Here's a follow-up statement from Dave Carroll of the band Sons of Maxwell. His video has over 1 million views and United really had no choice but to respond. I'm sure this will become a customer service, social web case study.
Dave's not done with his videos yet either. Two more are on the way.
Dave handled his service issues way more creatively than I did (and I only had problems with a bagel; United broke his expensive guitar). However, it's the potential of the web to spread these stories way beyond anything a front line service rep could ever imagine that could have leaders thinking seriously about two things:
1) the training, tools, processes and support front-liners have to consistently provide excellent customer service and
2) whether they can afford to continue ignoring the relevance and potential impact on their businesses of the web and tools like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube (this video got help from all 3 in going viral).
Based on what I see every day I have some very simple advice for a lot of leaders out there. TRY THESE TECHNOLOGIES.
At least learn the basics of how they work and the communities they serve.
If you don't at least do that you're missing some basic knowledge. Knowledge that today is fundamental to understanding a key risk - and opportunity - that your business faces
By the way...if you type 'United Breaks Guitars' into Google you get over 13 million hits. The story is only a couple of days and one video old.