In his post this week "When bad customer service turns good," Ted Lee highlights how when he sent his fairly new Macbook Pro in for service, techs promised it would be back by the end of this week. When that wasn't happening due to a missing part, this intrepid blogger/customer took matters into his own hands...

"In a fit of desperation, I fired off an email to Apple’s executive team and detailed my problem. I was realistic in my requested, and only asked that they do something to get my laptop back to me by Friday Aug 4. By the close of Wednesday, I hadn’t heard anything and resigned myself to plan B. I was going to have to buy a Macbook to have something during the trip, and when I returned, I would unload it on eBay and take whatever hit in price that I needed to.

"Today I got a call from a man from Apple who identified himself as Steve Job’s personal assistant. Jobs had gotten my email and instructed his assistant to make the necessary calls to get my laptop fixed and returned back to me in time for WWDC. His assistant also mentioned that Steve found my line about “going to WWDC without a laptop is like going to war with a bannana” funny. Ha. I made Steve Jobs laugh today. How about that."

What I particularly liked about this was that the writer noted that when you're running into a wall on support, you can usually get the help and assistance you need when you keep a level head, hold back on being nasty to the person on the other end of the line, and make sure to escalate up the food chain when needed. You may not need to contact the chairman's office in order to get the problem resolved, but it's nice to know in some cases that the approach works. I know that I've had my share of emails and letters sent from execs who were contacted by customers frustrated by one thing or another.

We employ systems internally and through our partners to provide assistance with software bugs and problems with product functionality, feedback loops for collecting suggestions on product features, business issues and other things that come up from time to time. There's also new systems employed by Windows Vista in the Windows Feedback Platform as an extension of Windows Error Reporting as found in Windows XP.

And yes, even feedback sent to the execs makes it in to these systems, so we can resolve the issue and (hopefully) learn from it.