We have two carwashes in Auburn. Both provide the same services. Both are well-kept. Both are about the same distance from my house. I don’t give much thought when deciding between the two. I usually end up at the one closest to where I am running errands which happens to be the newer carwash.
But last Saturday I was running errands closer to the older carwash. After I sprayed off my car I pulled over near the vacuums to dry it.
That’s when an older man dressed in cowboy boots and a western hat approached me. I assumed he was going to ask if I was interested in buying a set of speakers. At a fantastically low price, of course!
But he wasn’t selling anything.
He introduced himself and asked if I had everything I needed to clean my car. I asked if he was the owner and he nodded. He told me he recently bought the carwash because he liked being around people. He recently retired and this would give him somewhere to spend his days.
He told me he appreciated my business. He asked if I had any suggestions on how he could improve the carwash. I told him everything was fine except the soap came out too thick on the brush. He said he’d take a look. Maybe it needed to be thinned out.
He listened more than he talked. He seemed genuinely interested in my feedback. He shook my hand and thanked me again.
In all the years I’ve washed my cars, I’ve never once been thanked for my patronage.
In an era where so much customer interaction is being outsourced to everything except a human being, it’s refreshing doing business with a person rather than a computer or machine.
But today this new owner won me over. When I have a choice, I’ll always go where I feel appreciated.
And I’ll tell my friends.