How To Handle A Customer Complaint: 101 – Or I Heart Richard Branson Part III

The latest entry on my series, Why I heart Sir Ricky B is really a no-brainer in customer service.

Picture it. An air passenger receives poor service, dodgy food and amenities, but rather than take it out on the nearest attendant, uses a pinch of humor to send a message of woe to the big boss. Blink and it’s 2010, his complaint has gone viral and it’s learned Branson personally telephoned the author.

What could have easily blown into a lawsuit or Crisis PR dream, was easily diffused by kindness, humor and a little forgiveness. The next time you feel like taking out your anger on an innocent employee, consider mom’s advice and write a letter — and answer your phone.


Virgin America Saves Endangered Pups. Or, I Heart Richard Branson Part Deux

My love for Sir Ricky B continues…

I’m a huge fan of Virgin America and their latest animal-rescue program, Operation Chihuahua.

They’ve brilliantly partnered with local and national animal rescue organizations like the ASPCA to help safely fly pups from California to their new homes on the East Coast, including NYC.

For us PR/MarComs, the jokes always been to try to include babies or puppies. It’s nice to see a PR program doing so in a completely authentic way.

I’m a cat person, but I can’t deny checking every Facebook update about “Maximus,” a lil’ guy who just arrived in NYC. I may have had a tear in the eye when VA posted a video of “Maximus” on his flight as a thank you.

VA have a top-notch social networking team, brilliantly leveraging FB and Twitter to promote the program beyond just pet enthusiasts. Their page launched last year and they’ve already garnered 50,000 loyal fans. Keep in mind this is completely different from Virgin Atlantic enthusiasts.

Americans typically travel more so domestically than internationally and it’s a rarity when we’re able to feel we’re getting a flight of passport quality. Jet Blue used to deliver warm and fuzzy back in the 2000’s, but with the economy and embarrassing cut backs in the entire flight experience, many of us can’t name an airline we don’t hate, let along friend on Facebook. Virgin America is schooling the competition and other North American carriers better pay attention.

Why I Heart Richard Branson

Today via Reuters, Richard Branson challenges Lotus F1’s Tony Fernandes to a chummy duel where the loser must dress like stewardess. Branson and Fernandes used to work together at Virgin Music.

More importantly he’s a PR dream. Getting the media to cover Branson isn’t difficult these days. The man’s got cheek which, combined with legitimate, ground-breaking innovation in business, equates to one massively interesting bloke. Makes me wonder if this guy borrowed the title, “Most Interesting Man.”

Meanwhile. Business exec in drag…Can we say Twitpic?