What I learned from my Rental Car Bus Driver!

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With the work that I do, I travel around the country a great deal. I encounter many different businesses and employees in the hospitality realm – including Hotels, Rental Car Agencies, Airlines, Restaurants, etc. My work (and passion) is around helping Accountants improve and grow their practices. When I visit with CPA Firms, I ask them whether their clients are happy. Many of the Firms I meet with have the same answer – of course they are! We all believe that we deliver the best service possible and provide an edge over our competitors by the relationships we make with our clients.

So, how do we know this? Do we ask our clients if they are happy or do we just assume it? Would our clients sing our praises to their friends, family members and co-workers? Do they just come back because it is easier than finding another accountant – or do they think that you go above and beyond and would never even consider looking anywhere else?
That is what brings me to my Rental Car Bus Driver from my recent trip – he called himself “MC Smooth”…and was he ever!!! He had a voice of a local Blues/Jazz DJ - and…boy did he take advantage of his talent and the microphone on that bus! He had everyone looking at each other, exclaiming with their eyes – “what is he doing?” He announced that he is there for our listening enjoyment “ ….coming to you from the local station H-E-R-T-Z…” I ended up having him twice as my driver – on arrival and then again when I was returning to the airport after my trip. On the first ride – he sang a special request for the 10 year old little girl sitting behind him – his rendition of Wheels on the Bus…everyone was smiling. For my fellow business travelers out there - you know it takes a lot to make us smile – we are tired – we don’t feel like talking – we just want to get to our destination and regain our energy for the meetings we have ahead of us. No one looks at each other – no one wants to be bothered. But…he grew on you – you couldn’t help but like him!
On the way back to the rental car return center, forgetting about the ride there, I got on the bus to go back to the airport…and low and behold he was my driver again. I actually noticed that I was happy/relieved when I saw him – something about what he did made the whole thing less stressful – and fun! This time he didn’t have a child to cater too – but he literally DJ’d the ride back – playing his favorite jazz songs with his intermittent comments and smooth jazz talk. People were loving it – they were all looking at each other again and smiling. Making comments to their friends about how great he was. No one was upset he was talking – he didn’t overdo it – he did this just right – this time I was completely won over with what he was doing! He did so well…that I couldn’t even get my bag quickly when getting off the bus because there was such a mad rush to get to him and give him a TIP!!! A rental car bus driver – in a 5 minute ride – made such an impact on these people – that there was a line to give him money! 
So, back to us accountants – what is you “MC Smooth” moment or extra value that you add to your client engagements? What do you offer to your clients that they don’t mind paying you for? They may even line up to pay you extra hours/time because of the kind of value you bring to them that they may perceive no one else can. They don’t just come back to you out of habit – but because you provide such good service that they can’t imagine running their business without you a part of it? What sets you a part? What kind of value-add could you start adding to every engagement you have? Have you asked them what this may be? It could be something really simple…but if you never ask – you are never going to know what they are thinking. What would make otherwise neutral clients – turn to their friends, co-workers and family members and smile and say...”I would never go to anyone else but my Accountant and you should try them to!”

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