My last post was about terrible customer service I experienced at Golf Galaxy, where I was a very loyal and frequent customer. I gave it two weeks to see if I would get any type of contact from Golf Galaxy, but did not get anything. What I did get out of it was the satisfaction of finding out that this has happened to many other people. Many of it through the Web (comments on FB, email, etc.) and also through interaction with friends and family. One of my biggest accomplishments out of this was having one of my friends (who buys new clubs every year) react by saying, “Wow. I have had decent experiences there but nothing great. Looks like I won’t be going back now….ever.”

But through this experience there are some key takeaways that we can all take when it comes to your brand being exposed negatively on the Web. And let me get this straight, my experience was not like many recent ones that were just huge (Dominos, Motrin), mine was very small in Web proportions with having just over 400 people view my post, 4 RT on Twitter, and 12 comments (FB and email). But here is the deal, this is thousands of people being exposed to this experience. Not all will change their minds and stop shopping there, but a few will.

The biggest thing that brands are having issues with on the social Web is listening. Obvsiously noboby was listening on the Web for Golf Galaxy two weeks ago when this post came out. If they were listening they could have joined the conversation by commenting on the blog, sending me something on twitter or facebook, or direct messaging me via twitter or email. If they would have done so acknowledging the situation and apologizing I would have wrote a post about how good they were at listening. And even better maybe would have given Golf Galaxy another chance in the future. Instead, they have lost a customer (hopefully hundreds!) for life.

So what should they do to prevent this in the future. Just a few thoughts:

  • Start a twitter account and listen. Search golf galaxy every day to see what people are saying. Also use this account to put out sales or coupons (much like the emails that they send).
  • Start searching the Web for blogs that talk about them and join the conversation.
  • Start being social on their own. Align social tools with marketing objectives.

Good luck.