Act quickly to avoid a corporate image nightmare

Act quickly to avoid a corporate image nightmare

Air Canada acted quickly to repair a wheelchair

A bad experience shared on the Internet can travel at a velocity that can reach millions of people over night. As people begin to identify with or share their own experiences – the impact on a company’s reputation and sales can be dramatic.

No airline can afford to forget the viral impact of the YouTube video of the song United Breaks Guitars by Canadian musician Dave Carroll.

So it’s not surprising Air Canada acted quickly to repair a wheelchair – special motorized chair – belonging to 10-year-old passenger Tanner Bawn fighting muscular dystrophy.

Wheelchair was damaged in transit

As soon as word hit Twitter that the wheelchair was damaged in transit, the outraged messages started to fly. “So. @aircanada killed Tanner’s wheelchair. We’re now stuck at La Guardia. #tutusfortanner”. (#tutusfortanner being a fundraising event held in NYC for Tanner). Twitter exploded with support for Tanner.

Air Canada did the right things. They immediately provided a manual wheelchair and then an electronic one. Realizing neither would be adequate, they located an all-night repair shop, got Tanner’s chair fixed and returned it the next day. However, they did not communicate this in the spaces where discussions were taking place, allowing damage to be done.

This new kind of corporate accountability is good for customers and, ultimately, for industry.

No business of any kind is safe from the power of social media.

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

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