What was the last time you had an excellent customer service experience, whether it was in-person, over the phone or through a website? Did you go write-up an online review telling your friends, family and the world about that company and praise how customer-focused the service was?

Word of mouth is so valuable, especially in the day and age of social media where everyone’s thoughts and experiences are up in an easily accessible public forum. There are now websites dedicated to online reviews, and they are very popular, you probably heard of such ones as TripAdvisor and Yelp. Facebook and YouTube are also favourite places for consumers to voice their opinions and sometimes and these can sometimes go viral. This spells either very good or very bad news.

You need to be consistently updating your customer service as it is so important in maintaining your company’s good name, so are you doing it? Customers are more informed, have more choice and are becoming more brand loyal than ever before, is your company keeping up?

I recently had a terrible customer service experience with an online board game shop. After ordering my board game and receiving assurance that it shall arrive in 3-5 business days, I suffered through terrible customer service as I waited for the product to arrive.

A week and a half after I placed the order I made the first of many calls. It’s a ‘busy period’ and it was ‘soon on its way’ was what they touted and I believed them; at this point, I didn’t have any reason not to.

At the two and a half week mark, I called again to enquire about my board game, which was for someone’s birthday that had now come and gone. During this call, the blame game started with the ‘customer service representative’ spinning lies about how Australia Post had a bug in its tracking system and the product was ‘probably’ on the way.

At the month and a half mark, after many more phone calls, emails and frustration I decided to Google, the company, surely it wasn’t only me who was encountering these problems. Low and behold the internet opened up to me the misery of others who had ordered through this website. Those who too had experienced the waiting, the lies, the terrible customer service and the utter lack of customer care this company displayed.

If there is anything to take from this story, it’s that you must understand the image and reaction to the customer service you, your employees and the company are exhibiting. Understanding, updating or tweaking the customer-service policies you have in place could be the most important thing you do for your business today. One tip you can always do easily is Googling your company; find out how it is portrayed on the World Wide Web. If there is nothing out there, is that something you would like to change?

If you were wondering, I did eventually get the board game, just a little over two months after the ordering date. Upon receiving it, I immediately hopped online and wrote a review of the company (it wasn’t pretty).

Have you or someone you know experienced terrible customer service? Did you voice an opinion or did you stay quiet?

Originally published on LinkedIn