In this recovering economic climate, it is crucial for businesses to be mindful of the need to provide services in the most genuine, friendly way possible in order to set themselves apart from competitors.

 

A great product or service is not enough for a customer to be truly satisfied anymore; customers require a certain level of quality treatment in order to really feel like they are getting their money’s worth.

 

Moreover, this age of technology has given the public an opportunity to create “internet celebrities” out of everyday people, from athletes to musicians to inspirational leaders. These people have a level of credibility in the eyes of their followers, and their opinion can have a dramatic effect on their followers.

 

Last week, Rachel “Yoga Girl” Brathen took to Instagram with a complaint rant regarding a poor experience with Dutch Caribbean airline, Insel Air.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to officially tell the world to NEVER, ever, EVER fly with @inselair or any of their associated airlines. After going to the airport with our confirmed tickets in our hands, booking number, money deducted from our account, everything paid and ready, they tell us we have no room on the plane. We are bringing 30 people for our retreat in Bonaire, most flying this airline, and they have the audacity to tell us that because we booked via Expedia they have no responsibility to get us a on a new flight or give us our money back. The manager just yelled at me, saying I’m stupid for showing up at their offices expecting them to help us. I never complain on this platform but bad businesses taking advantage of good people deserve honest feedback like this. Insel Air, you suck. I will never fly with you again and I hope that none of my 1,000,000 followers on Instagram and Facebook will either. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Do no harm – but take no shit! (for our Bonaire participants don’t worry, we will get on another airline and will be there on time tomorrow.) #superrant #saywhatyoufeel #meanwhatyousay

 

 

Insel Air got hundreds of negative comments in the social backlash on their Instagram profile. (Instagram.com)

Insel Air got hundreds of negative comments on their Instagram profile. (Instagram.com)

In a matter of hours, the Insel Air Instagram account received angry, hateful posts from Brathen’s loyal followers on every single one of the airline’s photos.

 

 

 

 

 

A few hours later, Brathen followed up with a response from the Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba, apologizing to her followers for the negative rant and asking them not to post mean comments on the airline’s Instagram account. “I think sometimes I underestimate the power of social media and how much impact I actually have,” she said in her post, thanking her followers for their support.

 

Insel Air has issued no public apology to Brathen or to the people traveling with her. Perhaps, the impact of the situation will not affect the success of the airline in the immediate future, but the power of word-of-mouth marketing cannot be ignored. This was very bad marketing on behalf of Insel Air and its representatives.

 

Do you think that people with large following on social media should be more careful with the things they post about other companies, or do you think it is their social responsibility to communicate their negative experiences to save other consumers from the same fate? Let’s talk social media and marketing here in the comments, or you can find me on Twitter @TiffaniJPurdy.