In August of 2018, I attended a grand opening of a car wash in North Georgia. What follows are my thoughts on one experience from that event. I will forever remember, Cathy with a ‘C’.
There are many reasons I am lucky to do what I do for a living. Without giving it away, I help train people with personal growth and development and a lot of other things.
Also, I have the opportunity to meet several people in the course of any given day. At grand opening events. like the one I attended last week, I might learn (and hopefully retain) the names of over five hundred people.
As you might imagine, some are more memorable than others.
My method is simple.
Greet people with a smile. Take as much interest in them and their story, as I hope they have in mine, and ask their name before introducing myself.
Volumes of books and seminars have been written, and given, on effective sales and customer service. My hope is that this short summary of “method“, might save you some time and effort.
There is one thing I might add about this simple form of customer interaction. Do not fake it.
It would be better for you to be in an office doing paperwork, if your only interaction with a customer is fragmented or phony.
Cathy With a ‘C’
Last week, I bent over to speak to a customer in their car, and we spoke for a moment about a few things related to my offerings, and a few things related to this or that topic. After Brenda shared her name, I bent lower as to see past her, and into the passenger seat of her vehicle.
There, I saw a woman around the age of thirty, who seemed a little annoyed with my banter. However, she seemed also a little happy when I asked her name.
She passenger responded with a firm, “I’m Cathy with a ‘C”.
Brenda looked at me and smiled a slow, thin smile, as if to convey that Cathy was somehow not like the rest of the customers I met that day. I had no inclination to know why.
I had no desire to know the back story of what some might call, her disability. Her history any more than I might be compelled to know the history of any of the five hundred smiles I saw that week.
What Cathy with a ‘C’ left me with changed my days since meeting her.
Cathy was eager for me to know her name. She was eager for me to know that it started with a “C”.
She told me with an urgency and a confidence that made me want to know more, though I did not have the chance.
What I do know, is that I have had the chance to meet millionaires, people with $2.56 to their name, and everyone in between. I have spoken with others about heavenly things and the basest aspects of human nature. I have heard quotes from religious leaders, dictators, revolutionaries, and children of all ages, but none said more to me about poise and confidence than Cathy.
And she did it with one sentence.
I am certain that Cathy needs help with some day to day tasks and I am certain that those charged with her care might get frustrated at times. What I heard that day was someone ready to let me know her name as if I should have known it already.
As if I might have been the one uninformed. Especially if I had not yet known that Cathy was spelled with a “C”.
And here I am on a Sunday morning, reminiscing about a chance encounter with a new friend, believing that she may know more than me about customer interaction.
It is easy for us to feel we are in positions high enough to pity others. It is easy for us to think we know who is disabled or who needs help.
To some extent, it might be a good quality for some to always fret over and be concerned for others, but to some extent, it is pretentious to determine who is less fortunate.
The blessings we receive are not dependent solely on our giving nor solely on another receiving. Blessings require both a giver to give, and a receiver to receive. In order for a blessing to be made manifest, both the giver and the receiver are required.
The Real Blessing
Cathy and I gave each other our names. Sometimes, that is all the blessing any of us need. At the very least, I think of Cathy with a “C”, and smile.
Would that not be the ultimate result of any interaction we were involved in? They say that when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Sometimes, all the teacher needs to speak is her name.
About the Author
Kevin Thompson has a degree in religious studies from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. After working for churches, corporations, and in the building materials and car wash industries, his thoughts and concerns turned toward helping people.
Upon reflection, he felt like nothing matters more than a good conversation with good friends. There are so many of those in his past and the future looks bright when he considers how many more there will be.
Mostly, Kevin would say that he is just a guy with two thumbs and a cell phone.
Download the free calendar here.
The best is yet to come.