No one can make you serve customers well. That’s because great service is a choice. Have you taken a taxi ride recently? Well, I was told a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point. A man called Harvey was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey. He handed Harvey a laminated card and said:
“I’m Wally, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk, I’d like you to read my mission statement.”
Taken back, Harvey read the card. It said:
Wally’s Mission Statement:
“To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest, and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment”
This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!
As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, “Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.”
Harvey said jokingly, “No, I’d prefer a soft drink.”
Wally smiled and said, “No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.”
Almost stuttering, Harvey said, “I’ll take a Diet Coke”
Handing him his drink, Wally said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.”
As they were pulling away, Wally handed Harvey another laminated card. “These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.”
As if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of the day. He also let him know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights, or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.
“Tell me, Wally,” Harvey asked the driver, “have you always served customers like this?”
Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. “No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, on the radio one day. He said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, ‘Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’
“That hit me right between the eyes,” said Wally. “He was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.”
“I take it this has paid off for you,” Harvey said.
“It sure had,” Wally replied. “My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don’t sit at cab stands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can’t pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.”
Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab. Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles. How about you?
Excerpt from: The Simple Truths of Service,
4 thoughts on “Great Service is a Choice”
We can all learn from Wally’s example. There’s an “Eagle” inside everyone of us.
Go YAG! Let’s soar!
I imagine if another cab driver heard the story and found that Wally had success he would probably duplicate it for the same result. What is cool about Wally is that he tried something that was new and brave without knowing if it would work, I think some of the best ideas out there come from someone being brave and trying something new. I notice Casper from the Chevy store and the way he puts himself out there on Facebook, I think he is a pioneer in our group. It makes you wonder who the next one will be to step out of their comfort zone to blaze new trails.
I’ve read that inspirational story before. What a great reminder of how going the extra mile can provide our customers with superior customer service and turn them into fiercely loyal followers of YAG.
EXCELLANT. I HAVE BELIEVED IN THIS THEORY EVER SINCE I BEGAN IN THE WORK FIELD. I ONCE HAD A OLD GENTLMENT COME INTO THE CASINO THAT I WORKED AT IN NEVADA. NO ONE WANTED TO WASTE THEIR TIME ON HIM HE WAS NOT VERY WELL DRESSED AND LOOKED VERY DEPRESSED AS IF MAYBE HE WAS A VAGRANT OFF THE STREET. WELL IT DID NOT MATTER TO ME SO I WAITED ON THIS MAN. HE ONLY ORDED A CUP OF COFFEE AND OUR BREAKFAST SPECIAL. HE DID NOT EVEN HAVE ME REFILL HIS COFFEE. BEFORE I KNEW IT HE HAD ATE AND VANISHED. WELL I WENT TO CLEAN THE COUNTER WHERE HE HAD SAT AND LIFTED UP THE PLATE AND TO MY SURPRISE THERE WAS A HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL!!!!! WELL THINKING HE MUST HAVE CONFUSED IT FOR A DOLLAR BILL I WENT TO SEE IF I COULD FIND HIM.. .NO LUCK. SO I HELD ON TO THAT MONEY THINKING HE WOULD REALIZE WHAT HE HAD DONE AND COME BACK. BY THE END OF MY SHIFT KNOW SIGN OF THIS GENTLEMAN SO I SPOKE WITH MY MANAGER TO SEE WHAT I SHOULD DO. WHEN I EXPLAINED TO THEM WHAT HAD TAKEN PLACE I WAS INFORMED THAT IT WAS NO MISTAKE….THIS MAN HAD WALKED IN AND PLAYED THREE QUARTERS AND HIT THE JACKPOT…..WINNING 5,000 DOLLARS. LUCKY FOR ME THAT I DO NOT JUDGE ANY CUSTOMER BY THE WAY THEY LOOK….WHAT THEY DRIVE OR WHAT ETHINIC THEY ARE….AND IT DOES PAY OFF TO TREAT EVERYONE EQUALLY AND TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY. NOT ALWAYS IN THIS WAY BUT IT DOES “ALWAYS” PAY OFF IN THE END.