What You Can Learn from an Uber Driver

I arrived into Denver at 7:30am and headed straight to meet with my client. I was feeling awfully tired as I had been up since 4:00am and the night before my daughter was up all night; two nights with very little sleep. The Uber ride to the office was nothing to write home about but it did get me to where I needed to go. I arrived at the office and was greeted by big smiles and hugs which instantly lifted my (tired) spirits! The strategy meeting was fantastic and the team cocktail afterward was fun! I got into a Lyft this time to go to my hotel and again, the experience average at best.

I checked in, had to moved rooms, and finally at around 7:00pm went to dinner. By this time, I was practically falling asleep at the restaurant table. The servers seemed to be annoyed with each question I asked and there was a lack of friendly and attentive hospitality. After a bowl of soup and a beet salad I went to bed.

My alarm went off at 6:00am. My flight home (from this quick trip to Denver) was at 8:30am. My expectation of my Uber driver; not very high (as all the previous drivers helped set a low expectation).

I was greeted by my Uber driver right on time. He got out of the car and checked if I was me by saying “good morning Katie” (not the regular cold call of my name ‘Katie’?). I confirmed it was indeed me who ordered the Uber and he helped me put my luggage in the trunk. I got in the car which was very clean and smelled great which showed he truly cared about the environment he presented his customers. Before he left the hotel he asked if I was ok or if I needed anything I responded “Thank you, I am ok” and off we went.

We drove for a few minutes and stopped at a stop light. When we stopped, he turned around with a smile and said “this is your treat!” and handed me a pack of gum. Then he continued to say “keep it with you, use it when you need it”. His smile was so big a welcoming; his words sincere and genuine. At that moment, I was more than satisfied with this Uber experience.

But wait! It gets better!

As we continued on our route to the airport my daughter called to say good morning. He graciously turned the music down and when I hung up he asked “how many kids do you have?”

I responded “three” and with a smile I could not see but I could hear he said “I will give you a treat for each of your kids!”

We continued to talk and I found out he has twins that were born on August 4 who were 13 years old (my twins are born on August 2!). He talked about his family with joy and told me how his daughter is the boss of his three boys.

When we arrived at the airport he turned around and handed me four different treats (one for my husband as well) from his treat bag that sat on this front seat and said “you don’t want them wondering where their surprise is!”

He got out of the car and wished me safe travels as he handed me my luggage.

As soon as I got to the airport I pulled out my laptop and started typing; this story was worth sharing.

Let’s wrap up this awesome experience with a few learnings for you! My Uber driver flawlessly executed a ’five-star’ experience by:

  1. Providing a genuine and personalized greeting: “Good morning Katie!”
  2. Anticipated my needs when my daughter called by turning down the music
  3. Connected with me by asking questions and engaging in genuine conversation
  4. Delivering a +1 when he surprised and delighted me not once, but twice!
  5. And finally, he never stopped smiling. This was the icing on the cake; I felt welcomed and important

In my experience, organizations can overthink what makes a ‘five-star’ customer experience a reality. The truth is this; providing a ‘five-star’ experience is about being a nice person. When you’re genuinely gracious, thoughtful and caring the experience happens naturally!

My Uber driver earned his ‘five-stars’ today!

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