Word of mouth plays a very important role when it comes to the perception of your taxi service in your area. Research shows that for every person willing to talk about something positive, there are three people willing to talk about negative stuff.
Here's an story from my personal experience: I went to a computer store several days ago. An employee approached me and asked me if I needed any help. I asked for a special kind of blank DVD disk with a certain coating on the surface. The store rep immediately said: "Oh, you've got a Gateway computer [he could tell because only Gateways use DVDs with this special kind of coating]. You know, Gateways really suck. And, their tech support, if you call them, is even worse than Dell's!!!"
If you start paying attention to what people like to talk about, you'll notice lots of negative word of mouth marketing. People love talking about what's wrong.
That is not something you want happening to your taxi company. Therefore, when somebody misses their train because your driver was late, have your driver them to the next train station, even if the one they were going to was five bucks to go to and the next one is twenty bucks. Pay the driver from your own pocket and get over it. I strongly believe that every dispatcher should have some "credit," There should be a list of situations when dispatchers are authorized to give rides "on the house." When they use this credit, they should be informing you about what happened, why it happened and how they used the money.
Drivers should never be making settlements with customers them-selves, unless it is something you've specifically covered in the driver's manual.
Why shouldn't they be making settlements themselves? Two reasons: first of all, drivers should always be informing the dispatchers what is going on and what they're doing and second, when a passenger has to talk to somebody on the phone, it cools the angry passenger off. It significantly reduces the risk of verbal abuse and physical violence.
Usually when drivers give angry customers the phone and say: "Hey, talk to my dispatcher" customers realize that yelling and screaming at the person driving the car won't help, because it's the person on the phone who is the boss.
Both dispatchers and drivers should never argue with angry customers. Arguing with angry customers is like throwing wood in the fire. It only makes them angrier. There are two things drivers and dispatchers should be doing. First, they can try to find out what the customer wants and settle down the situation. Second, if the customer is angry and yelling, the dispatcher should not say anything. He or she should listen to what the customer has to say and only then get to resolving the matter.
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