Online customer reviews are here to stay, and they can make a huge difference to the success of your taxi or minibus business. What can you do to make sure your reviews are as good as they can possibly be?

 

Why reviews matter

The likes of Uber and Lyft have a huge presence on the internet, helping to lure passengers away from taxi companies with more traditional business models. How can a company without that kind of technology compete?

Good online reviews can play a huge role in boosting your business online.

It can be hard for customers to know which company listed on the internet is trustworthy, but reviews from other customers give a sense of security about which firms to use, and which ones to avoid.

It’s also the case that good online reviews boost your Google ranking (organic visibility). This means the better your online reviews, the easier it can be for your customers to find you, who in turn leave positive reviews…

 A person looking at their mobile phone while using their laptop

Get the basics right

The most important thing you can do driving a minibus is making sure passengers feel safe and well cared for.

This means that you keep your speed down, do not take risks on the road or run red lights, steer carefully and generally show respect for other road users.

Don’t forget to make sure your minibus insurance also provides protection for you and your passengers.

Of course, there can be conflict between this and time pressure from passengers who need to be somewhere on time – catching a train or a plane, for example.

In these situations you should do your best to minimise time wasting, but remember that a collision will cause much more delay – and could threaten your licence and ability to earn a living, not to mention driving up the cost of your minibus insurance.

Being reliable is also essential. Never be late for an appointment with a customer – allow a little extra time for delays and unexpected incidents.

It is better to waste these small chunks of time than to upset customers and risk negative reviews. If you are running late, be sure to let the customer know and offer an apology.

 

Local knowledge

Taxi passengers have a reasonable expectation that you know the local area, especially if they are visiting from another country or city.

Getting lost or taking a meandering route can rapidly lead to passengers losing faith in you and writing up a bad review.

You should know the fastest way to get from A to B, factoring in things like traffic flows, events that might cause congestion, and roadworks.

Expecting the customer to know how to reach their destination is not going to impress them.

 An old map showing London at its centre

To chat, or not to chat?

We all know about the stereotypical cabbie who doesn’t stop yapping throughout a journey.

For some passengers, a bit of banter with the driver may be part of the fun of using a taxi service – for others it will be an annoyance. How can you tell who wants to chat?

The first thing is that you should only chat when it is safe to do so. If driving conditions are tough and require your full concentration, or if talking is likely to be a distraction from the road, it’s better to keep quiet.

Talking to customers works best when it helps give them a better overall experience, for example by telling them about the local area, or what they might like to see on their trip.

If a customer’s body language or responses to your chat indicate they would prefer some peace, then be sure to respect that.

 

Consider your image

You might keep your minibus clean and fresh, but have you thought about your own image, and your brand? If your company logo looks outdated, it might be time for a refresh.

A logo that stands out on an internet search could give you a competitive edge.

Equally, for better or worse, the way you look will impact customers’ impression of your company.

You don’t have to be a model, but being clean and well-presented will go a long way towards boosting those reviews.

Take care of your hygiene, keep an eye on your grooming and try to look friendly and welcoming.

 A man smiling as he drives his black cab through London

Ask for reviews

It’s a good idea to get in touch with customers after you have provided the minibus taxi service, asking for a quick bit of feedback and inviting them to post a review of your company online.

Even if they decide not to review you, customers are usually pleased that you care about their experience and you will be more likely to be remembered for the next time.

A simple email or text asking for a review can boost the volume of ratings your company has online – the more positive ratings, the more reassured potential customers will be.

 

Improving your service

What’s the best way of handling neutral or negative online reviews? This can be tricky.

At the end of the day, you do your best at your job and it can cause hurt feelings and anger if a customer then criticises you for all the world to see.

Especially if the customer hadn’t taken the time to mention their concerns to you at the time.

There will always be some unreasonable customers who want the moon on a stick and will blame you for a city being busy at rush hour, or the countryside smelling of animals.

On the other hand, it’s worth taking the time to consider whether the customer has a point, and if there is a way you can improve your service in future.

If you decide to respond to a negative review, always be courteous, professional and honest – even if the customer is being rude or unreasonable.

Answer promptly if you are going to do so, own up to shortcomings and apologise where necessary, and never resort to personal attacks on the customer, as tempting as that may be!

Do you need minibus insurance you can rely on? Get a quote from Taxi Insurer today.

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