He Stopped Quacking!
*An Excerpt from **The Simple Truths of Service**
by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz*
Great Service is a Choice
No one can make you serve customers well. That’s because great service is a
choice. Years ago, my friend, Harvey Mackay, told me 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 my
friend 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.”
My friend 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 my friend 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,” my amazed friend asked the driver, “have you always served
customers like this?”
Wally smiled into the rearview 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 this 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 you?
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