What to do when faced with a difficult passenger
As with any industry, a large majority of taxi customers will be approachable, friendly and courteous. It’s extremely rare to come across a passenger who’s just plain rude and unpleasant, making it easier for you to be caught off-guard should a difficult passenger comes along.
Expecting the unexpected and always being prepared can greatly help you to prevent customer disputes, or to maintain that you stay control of a tricky situation. By following the advice below, those awkward fares can be dealt with fairly easily.
Whatever happens, you don’t want to lose your cool. Not only does a bad temper give off a bad impression, it can also affect your driving, ultimately putting you, your passengers and pedestrians at risk. Trying to keep a level head can be difficult depending on situations, but useful in cases where you’d have to deal with a difficult customer.
It’s always beneficial to establish a relationship with your customers as early as possible. Open with some friendly chit-chat about their day. By coming across in an approachable manner, you can generally defuse any potentially bad situations. However, if a customer doesn’t seem to be in the mood for a chat, try not to push them – they might just be having a bad day!
It can be a benefit to establish exactly where it is they want to go quite early on. If it’s going to be a long journey, agree on a fare beforehand as this can eliminate any awkward surprises when you reach their destination. One of the biggest points of argument taxi drivers can experience revolves around price, so being clear and concise on this matter as early as possible can reduce the chance of an escalating disagreement later on.
Know the Area
Relationships with other taxi drivers and local authorities can help you out in cases where a fare might pose as a risk to your safety. Don’t be afraid to call for backup from another driver or, if it comes to it, the local police. You shouldn’t have to handle extremely difficult situations all on your own, so knowing who’s available in the area not only provides assistance, it can also give you peace of mind.
All in all, your own safety is the most important thing. You shouldn’t have to face the ordeal of a difficult or aggressive passenger, but it’s best to be prepared for any instance, however rare.