going to succeed as business enterprises we cannot afford to think that some of our customers are unimportant. Dave Carroll believes: “...that companies need to hold themselves to a higher standard - a standard no different from the one I hold for myself and that many other companies also embrace. When performing, I don’t strive to play 95% of my songs well. I expect to nail all of them....” He goes on to explain that for all those who deal with the public, “ .... in the age of social media, your brand is nothing more than the sum of the conversations about it.”

Finally, Dave tells us about Richard Hue, a fellow Canadian, who has developed  a customer service resolution platform called Gripevine.com. Richard and his partner Chris Caple invited Dave to join them because they believe that Gripevine.com will become the leading destination for resolving customer complaints in the coming years.

United Breaks Guitars: The Power on One Voice in the Age of Social Media is a fascinating book that should be part of everyone’s permanent collection.

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