During my recent move to Tampa, I've been lamenting--loudly--on the death of customer service. It's difficult to get calls returned from vendors and contractors, and forget about retail or the service industry.

Case in point: A recent trip to a national sandwich chain where I intended to purchase 4 sandwiches in the lunch hour. After giving my order to the sandwich maker, I was asked if I had submitted my order ahead of time. I hadn't because this was not a planned luncheon, more of an on-the-go occasion. He told me he'd "go ahead and make my sandwiches *this* time" but next time I would need to submit my order via fax. (Side note: do we even have fax machines anymore?!)

How do we fix this? In last week's AdAge, several articles were devoted to social media's role within customer service. The first article grabbed my attention, "Are major marketers training John Q. Public to whine on the web?" In this article, different instances of resolved customer service issues are highlighted including a disgruntled JetBlue passenger upset about his baggage fee. After posting on a blog about his experience and that post getting picked up on Twitter, JetBlue reversed the fee.

The article states that social media is by far a more efficient and effective way of delivering customer service. I don't doubt it. Who wants to call the 1-800 number and try and navigate to the phone menu? Getting good customer service on the phone often involves crossing your fingers, holding your breath and saying small prayers. If complaints can be resolved online more quickly, then the answer that the article asks is, Yes. Marketers are training the public to complain online.

But why wait until someone complains? Sadly, it's becoming such a novelty to receive good customer service that it gets my attention more so than poor service. Last week, on Twitter, I posted about some troubles I was having dropping my son off at his new daycare. I received a reply from @GoddardSchool with a link to an article about handling separation anxiety. Did I mention my son doesn't attend a Goddard School location? This was just simple helpfulness.

And, let's not forget live customer service. In fact, AdAge's cover story focused on Ritz Carlton's efforts at in-person service.

I went into a local branch of a 5/3 bank last week to change my address. The teller asked me about my recent relocation and asked me a few benign questions. A few days later, he called me on my cell to ask how everything was going. Yes, he wanted me to open a new account with him, but the personal service prompted me to at least listen to the pitch.

I opened the account.

And, a few days after that, I received a HANDWRITTEN note in the mail.

Talk about customer service. The Goddard School and 5/3 have my vote.

Check out last week's AdAge for some additional articles on social media's role in customer service, including a great case study on AT&T's new model.