The recent passenger removal incident on an United Airlines flight, ignored the basic service rules that prevent negative branding. Company stock took a hit, the story created negative social momentum, and there are still angry flyers who won't book flights on the airline.
As social posts grew, there could have been a different public reaction if they used these top five service basics.
1. Stop Denial or Defiant Mode - Take immediate ownership emphasizing an investigation into the facts. Show sincere compassion and concern.
2. Flesh Out the Exact Problem - Determine the internal or systemic practices that caused the problem and related incident.
3. Publicly Confirm What Went Wrong - Publish policy or operational changes. Give details on specific actions.
4. Reach Out To Those Affected - Offer incentives or applicable replacement to those negatively impacted. Imagine the reaction if the United CEO visited the injured passenger in the hospital, expressing care and concern.
5. Rebuild Relationships - Affirm changes and communicate regularly with customers. Ask for feedback and suggestions. Confirm new policies and operational practices socially. Give examples and get customer testimonials. Reflect a positive post-incident environment.
United has a lot of rebuilding to do, but following basic service processes would help rebuild company branding and imaging.