At a time when the economy is hitting a rocky patch, companies are being careful about hiring, and every expense falls under the microscope, it can be easy to forget about good old-fashioned customer service. But of course, pleasing customers is an enterprise's first and most meaningful goal. Former Inc. editor Paul B. Brown has written an interesting round-up of customer service advice from various sources on the Web.

The kicker: "When you call asking for help, isn't the recorded message, 'For customer service, please hold,' a wonderful example of terrible service?"

Speaking of customer service, I had dinner last night with an old friend, Theresa Regli of CMSWatch, at a restaurant in New York called Aquavit. The food was good but the service was pretty lousy—the maitre d seemed in no rush to seat us, the table was not properly set, our order wasn't taken for quite awhile, our bread came without butter ("It's on its way!" the poor waiter said), and an expensive bottle of wine seemed to arrive by Pony Express.

I don't mean to pick on this particular restaurant or waiter (okay, maybe I do), but rather to offer a reminder: In this day and age, a satisfied customer may tell a few people about your business; an unsatisfied customer will simply blog about it.

Meanwhile, do you have good advice concerning customer service? Any links worth sharing? And do you have a company that you want to condemn for its recent treatment of you as a customer? Bombs away....