I've written about community subjects from time to time, but an internal discussion brought up an interesting experience I had a few years ago.

I was on a customer visit at a customer whose identity is thankfully irrelevant to this little story. The local Microsoft sales guys were there discussing whether one of the new (at that time) .NET technologies would work to fix a problem that the customer had with an IBM system that they had bought a number of years earlier. The IBM system wasn't malfunctioning, it merely wasn't architected for the internet age.

Before we went into the conference room, one of the MS guys talked to us about who was going to be there.  He said, "there will be two or three IBM people in there with us".

That seemed like a strange situation - pitching your solution when the competitors were in the room. But the MS rep explained that the IBM people were from the services branch of IBM, that they knew that there wasn't a good IBM solution to the customer problem, and they'd support an MS solution if it fixed the customer's problems.

Now *that's* customer service...