When you have a good experience as a customer, do you tell anyone about it? Do you tweet it, post it on your blog, send them a testimonial, etc.?

You should.

Before I get into why it's so important, let me give a shout out to a seller who I recently had a good experience with: Telestream (the makers of ScreenFlow -- screencasting software for the Mac).

Without going into the details of how it happened, I got my copy of ScreenFlow for free. I believe that I earned it, but I didn't ask for it. They gave it to me because they recognized that I'd earned it, and proactively refunded my purchase price. How many companies do you know of who'd do that?

Oh, and by the way, I love the software too.

There are two reasons why I think it's important to share experiences like this.

Reason #1: To fairly balance criticism they receive

Nobody's perfect. Sometimes the best companies are going to mess up a transaction. And sometimes a customer is going to think a company messed up, even if they didn't.

Unhappy customers like to complain. And lots of people like to listen to complainers. Even the news media likes to jump on board and amplify the complaints.

If the same doesn't happen when a company does something good (which is usually the case), other potential customers are going to get the wrong impression, and companies who deserve to be rewarded won't be.

Okay, so we've covered justice -- a wonderful ideal that we all love but rarely do anything about. Now let's talk selfishness:

Reason #2: so that we'll be able to continue having good customer experiences

What got me thinking about this today was something Seth Godin wrote on his blog the other day:

The question is: should a company do whatever it can to make a short-term profit, or should it work to do the right thing?

Duh. Do the right thing. And within the bounds of doing the right thing, maximize profits. (I don't think Seth was seriously puzzling over this question.)

At the bottom of his post, Seth concludes with:

Why aren't ethical marketers (of any product) eager to have clear and well-defined regulations, creating a set of honest definitions so that they can actually do what they set out to do--make a difference and make a living at the same time? If you're busy competing against people willing to cut corners, I'd think you'd want the rules to be really aggressive, clear and obvious.

The one reason I can think of why an ethical marketer wouldn't want regulations is because of the costs (to the government) of monitoring and (to themselves) of compliance. But then, if we're just talking about well written "honest definitions", and not a bunch of extra reporting, the costs should be far less than the benefits.

But the point I wanted to make is that in the real world, there often aren't a set of well-defined regulations and definitions, with adequate monitoring and enforcement behind them to help ethical marketers compete against those who focus only on maximizing short-term profits.

So how are those people going to compete on a level playing field unless those of us who they treat so well return the favor by sharing our good experiences?

And what's going to happen to us as consumers if they can't compete? We're going to be stuck buying from the profit maximizers.

Give a shout out to a good marketer today.