Even big corporate companies can be taken to task and apologize when faced with a potentially devastating video that can easily go viral on social media. The latest airline fiascos showed that travelers can arm themselves with only the might of a smartphone's video camera and social media will take care of the rest.
Prof. Paul Argenti, who teaches corporate communications at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, told The Associated Press that most companies still fail to read the message. "Companies still operate as if they can hide things and make believe something didn't happen." The United Airlines learned it the hard way and paid literally a costly price for their mistake.
A video that captured how the United Airlines forcibly dragged one of its passengers off an overbooked flight to Chicago caused an online uproar. It took United CEO Oscar Munoz two days to issue the right apology but also a huge drop in the company's stock and full fare reimbursement for all passengers of the infamous flight. "When the video is out there, don't try to countermand what the video says," said Prof. Herman Leonard of Harvard's Business Administration Department.
American Airlines recently found itself in the same hot waters as the United Airlines controversy two weeks ago but acted faster with their apology. Media outlets, however, were quicker to pounce on the video footage that captured the crying woman and the heated confrontation on the said American Airlines flight. The company revealed that the crying woman and her family got upgraded to first class on another flight while the flight attendant got suspended.
The fast response of American Airlines could prevent the controversy from taking a turn for the worse, but it also highlights poor customer service in the airline industry. "Good customer service is finding a way to deescalate a situation and he (the flight attendant) was throwing gasoline on it," CEO Allen Adamson of BrandSimple told abc7. That's why the travelers - and customers in general - take the smartphone's video camera and social media as their secret weapon.