I’ve been following this attempt by Joseph Jaffe to get Delta Airlines to make amends to him after they royally screwed up his trip from Newark International to Atlanta to Sao Paulo, Brazil. They really made a mess of his journey and he’s got every right to be angry. And they haven’t met his demands for some sort of restitution, so he’s now even more ticked.
So, as a result, he’s blogged about it three times (a one, an a two, an a three), podcasted, tweeted, made not one but two videos on YouTube, and even created a Facebook group in his cause. Oddly, he hasn’t put together a 30-second spot.
He’s one pissed off social media maven. In fact, I think he’s pretty much used up all Web 2.0 tools to get the word out. To garner that grassroots support via social media. To have others join the conversation to back his cause.
And I’m willing to be that it will be all for naught. Here’s why.
First of all, I’ll let him explain (via the Facebook group) what happened:
I recently was flying to Sao Paulo, Brazil on Delta. After a canceled flight at Newark, I was rerouted to JFK and then told that my business class seat was not available to the flight being overbooked.
After a 36 hour fiasco and an uncomfortable 10 hour flight on coach, I am fighting back.
If Delta or similar service companies have treated you in similar ways, join this group and sign this wall as a petition. I’m looking to get 1,000,000 unified voices to express their dissatisfaction with the state of customer service today.
And I’m asking Delta to compensate me with a written apology and 2 round trip First class tickets to anywhere in the world.
That’s my price.
Take it or leave it.
I see problems with this approach.
1) Make sure people can relate to both the general and specific aspects of the complaint.
Almost all of us have had to deal with horrendous customer service. We’ve been the victim of a mess up by a company or at least been the victim of circumstance by something beyond a company’s control. And we’ve seen where said companies then try to slip or even outright lie their way out of a situation. And then we’ve had to deal with inadequate channels to get the situation rectified.
All of this happened to Joe Jaffe. We can feel his pain. In the general sense. Especially sense we’ve heard so many horror stories about air travel.
But he’s also upset that he got downgraded from business to coach. Coach. Hmmm….that’s where I travel. And, most likely, if your reading this, you do too. In a “cramped seat” as he calls them. He got bumped down to our level. In fact, he lays out his status as a Delta customer here:
- I am a Platinum Skymiles customer. Platinum is Delta’s highest frequent traveler tier
- I booked (paid for) a Business class seat (in the region of $5,000 USD)
- have an American Express Delta Skymiles affinity credit card
- I am a customer.
Most of us aren’t in the top tier. We’re in the “and everyone else” category.
I’m also looking at that $5,000 price tag, and I see two things. One is that this guy really did get screwed. He’s a loyal customer (which is important) who forked over some serious cash. He got rooked. And he deserves better.
But wait. $5,000 IS a lot of cash. That’s two months take home for a lot of people.
My point: A lot of people can relate to the getting screwed, getting the run around, and then getting a poor offer of compensation. But one of the transgressions (getting downgraded to coach) is something that many of can’t because we can’t afford to fly that far in the first place. Five thousand bucks to Sao Paulo? Nope, can’t handle that. Maybe $500 to St. Paul.
Again, to get people to back you, make sure they can relate to your complaint.
2) Be careful when making your demands public. Make sure that it also includes policy changes so everyone benefits.
Remember, this is what Joseph wants: “I’m asking Delta to compensate me with a written apology and 2 round trip First class tickets to anywhere in the world.”
I think he deserves them. I really do. I mean, Delta completely dropped the ball here, especially by telling him that he had a business class seat on the new flight. That was crap. But now, with his demand, a supporter is in the position of hounding Delta to give Joe to free First Class trips to anywhere in the world. Yes, that’s what us coach flyers are now going to do:
“We’re pissed, and we’re not gonna take it anymore!! Give Joe his free First Class tickets to anywhere in the world – including to exotic places!! Or else next time I fly coach to Topeka, I may consider another airline!!”
Again, he deserves them. But to get people excited, to create a “community” (so to speak), he needs to demand something that we can all benefit from.
At this point, I should note that his Facebook group, with a goal of having 1,000.000 members is only short by 999,962 people.
3) If you’re going to make a customer complaint video on YouTube, “videoize” the complaint.
Okay, so I just made up a new word. ; )
But seriously. Show a photo of a bunch of people standing at a customer counter. Or a bunch of exhausted people sitting around in waiting area. A photo of a sign that says “FLIGHT DELAYED” or “FLIGHT CANCELLED”. Now, we’ve got several photos of Joe with a dark red background and dark red letters. Barely readable. The second one had better lettering, but only about 25 views.
If Joe reads this, I hope he takes it all in good humor. I’ve been reading his material since the Web 1.0 days. And I hope he gets his tickets. Even if I’m still stuck in coach.