I had this question asked to me recently:

“Honestly, how powerful can one unhappy customer – one voice – truly be?”

This question was asked in a discussion regarding social media and the risk it imposes on companies and organizations.

With all the real-life examples of the power that one voice can have in this age of social media going through my mind, I had to laugh!

So I decided to write this post as a reminder: You may not be able to please everyone all the time, nor should you try (it’s exhausting), but it is important that you do your best to focus on always building a relationship with your customers and fans, as well as always being honest, sincere and human.

The power of one voice that has been wronged can be insatiable. Have a look:

Troy Library’s Book Burning Party

The Troy Public Library of Michigan faced closing due to lack of funds. When the people of Troy were going to vote to close the library, the voice of the library shouted out with a book burning party. Check it out:

Results of this campaign:
The library reached their goal with 342% more votes than projected. The library was saved!

The case of a 7 year-long legal battle ending in 4 days

Deborah Kudzman, of Olivia’s Oasis, had struggled a 7 year-long battle against major conglomerate, Lassonde, a multi-million dollar Quebec enterprise, over the use of the word “Oasis” in her company name. For 7 full years Kudzman suffered through 6 figure lawyer expenses, near bankruptcy and much stress due to the powerful corporation’s lack of morality and good ethics.

That is, until Kudzman finally took to social media to voice her chagrin.

The power of Kudzman’s voice:
Within one long, Easter weekend, social media rose up to Kudzman’s aid and attacked Lassonde for their unruly behaviour. By the end of the long weekend (4 days), Lassonde had publicly dropped all charges and agreed to pay all of Kudzman’s legal expenses, allowing her to keep her company name with no more threat to her company or livelihood.

United Breaks Guitars

We all know the story of United Breaks Guitars, when singer/song-writer Dave Carroll released a music video telling the story of how United broke his guitar and refused to pay for the $1,200 worth of damages.

Results of this video:
The video reached 1 million views in 4 days (today the video stands at over 11 million views and counting). United saw serious repercussion to their brand and reputation, and today this particular case is used as a training piece for companies and organizations all around the world.

So seriously, how powerful can one voice truly be?

I’d say pretty damn powerful!

How can you prevent these stories from happening to your company?

Although you can’t prevent every single crisis, nor can you make every single person in the world happy, there are things that you can do on a daily basis that can help you prevent, or otherwise overcome, a social media crisis:

Do you have other examples of the power of one voice in today’s world of social media? I’d love to hear them! Share your stories with me below.

photo by: joshjanssen