In customer service, going viral usually means something went wrong and people are mocking you.
An extra dimension is added when that viral service failure is captured on video. In some cases, we actually see the events unfolding. In other cases, the video re-caps the service failure in a way that enlightens and entertains.
Here are my top five viral service failure videos. Agree? Disagree?
#5 Domino's Pizza Prank (2009)
Story: Two employees at a Domino’s Pizza franchise thought it would be great fun to film one of them defiling customer orders while the other narrates. Though the two insisted the video was a joke, they soon found themselves fired and sitting in jail.
Viral Factor: The original video was removed, presumably by the two pranksters. That hasn’t stopped the video being posted by others, with at least one posting attracting over a million views.Lesson Learned: If you absolutely, positively must do something this stupid, don't film it.
#4 Dude, don’t touch my junk! (2010)
The Story: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented new airport security procedures in late 2010 that triggered a wave of passenger complaints. Many travelers felt harassed, humiliated, and physically violated. John Tyner surreptitiously videoed his TSA experience and posted what’s now known as the “Dude, don’t touch my junk!” video.
Viral Factor: The incident attracted national media attention and the video has been seen over one million times on YouTube.
Lesson Learned: Excessive focus on compliance without compassion won’t win you many fans.
#3 Sleeping Comcast Technician (2006)
The Story: A Comcast technician falls asleep while waiting on hold with his own company! The homeowner records the video and posts it online. Mockery ensues.
Viral Factor: The original YouTube video has attracted 1.7 million views.
Lesson Learned: If the system is broken, your employees won’t succeed.
#2 FedEx Package Tosser (2011)
The Story: A FedEx driver was caught on surveillance video tossing a package over a fence. The owner posted the video on YouTube. The worst part, according to the owner, was he was at home when the package was delivered.
Viral Factor: The original video has been viewed nearly 9 million times on YouTube.
Lesson Learned: Always serve customers like the world is watching.
#1 United Breaks Guitars (2009)
Story: United Airlines refused to take responsibility after baggage handlers broke Dave Carroll’s guitar. Carroll sought revenge by posting a humorous music video to YouTube.
Viral Factor: More than 13 million people have watched the video. The experience led Carroll to write a book by the same name and start a company called Gripevine.
Lesson Learned: When you're wrong, fix it and fix it fast.