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“Let’s Talk Business” with Richard Coles

August 31, 2017 Headline News, Training No Comments Email Email

Here is a Customer Service story about “Martin the Taxi Driver.” Read how he anticipates the customer needs and what gives them satisfaction, sometimes at little cost. Great customer service is about looking after the minute details well. Martin does that. Enjoy the read!Great Service is a Choice

No one can make you serve customers well. That’s because great service is a choice. I was waiting in line for a ride at Singapore airport. When a taxi pulled up, the first thing I noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the taxi driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back-passenger door for me. He handed me a laminated card and said:

“I’m Martin, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk, I’d like you to read my mission statement.”

Taken back, I read the card. It said:

Martin’s Mission Statement:

“To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest, and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment”

This blew me away. Especially when I noticed that the inside of the taxi matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Martin 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.”

Martin smiled and said, “No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.”

Almost stuttering, I said, “I’ll take an orange juice”

Handing me the drink, Martin said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Straits Times, Business Week, and Sports Illustrated”. “Martin, I’ll take the Straits Times”.

As we were pulling away, Martin 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.”

As if that weren’t enough, Martin told me that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for me! Then he advised me of the best route to the Grand Singapore Hotel for that time of the day. He also let me know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights, or, if I preferred, to leave me with my own thoughts.

“Tell me, Martin,” I asked the driver, “have you always served customers like this?”

Martin 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 dreadful 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 Martin. “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 taxis and their drivers. The taxis 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,” I said.

“It sure has,” Martin 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 taxi 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.”

Martin was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Taxi. Martin the Taxi Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop “quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.” How about you?

Great Service is a Choice you make (or don’t)

(Differentiate yourself from your competition.)

Richard Coles, Owner of Coles International Training & Consulting researches, develops and delivers real world learning and organizational solutions to clients’ needs and problems around the world. One area of specialization is Customer Service and leadership initiatives. Richard was in the airline business for over 30 years in prominent roles and worked for the best, KLM, Qantas and Emirates, so understands the travel industry well. To discuss your training needs, challenges, goals and strategy, visit and email Richard on:

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