Great article and great real life experience on the Joel on Software blog today called: Seven steps to remarkable customer service.

Of course I invite you to read the whole article (as always really nice to read) and if you want a quick quick summary, have a look here down:

1. Fix everything two ways. This means making both the immediate solution (to give fast feedback to user) AND the deeper one (to fix it once and for all)

2. Suggest blowing out the dust. Users don’t want to be treated as idiots:

Tell them to change the setting and then change it back “just to make sure that the software writes out its settings.”

3. Make customers into fans.

When customers have a problem and you fix it, they’re actually going to be even more satisfied than if they never had a problem in the first place. […] when someone does call, look at it as a great opportunity to create fanatically devoted customer

4. Take the blame. “It’s my fault” is a sentence that can help in letting our customer change his emotions

5. Memorize awkward phrases. No need to get angry. Try to manage your emotions and learn these kind of sentences:

“I’m sorry, it’s my fault.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t accept your money. The meal’s on me.”

“That’s terrible, please tell me what happened so I can make sure it never happens again.”

6. Practice puppetry. They are not angry at you, they are angry at what happened, at your business … so don’t get involved and ask yourself and

pretend you’re a puppeteer. The customer is yelling at the puppet. They’re not yelling at you. They’re angry with the puppet.

Your job is to figure out, “gosh, what can I make the puppet say that will make this person a happy customer?”

7. Greed will get you nowhere. You just want delighted customers so don’t be hard in your ‘refund’ strategy

8. (Bonus) Give customer service people a career path.

Would you like to be treated that way?