'Dear Mr. Human': United Airlines Suffers Another Embarrassing Customer Service Blunder

By Geoff Weiss | Small Business

The customer service department at United Airlines certainly has a way with words.

For the second time, the Chicago-headquartered company has sent out an automated apology letter to one of its disgruntled passengers without even bothering to fill in specifying fields.

In response to a complaint filed by travel reporter Chris Chmura, who missed his flight after it departed 20 minutes ahead of schedule, the airline issued an apology not to Chmura but in a letter that was addressed “Dear Mr. Human.”

The icy reference is repeated throughout -- as in, “Mr. Human, your email clearly expresses your disappointment…” and, “Mr. Human, you have made a significant contribution to our airline.”

Related:  Are You Really Listening to Your Customers?

This isn’t the airline’s first gaffe of the sort. In July, Reddit user lyndy shared a photo of another peculiar correspondence from United, the body of which contained several fields that had been left untouched, including “(SPECIFIC EVENT)”, “(SPECIFIC ITEM)” and “(CUSTOMER NAME).” Check it out here.

The oversight feels particularly offensive given that, in recent years, social media has turned into a roaring forum for customer complaints -- as well as a strategic platform, when harnessed appropriately, upon which businesses can respond.

And just ask Coca-Cola about how much consumers appreciate seeing their own names in print. The company’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign -- in which Coke bottle labels were personalized with 250 popular names -- reversed a negative sales trend that had plagued the company for over a decade.

While United has yet to respond to an onslaught of ridicule, American Airlines took the opportunity to take a slight jab at its competitor. “We assure you there has been no #robot takeover here!” American tweeted. “We're human and here to help 24/7.”

Related:  Spare Me Your Platitudes. Customers Are Tired of Insincere Support.

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