What we can learn from Seneca about proactive customer service?

Seneca statue

Sometimes, just after I have published a blog post, I wonder about the impact my writing has on the people that read it.

Then, from time to time, I receive feedback on something that I have written, where I learn more from the feedback than I did from the thinking about, or writing of, any piece that I have produced.

Such a situation happened the other day regarding a previous article posted here on Forbes: A Story About The Benefits Of Proactive Customer Service.

Here’s what happened.

A lady by the name of Karyn Anjali Glubis, who is Director of Corporate Solutions at Centurion, Inc., a customer service solution provider in Florida, sent me an email. First, she thanked me for the material that I write and then she pointed out that there were a couple of grammatical errors in the aforementioned post.

She was worried about how I would respond so she ended her email by saying:

“Awesome work and I hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way. I am just trying to help.”

I wrote back and thanked her for her email, saying that feedback is always helpful and, further, asked her if she would be kind enough to point out the errors she mentioned.

A few hours later, Karyn replied. Attached to her email was a document containing the article with all of the errors highlighted and  suggested changes alongside.


I have since gone back and amended the article. Thank you, Karyn.

That’s not where the story ends as she went on to share with me a quote from Seneca.

“He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Now, I know a little bit about Seneca and his work but did not know this quote. I am now a big fan of Karyn and Seneca as, I believe, this quote captures the whole philosophy of proactive customer service that I have written about before.

Further, I believe that Karyn’s actions typify this quote. In fact, they probably go further than that as I have no connection with Centurion, the company that she works for.

But, I would say that, if Centurion embodies the values and actions of Karyn then I, for one, will be keeping a close eye on their development and progress.

Finally, I’d like to say that I make no promises about my articles being grammatically perfect. But, I do try very hard. However, if you do spot an error then please feel free to email me.


This post was originally published on my Forbes column here.
Photo Credit: mmarftrejo via Compfight cc

10 comments On What we can learn from Seneca about proactive customer service?

  • Adrian,

    I believe Karyn is a raving fan. What raving fans do is provide feedback in hopes of improving the products that you offer, not to complain. Great lessons.

    Annette 🙂

  • Adrian, there is no need to point Karyn at my blog.

    I appreciate that feedback is a gift — but it is not Christmas


  • Hello Adrian,
    I get what you are getting at. It also strikes me that you are only exposing one aspect of the situation at hand. What do I mean?

    I can reach out and do something that occurs to me as being helpful to you. That does not mean that my helping shows up as helpful for you. For you, the helping can show up as ‘not helpful’: as meddling, as patronising ….

    Sometimes our helping is another way of putting ourselves in the limelight. And a means of exerting status: dominating the other, making ourselves feel special.

    For me ‘real helping’ shows up when it costs the other: the other loses face/status in helping me; the other gives up money in helping me; the other sacrifices an opportunity in helping me out….

    All the best

    • Thanks for that, Maz.

      That’s an interesting perspective and a valid one. Often, I like you I think, see people ‘helping’ as their motivation is to make themselves look good rather than focusing on the other person.

      I would much rather see people and firms ‘help’ in the way that you describe, with the others interests as the number one priority.


  • Although it may sound hard, you are actually quite lucky that Karyn stumbled by your blog. It is a learning experience for you as it is a great encounter with a reader. You can really learn more from real feedbacks.

  • Great Lesson! Thank you for sharing!
    We always appreciate this type of contribution.

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