“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go. Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” I always loved the opening theme song of the TV sitcom Cheers by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo. The essence of the song calls to us. Don’t we all want to be welcomed and recognized?
Several years ago, the owner of a popular restaurant entered the banquet room and “glad handed” several of the guests. It was a wedding rehearsal dinner. He looked over at my table and beamed and said, “Pastor, it’s always nice to see you. Are you marrying the happy couple?” I smiled and said, “Joe, how are you doing? No, I’m the brother of the bride tomorrow.” He came over and shook my hand and then continued on with some jokes and wished everyone well. It was a nice gesture.
The only thing wrong with the scenario is the fact that I am not a pastor. Joe knows my face, but probably couldn’t come up with my name from even a short list. He just knows he knows me. That’s fine. He recognizes someone from the community and makes them welcome. That’s important. The guests glowed and felt a little more important, the host recognized one of the wedding party and went out of his way to wish the guests a good time . . . and they all did. I doubt anyone cared that he called me “Pastor.” Some of the guests may have even assumed that I was a pastor in my spare time, and I bet that most people didn’t even hear what he called me. The name didn’t matter.
Don’t we all feel special when we are recognized? This is really important in business. If you are being recognized because you are a client, it makes you feel valued and you want to return. Some businesses use shopping carts on their website, and that’s how orders are placed and money is exchanged. It takes the personality out of doing business, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for recognition nor the ability to do something about it. Even with shopping carts, purchasers leave their names, email addresses, company name, and location. This gives us the opportunity to still make connections AND make the customer feel recognized and appreciated.
If you have the chance look at your online transactions, you can respond with a thank you note AND a comment. I have responded to people merely because I’ve always wanted to visit a certain location. Or maybe the local university is a possible opponent of one of my favorite schools from the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes a curt reply is the only result of an email from me, but other times I get information about a vacation spot, or a weather report, or even better I receive questions about my hometown, comments about a product I have supplied, or questions about another possible purchase from my company. Ah, communication and recognition . . . wrapped up in feeling special . . . just as if I really knew their name . . . and if more online transactions come in, maybe I will know the name tomorrow. But for now . . . let us pray.