Tips for tips – tactics to give your service a boost
It’s not uncommon to receive a little bit extra at the end of a journey. Whether it’s a generous fiver added on or a simple “keep the change” to save you breaking a banknote, tipping has become fairly standard in the industry, with many drivers often relying on tips to give their regular earnings a boost.
There’s no sure-fire way to be certain that any customer will leave a nice tip (or whether they’ll even tip you at all). However, like in many other service industries, customers who feel valued will be more likely to show their gratitude. By providing a service that’s all about them, you could stand a better chance of tipping the scale in your favour.
Here are a few things that you can do to give your passengers a sense of comfort and special treatment, which could ultimately pay off when you come to settle the fare.
Put customer needs first
Taking passengers from A to B isn’t the extent of your whole service. From the moment you arrive at the pickup, your customer may ask you to wait a little longer for other passengers, or for help with their bags or any special requirements they may have. By kindly complying with their requests, you can come across as approachable and favourable.
You can also make their experience a little easier by being pro-active and using your own initiative. Don’t wait for customers to ask for help; if you see a lot of shopping bags or heavy luggage, offer your assistance – even if that only amounts to opening the boot. If a passenger is disabled or appears to be having trouble getting in or out, simply lending a hand goes a long way.
While on the road, your customer may ask you to stop off along the way – usually this will either be to pick up additional passengers or to get money from a cashpoint. They may also ask for your knowledge on faster routes or even points of interest if your passengers are tourists.
Make small conversation
Once inside your cab, it’s useful to try engaging your passengers in conversation. After all, they’re only human! However, don’t be offended if they don’t want to talk back. For every chatterbox you come across, there’ll be somebody who perhaps may feel awkward around somebody unfamiliar. Don’t try to force a conversation, but demonstrating that you’re open to a bit of chat helps you to come across well.
Start off with a general greeting, ask if they’ve had a good day/night, and perhaps moan about the weather if it’s been particularly rubbish. Above all, try to keep things fairly light and friendly, staying away from heavy topics of discussion.
The last thing you (or your passengers) want is to get dragged into an unpleasant argument over politics or sporting rivalries. Not only could things turn heated between you, but this could also leave your customer with a sour impression of you after a potentially uncomfortable journey.
Ensure a comfortable ride
A comfortable journey overall is key to customer satisfaction, including how happy they feel with your driving style. Giving your passengers a bumpy ride or racing around corners is sure to make them feel uneasy and possibly leave a negative impression.
Sometimes, taxi drivers can have a reputation among customers as being a bit brash, or even somewhat inconsiderate on the roads. Just because you may have extensive knowledge of the roads, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to show it off. Demonstrating that you’re a competent and considerate driver would surely go down better and may result in a greater gratitude of service.
Driving aside, it’s also important to keep the interior of your cab clean and comfy. A quick clean up at the end of a shift and keeping an eye on the upholstery should make sure your cab is always presentable for paying customers.
Like we said, there’s no absolute way to be certain that passengers will leave a tip, although it’s generally customary that most would. Hopefully, by using the advice above, your customer-focussed service might well see a boost in gratuity to go alongside your regular earnings.