Late on Saturday night after a hectic day in Manhattan, I hailed a cab on fifth to take me to the airport. The first thing I noticed was how clean it was – I had never seen a cab so clean.
The driver was also dressed immaculately and was very calm. I thought to myself, “Is this real?”
Lou the driver explained that he had been driving a cab in New York City since 1969. He considers himself an ambassador and his cab an embassy. I wanted to ask if he offered asylum as well. It was as if we were driving around the city in an oasis of serenity.
As a little boy growing up outside Guayaquil, Ecuador, he had dreamed of a job and a city where he could meet many people around the world.
He achieved his dream and has shared advice on how he aims to be the best in his job every day through the brand experience he creates:
Create the experience from the beginning. From your first interaction with a brand you should feel – and notice – the difference that sets it apart from other similar brands. Of the 13,600 licensed cabs in New York, Lou is able to set himself apart from the start.
Engage with your customers. At this point in his career, Lou is a great psychologist and knows how to subtly get his customer’s attention. And he starts with the customer’s favorite topic: themself. He is not overbearing in his approach.
Be a great conversationalist. He is also a great conversationalist and a master storyteller. He provided me with many life lessons on my way to the airport. He also had me in tears laughing after I learned he was married to his fifth wife (he highly recommends marrying several times and advises to always have a bag packed in case they ask you to leave).
Listen carefully. Lou’s best tip was to remember that your mind and your words are connected – use them well and remember to actually listen to your customer. Find out what makes them tick, what their needs are from their perspective, not your brand’s perspective.
Lou has a manuscript about his life sitting in the passenger seat of his cab. I urged him to get it published. Hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to meet Lou on your next trip to NYC. And if not, his book will be a riveting read.