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February 2007

Would Liberals like this Dutch tax policy?

From time to time certain people--I won't mention names or political persusasions--use Europe as an exemplar of good public policy. "We should ban the death penalty like the Europeans do." "We should have much more generous welfare policies, like the Europeans do."

And so on.

I've been meaning to keep a list entitled, "Do You Really Approve of All of Europe's Policies?" This brief description of Dutch tax policy would be near the top of the list. (The link to the original ABC news story seems to be broken.)

This sounds like very good news, but I haven't seen it anywhere else.

Yet crime reports, victimization surveys and public health measures consistently reveal something else: large declines in the percentages of young women reporting violence against them, especially sexual attacks, and of young men committing rape and other violent offenses

The always-interesting--really!--Joel Spolsky lists his "Seven Steps to Remarkable Customer Service".

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.

It has to do with expectations. Most people’s experience with tech support and customer service comes from airlines, telephone companies, cable companies, and ISPs, all of whom provide generally awful customer service. It’s so bad you don’t even bother calling any more, do you? So when someone calls Fog Creek, and immediately gets through to a human, with no voice mail or phone menus, and that person turns out to be nice and friendly and actually solves their problem, they’re apt to think even more highly of us than someone who never had the opportunity to interact with us and just assumes that we’re average.