Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Prepare for a Virtual Battering If You Fail to Deal with Complaints

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Prepare for a Virtual Battering If You Fail to Deal with Complaints

Article excerpt

In June 1996, Jeremy Cooperstock flew United Airlines from Toronto to Tokyo. He had such a bad experience that he decided to write a complaint letter to United. A month passed and he received no reply, so he penned another complaint letter. Finally, in late-August, he received a form letter that did not address any of his complaints.

Angered by this treatment and bolstered by messages from colleagues who had also experienced poor service with United, Cooperstock took action.

In September he set up a 'Poor Show' web page on the University of Toronto site.

The site described poor service and lack of customer orientation at United and encouraged other disgruntled passengers to share their experiences.

The page grew in popularity and finally United acted. In March 1997, United threatened the University of Toronto with legal action if the page remained on its server. Cooperstock withdrew the page, but set up his own site, www.untied.com. The page still exists and has attracted thousands of visitors. It provides hundreds of stories claiming United's incompetence and represents an independent, and therefore damning, indictment of the service levels at the troubled airline.

In London in 1995, Simon Kirkby took out an adaptable pension plan with Allied Dunbar. Over the next seven years Kirkby paid in pounds 3227 into the scheme. By December 2002 he was a little alarmed to discover that his pension was worth about pounds 1600.

He called Ray, the salesmen who sold him the pension. Ray blamed the bear market and went to great lengths to point out that charges for the pension had little to do with its poor performance. …

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