On Seeing and Being Seen

I wonder if good customer service is just a matter of making someone feel seen.

If our dog is with us in the car when we fill up, our favorite gas station gives us a biscuit along with our receipt. It’s a simple gesture that probably costs them mere pennies, but it’s just enough to make us feel special, to feel noticed, to feel like the attendants saw us, the people inside the vehicle, instead of just a car with an empty gas tank. And so we go back, time and again.

And at the opposite end of the customer service spectrum:

I have been disputing a cell phone bill since March of last year. Needless to say, I am a frustrated customer. But yesterday, my tenacious correspondence having finally reached the right person, all was resolved to my satisfaction – including a refund that I wanted but did not expect. The obvious accounting error was finally seen for what it was – an error – and corrected appropriately. I felt seen by a real person – someone who has a name (Debbie), a direct phone number, the authority to act, and is intelligent as well as very pleasant (I hope she earns what she is worth). And employing such a person allowed me to “see” the company as something other than a deaf corporate behemoth. I was truly irked, but with one phone call I am happy again and they have kept me as a customer.

My point is this: it doesn’t take much to make someone feel seen, to make a connection. So, what and where are the dog biscuits in your business? Who are the Debbie’s?

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