Thursday, May 16, 2013

Customer Service Lessons from a Taxi Driver

photo credit: moriza via photopin cc
I was content to enjoy my 15-minute taxi ride in silence but the driver had other ideas. He decided to make the trip to the airport more pleasant by engaging me in conversation. About his time in the Navy, his full time job in a chip manufacturing plant, then about how he came to live in upstate New York.

When I told him I was from the Chicago area, he talked about his brief stay in “Chi-town” and how much he loves the city.

We can learn so much about people when we slow down long enough to talk with them. We can also learn a lot about ourselves.

More than a Taxi Ride

Somewhere along the way I decided he deserved a larger than usual tip because he provided me with more than transportation. He gave me with an experience. This is something I talk about a lot because most people neglect it. Going the extra mile and providing a compelling experience does not require state of the art innovation or fancy marketing campaigns. All it takes is a little thought and care.

The World is Your Classroom

I relearned an important lesson that morning. Instead of just passing time and people by, stop to engage and learn from them. 

One can never tell how far a pleasant word or conversation will go or the impact it will have on its recipient. 

As the Prophet Muhammad famously said:
“Even a smile is charity…”

One thing is certain. A pleasing personality and the right attitude goes a lot further than a toxic, grumpy one.

Getting Outside of Yourself

Too many people are too caught up in their internal worlds to notice what’s going on around them. You see
it with the not so pleasant cashier at the checkout counter or the sales clerk who seems a little too busy to deal with you. It’s not you. Their focus is elsewhere as they perform daily, mundane tasks as if on autopilot.

However, the successful personality is the one who steps outside of him or herself and focuses on what is in front them – the customer, the child, the fellow club member, the spouse. 

I’m sure this taxi driver had more important things going on in his life than the guy in the back seat. But at that moment, the guy in the back seat is that mattered. 

For this reason, I decided the least I could do is give him a large tip and the most I could do is call the taxi company and let them know how much I appreciated the service. 

The next time you are in front of someone and pre-occupied with your own issues, remember to step outside of yourself and focus on the one who is right in front of you. In business, it could mean the difference between profit and loss. In your personal life, between years of bliss or a messy breakup.

Godspeed and I look forward to seeing you in The Players Lounge.

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