By now, you've probably heard the story of how United breaks guitars. Here's a story you haven't heard, about how Hawaiian Airlines broke some paddles and then made it right via the perfect combination of social media and customer service.
Luke Evslin, a college friend of mine, is a competitive ocean paddler. (He's back at it after the sport nearly took his life, but that's another story.) Since he lives on Kauai, he often takes inter-island flights to get to competitions, requiring him to check his paddles. When several paddles were broken on one such flight, he went on Facebook to express his frustration.
So what's the lesson here? It's simple. Empower your employees to take action when they see conversations happening about your company on social media. Encourage them to be good ambassadors and then make it clear how they should get involved. Luke's follow up message, and the subsequent stories and goodwill in the comments section, show how beneficial such a policy can be.