Oil Changes, Hand Shakes & Apple Pie

I don’t know if it’s the difficulties related to the economy or a shift in how organizations are approaching business, but it seems companies are rediscovering the importance of hospitality. 

A few weeks ago, I took my car to have the oil changed and was pleasantly surprised when the technician greeted me with a handshake, asked a few questions about my car, took my keys, and invited me to relax in the waiting area. The waiting room was comfortable, had a wide assortment of complimentary soft drinks, flavored coffees, and tea. 

As I thumbed through the latest Road & Track, I listened to the owner conversing with a customer. I was impressed with his concern for the customer and the health of her aged mother. I realized that the hospitality I experienced was a cultural norm. 

I got my oil changed at this store because of price and convenience, but I’ll likely go back because of the character of the folks who work there. 

Being hospitable is a key building block in our desire to build strong networks and communities. Even in the fast-paced information age, we still appreciate welcoming a new neighbor with a homemade pie or loaf of bread. In organizations the need for hospitality is often viewed as a luxury. If you desire to keep customers or employees, however, it is vital that they feel welcomed and “at home” where they shop and work. Though the bottom-line should not necessarily be the prime motivator for being hospitable, it is clearly an important factor in getting and keeping business.

Written by Nathan Mellor

This article originally published in Character First Magazine and is used with permission.

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