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Customer experiences - Our accidental viral video campaign

During a business trip in May this year, Voxpopme’s CEO Dave Carruthers went through the kind of customer experience we all dread. Fortunately for us though, it also resulted in one of our most impactful ‘marketing’ activities this year.

Operator American Airlines committed all the sins of poor air travel service during the journey, including delayed flights, temporarily lost baggage, poor customer service and an inflexible system for managing these mishaps.

We all know these things happen, but frustration escalated when AA committed the worst sin of all - nobody listened.

So, what did Dave do in response? Well, as a proponent of video as the most powerful form of communication with brands, he did what came naturally and took out his phone to record a message for Doug Parker, AA’s CEO.

As Voxpopme’s Marketing Manager, I would have discouraged Dave’s approach if I had been with him, concerned about our reputation and the possible PR backlash. Wow, it hurts being wrong.

Dave’s video initiated tidal waves of interest and engagement with our brand, substantially raising our profile. Within minutes the video was being shared globally, within hours, the media were publishing it (Daily Mail & Mirror Online), and before the day closed out, Dave had half a million views on Youtube. The Voxpopme website traffic spiked at an all-time high, eBook downloads tripled, and enquiries about our video research solution poured in.

More importantly, people with similar experiences sympathised with Dave on comments sections, message boards and social media. Clearly, he was not alone in his frustration, or wanting to communicate this with the c-suite of the company responsible.

These shared experiences are crucially important. Dave’s viral video certainly had an impact, but the comments sections showed that there are countless others whose stories AA simply haven’t heard. These voiceless customers needed a channel to share their stories, both good and bad. And video is perhaps the best way to capture, analyse and share these experiences.(While 99% of people agreed with Dave, the comments sections didn’t always make for the lightest of reading.)

We are currently witnessing an explosion in self-recorded videos as people become more and more comfortable telling their stories on the many apps and social platforms we interact with daily. But there is a better way to harness the compelling nature of video than these unsolicited examples.

Video offers an opportunity like no other to give consumers a voice beyond simple rating tables and satisfaction metrics. We can do this in a structured, scalable manner thanks to video research platforms that make capturing and analysing video insight an easy task with super fast transcription, sentiment analysis and advanced theme exploration.

Brands can skip waiting for feedback like Dave’s to arrive on Youtube, and avoid trawling keywords for mentions of their name. As researchers, we can go directly to the consumers that matter by adding open-ended video questions _nto any study, giving people an opportunity to express their decisions, behaviours and motivations about an infinite number of subjects.

This proactive approach empowers us to use video for more than just customer complaints. We can bring customers into our product development plans, or our ad testing team by pushing questions straight to them on their digital devices. Now we don’t have just one easily disregarded or discredited customer story, instead we have hundreds of stories piecing together shareable narratives to significantly shape the future of our organisations.

I’d like to finish up by extending an invite to Doug Parker. Doug, Voxpopme would love to run a free video research project to let your customers share their first hand experiences with you. We know you’re ‘Going for Great’, and we think we can help you get there.

Let us know if you’d like to go for it.