Thursday, February 05, 2009

Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar

No one can make you serve customers well. That's because great service is a choice. Harvey MacKay, tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.

He 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 me 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 aback, 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."

I 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 me another laminated card. "These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you'd like to listen to the radio."

And 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 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, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day. He had just written a book called 'You'll See It When You Believe It'. Dyer 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. "Dyer 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 that has paid off for you," Harvey said.

"It sure has," 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 cabstands 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.

I've probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn't do any of what I was suggesting.

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

How about us?

Smile, and the whole world smiles with you.....The ball is in our hands!

Galatians 6:7-10 ...God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up...let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.


Anna M Blanch said...

What a great story. I've known a few cabbies like that in my time and there's a reason why you keep going back. Words are powerful and choosing not to complain can change not only your days but can be an encouragement to those around you!

Jim Lange said...

Anna, thanks for checking in! You are absolutely right. Our attitudes can have a tremendous effect on those around us. We can never know the full impact of that as those around us may be changed and impact someone else who in turn can impact someone else... Like a pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples conitnue to go outward. Take care!

Religion Free Jesus said...

Jim: I can't thank you enough it has only been about a month 6 weeks at most since I've made the same kind of *genuine* commitment regarding my job. Boy has it made a difference. I have always wanted platform to speak life into my coworkers and customers lives, now I've got it after 15 years of constant whining, complaining, and victim thinking regarding my employer.

Now my supervisor and manager depend on me and have been rewarding me in the ways they can. Actually its resulted in more work, but things I enjoy so it doesn't feel much like work any more and the hours fly by. Blessings on you for sharing this it has really encouraged me.

Jim Lange said...

You hit the nail on the head. When we get this in our heads and in our hearts, work does not feel like work anymore. We actually begin to LIKE our work. What a concept! Thanks for checking in sharing a little about your journey! And than you for the encouragement!

Anonymous said...

What a great example of servant leadership. Thank you!

Jim Lange said...

Thanks for checking in Faith & Work! I really liked this example as well. Not only does doing things like this provide an opportunity to share Christ with others, it helps your business!

New In Wonderland said...

About 25 years ago, I had a job in which I traveled a lot. I often took very early flights, and took a cab to the airport. One morning a cabbie like this picked me up. He told me that he put service first, and trusted that the money would come. He drove me to the airport often over a period of a couple of years, until I left that job.

His cheerful message of service send me off on business trips with a smile. It also changed forever the way I view work ... and service.

Jim Lange said...

New In Wonderland...thanks for checking in. It is amazing how people like this can have such an incredible impact on us. Probably because they are so few and far between. Encounters like this should change the way we serve because they hopefully will awaken us to the impact we can have on others when we do the same thing!