I am not one to suffer poor customer service in silence. Regrettably, the last week has provided me with the opportunity to be unusually prolific. I’ve written an email to the furniture retailer who didn’t deliver on time, sent several tweets while on hold with an airline, and followed up with an email to that airline about the multiple errors in my bookings. Last week’s restaurant with the wonderful chef was noted on Yelp, as well as the interminably slow service. The florist who sent me near-dead lilies was also called out on Yelp. And I’ve responded to two online surveys, offering both companies what I hope was constructive advice on how they could improve their service for future customers — of whom I am unlikely to be among.

I am not alone. According to Forrester’s North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2009 (US), 68% of North American consumers say that they've had unsatisfactory service interactions in the past 12 months. And many of us are not suffering in silence: 71% of these consumers have provided feedback directly to the company through surveys, phone calls, emails, or letters. Further, 16% of these consumers who have had bad service experiences have vented through social channels, such as online customer reviews, Facebook status updates, or blog posts.

If you haven’t already, I recommend reading my colleague Andrew McInnes’ report called “How Consumers Complain About Poor Service.”

I also want to send kudos to those companies noted by the National Retail Foundation as the top 10 retailers for customer service as selected by shoppers (listed alphabetically): Amazon.com, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lands’ End, L.L. Bean, Newegg, Nordstrom, Overstock.com, QVC, and Zappos. Congratulations to you! You remind us that customer experiences can end with gratitude instead of complaint. And this week, I especially appreciate that reminder.