Taxi Cab Change Lessons: Your Customer Experience Is Showing


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Below is my latest post as part of a series where I divulge the change lessons I’ve experienced in the back seat of a taxicab through my travels as a consultant.

I was leaving Chicago, about to fly to Philadelphia on United Airlines. As I was nearing the airport in the back of a cab, I was bemoaning (more to myself than anyone) my lack of “status” on United. This means I was heading for a middle seat in the back of the plane. I wouldn’t get to pass through the TSA precheck line. And I have rarely experienced an on-time departure from United. I was anticipating a slow start and late night – all bad things for a frequent flier. Needless to say I was feeling very sorry for myself and not positively anticipating the next few hours and my pending flying experience.

The cab driver, hearing my lament, said, “I used to hate to pick up people from Terminal One.”

Why, I asked?

“United. The most unhappy, upset, people that get in my cab are usually just coming off a United flight.”

That piqued my interest. Really, I asked. It’s that noticeable?

“Oh, yes,” said the cab driver. “I hear complaints about the others too, but not like United.”

Then the cab driver said, “You want to hear a really funny thing?” Of course I said sure!

Turns out some months back the driver picked up a business man – suit, briefcase, roller bag at a downtown building. He was heading for Terminal One. The driver asked him if he was flying United. The guy answered yes and offered that he in fact worked for United. The driver said he described his job as being “in charge of customer service.” So the cab driver took that as an opening to share his observation of the unhappy people leaving Terminal One off of United flights. “I thought he might want to hear what I hear – his job and all. I was going to tell him they must be making some changes because it seems, lately to be a bit better.”

But Mr. United customer service definitely didn’t want to hear about it. “He muttered something and then suggested that I keep my opinions to myself. How can you be in charge of customer service and not want to hear what people say about your company? Funny, eh?”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Linda Ireland
Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner of Aveus LLC, a global strategy and operational change firm that helps leaders find money in the business performance chain while improving customer experiences. As author of Domino: How to Use Customer Experience to Tip Everything in Your Business toward Better Financial Performance, Linda built on work done at Aveus and aims to deliver real-life, actionable, how-to help for leaders of any organization.


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