Happy driver from a car request service driving a woman and smiling - transportation concepts

Providing a great customer experience is a competitive differentiator

Article published by the Philadelphia Business Journal on June 19, 2022.

You can create competitive advantage by providing a great customer experience regardless of the business you’re in. I read the following story on social media which demonstrates this principle. The story was shared by Marsha Sprouse and has been posted many times by others. I don’t know the story’s origin, whether it’s true or if it was written by the author to demonstrate the power of providing a great customer experience. 

Happy driver from a car request service driving a woman and smiling - transportation concepts
iStock photo ID:1217653269: Andresr.

“I was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing I noticed was the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, tie, and freshly pressed slacks, the driver jumped out and opened the door for me.

Handing me a laminated card, he said, ‘I’m Wasu, your driver. While I’m loading your bags, I’d like you to read my mission statement.’

Taken aback, I read the card. ‘Wasu’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 the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wasu 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.’

Wasu smiled and said, ‘No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, lassi, water, and orange juice.’

Almost stuttering, I said, ‘I’ll take a lassi since I’ve never had one before.’

Handing me my drink, Wasu said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have Good Housekeeping magazine, Reader’s Digest, The Bible, and a Travel + Leisure magazine.’

As we were pulling away, Wasu 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, Wasu told me he had the heater on and asked if the temperature was comfortable.

Then he advised me of the best route to my destination for that time of day. He also let me know he’d be happy to chat and tell me about some of the sights or, if I preferred, to leave me with my own thoughts.

‘Tell me, Wasu, have you always served customers like this?’

Wasu smiled into the rear view mirror. ‘No, not always. 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 about power of choice.’

‘Power of choice is that you can be a duck or an eagle. If you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. Stop complaining! Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’

‘That hit me right,’ said Wasu. ‘It’s about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around. The other 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,’ I said.

‘It sure has,’ Wasu replied. ‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income. This year, I’ll probably quadruple it. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message.’

Wasu made a different choice. I hope we all decide to soar like an eagle and not quack like a duck.”

You can create competitive advantage by differentiating yourself and your business to become the preferred provider to your market. It takes the right attitude and the ability to put yourself in the place of your customers and ask, “What would wow me about dealing with this individual or company?” Many of your competitors will not think in these terms. 

There are those who see only scarcity and limitations. There are others like Wasu who soar like eagles and see possibilities and abundance. The choice is yours.

Stan Silverman is founder and CEO of Silverman Leadership and author of “Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success.” He is also a speaker, advisor and widely read nationally syndicated columnist on leadership, entrepreneurship and corporate governance. He can be reached at Stan@SilvermanLeadership.com.

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