Customer Service Lessons from a Jacksonville Taxi Driver

taxi terry

Providing great customer service is vital whether your business is a world-class resort or a small corner store.

When you see a business create a superior customer experience, there likely are lessons that you can take away regardless of whether or not that business is in your industry.

Such is the case with Taxi Terry, a cab driver in Jacksonville, Florida. Taxi Terry is well-known in the area for providing great customer service. And now, he’s gaining notoriety even outside the Jacksonville area thanks to a book written by Scott McKain, 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry.

In the book, McKain writes about his own experience riding in Terry’s cab, along with some lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from him.

And while the chances of you providing the same type of transportation service as Terry are pretty slim, the lessons are applicable across most other industries as well.

One of the top lessons that McKain drew from his chance encounter with Taxi Terry was how he laid the groundwork for a great customer experience right away. He set high expectations for the customer, but then was able to meet and even exceed those expectations.

John Bowen wrote about the experience in the HuffPost Business Blog:

“When Terry pulled up to the taxi stand, he jumped out of his cab and shouted to the waiting McKain, “I’m Taxi Terri — are you ready for the best cab ride of your life?” Silly, sure. But by proactively setting expectations for a great ride, he set the bar for himself and for his passenger. When we set expectations, we create a picture in the customer’s mind of what will happen and we create a benchmark for our own performance. As a result, McKain looked forward to a uniquely great experience from a service that is almost universally viewed as a commodity — and Terry was primed to deliver on his promise.”

While you might not want to stand outside of your store or restaurant shouting about how your products or services are the best in the world, the general concept does make a lot of sense. If you don’t tell your customers how great you are in some way, however subtle or forthright, then you leave them to come to those conclusions on their own.

Sure, if your products or services really are that great, they very well might reach that conclusion. But setting those expectations early makes it far more likely that the experience will stand out in their minds.

Of course, when making a statement like this about your service, you need to be able to actually deliver. You don’t want to create disappointed customers just because you raised their expectations unnecessarily. But if you’re really confident about your service or offering, make sure your customers know that right off the bat. You could create a huge base of happy customers and brand ambassadors, just like Taxi Terry.

Taxi Photo via Shutterstock


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions
  1. I think customer service is more than just extending services to your customer in hopes of a longterm relationship. It is also about treating a person right just for the sake of it. I know it may sound cheesy but really, doing your work with love is the only way to get lasting benefits.

  2. I think that customer service is crucial in any business, but especially, in driving services. I like how Terry shared his experience with the taxi driver. It shows that there are people who really do care in the world.