Thursday, March 4, 2010

Customer Service And A Cartoon Dog

This coming Sunday is the Oscars, which depending on your taste is either must-see TV or everything that's wrong with modern entertainment. Setting that argument aside, one of the movies up for a few awards warrants mention here for reasons entirely separate from artistic and/or entertainment value. Namely, the Pixar film Up.

In June of last year, the movie was in theaters only. A ten year old girl in southern California had seen the ads and wanted to see the movie. Nothing unusual there.

There was a twist, though.

A most tragic twist.

The young girl was dying of cancer. In all likelihood she wouldn't live long enough to see the movie. Even if she did, she was in no condition to go to the theater.

A family friend tried a desperation maneuver. She started calling Pixar. Nothing but automated phone systems. Despite this, she somehow got through to a person and explained the young girl's plight.

The next day, a Pixar employee who refuses to be identified came to the girl's house. He brought stuffed toys from the movie, plus a poster.

And a DVD of the movie.

The young girl was by this time too sick to open her eyes. So she listened to the movie while her mother described the action, telling her about the adventures of Carl Fredricksen, Russell and Dug.

Seven hours after the movie ended, the young girl died, her final wish fulfilled.

Customer service is seldom so dramatic or heartrending. However, it is a vital lesson for all of us in a service industry such as insurance to remember. There are people at the other end of that claim or contract. People entrusting us with their business. People counting on us to fulfill our end of the agreement.

Far, far more often that that's what we do.

P.S. Ending this on a bright note, for those of you who haven't seen the movie, meet Dug:

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