Assignment Question 1

Objective: Find an instance where a customer embararessed a firm using social media, describe what happened, provide an overview of the result, and provide your opinion.

One of the most interesting examples I found of a customer embarrassing an organization was one where a US Soldier embarrassed Delta Airlines via Youtube video. US Soldiers that were returning home from Afghanistan had to pay for their fourth bag out of pocket, $200 per bag, when in fact the United States Government has a contract with the airlines that if you are returning from military orders you are authorized up to four bags. However Delta Airlines only allows three and the whole unit ended up paying over $2,800 to allow their fourth bag to be on the plane. This particular soldier filmed a comrade of his explaining what happened as well as what was in his fourth bag, which held weapons that he had used to protect himself and people of Afghanistan with. The soldier then ended the video saying he was glad to be home, but he was not happy with what had happened. I think it was very intelligent move and this person had every right to use social media to broadcast the events that had occurred. This video was seen by over 200,000 people and it took less than a day for Delta Airlines to issue an apology and change their policy to four bags for soldiers in the economy class. For me, this just shows how powerful social media can be, considering how easy it is to make and upload a Youtube video, I would imagine that firms and companies would need to really stay on top of responses by the public about their company especially if they were negative. It seems that Delta Airlines definitely stayed alert as to what was being posted about their company and I believe they did the right thing, in their apology they said “we regret that this experience caused these soldiers to feel anything but welcome on their return home” and “we hope these changes to our policies reflect the true respect we hold for our servicemen and women…” I read through their apology it was well phrased and they did make the appropriate changes. I feel this particular case was well handled by both sides, but could have been avoided if the Airlines had just stuck to their contract and allowed soldiers in the economy class to have a fourth bag. However I do question why they had to carry their weapons on the plane, not only does it seem a tad unsettling, but I would think there would be an alternative mode of transport weapons used in warfare.

More information can be found on these websites:
- http://blog.delta.com/2011/06/07/military-travel-baggage-policies-our-thoughts/
- http://www.satisfactionsecrets.com/customer-satisfaction/us-soldier-youtube-video-embarrasses-delta-airlines/

Objective: Find an instance where an employee embarrassed a firm using social media, describe what happened, provide an overview of the result, and provide your opinion.  

One instance where an employee has embarrassed a firm using social media is exemplified in the case of Robert Becker, who was fired from his job as a car salesman after embarrassing the company in a Facebook post. Robert Beckerman worked at a BMW car dealership in Lake Bluff, during a sales event for one of the vehicle’s the dealership served hot dogs and bottled water to customers, he posted comments and pictures on Facebook about the sales event saying “I was happy to see that Knauz went ‘All Out’ for the most important launch of a new BMW in years.” That same day he also posted pictures of a neighbouring Land Rover dealership, also owned by the Knauz group. At this dealership a sales representative allowed a customer’s 13-year-old son to drive the vehicle, but he ended up driving it down into a pond, Becker posted pictures of this event and wrote “This is your car: This is your car on drugs.”  In my personal opinion I find the comments on the BMW events comical, but they are quite unprofessional. However the postings for the Land Rover dealership event weren’t comical, they were definitely unprofessional, they were also rather unnecessary and I imagine rather offensive to some. The end result was the termination of Robert Becker’s employment. This particular incident was taken to court and the judge ruled that “Becker’s online posts about the sales event were protected by federal law. But the judge found that his comments and the pictures about the Land Rover accident were ‘neither protected nor concerted activities’ because they had nothing to do with his conditions of employment.” In the end the dealership upheld its decision to fire Robert Becker but claimed “the ruling makes social media more confusing for employees and employers.” I agree that this ruling may confuse people, particularly those who are working, about the restrictions and the consequences of what they post on social media. I do believe that this man did embarrass this firm a fair bit, and could have been better handled, or at least the consequences wouldn’t have been so negative for him, if he had only stuck to commenting on his particular workplace. In the article it said that The National Labor Relations Board has gone after companies that have fired workers for making disparaging remarks about their employers on Facebook, however I believe there is a line that defines what is appropriate and inappropriate to put online. At the moment it may be a bit hazy but as we can see from this case there is a limit to how far you are allowed to scrutinize your employer, especially when it comes to making crude comments on things that are, really not any of your business. I’d say this is my own personal opinion but apparently, those such as the judge and the owners of the dealership feel this way as well.

More information can be found at:
- http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-10-01/business/ct-biz-1001-nlrb-20111001_1_facebook-post-karl-knauz-bmw-dealership
- http://internetbizlaw.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/car-salesman-loses-case-against-dealership-after-being-fired-for-his-facebook-posts/

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