The 4 A’s in action – Station Taxi’s, Sunderland
I thought I’d share this experience with you to demonstrate that even the smallest of businesses, with the most limited of products or services can deliver outstanding customer service. Recently my mum has become wheelchair bound when it comes to leaving the house which has meant that she’s virtually housebound now. Her lack of mobility means that she’s no longer able to even get in and out of a car, which is very sad indeed, for a once very active and social lady. On working around an issue of getting her to a recent hospital appointment I discovered a local taxi firm that had wheelchair accessible taxi’s for hire.
Naturally I was nervous, as was my mum, having never been in such a vehicle before. I hadn’t used this particular company before so was unaware of their level of service but had been steered in their direction after many phone calls to other taxi firms who didn’t have the particular wheelchair accessible vehicle we needed. At the point I rang Station Taxi’s in Sunderland, the taxi firm in question, I’d already spoken to six other taxi firms, none of whom could accommodate my needs, but they were all very friendly but not proactively helpful .i.e. they didn’t point me in the direction of where I could find a wheel chair accessible taxi firm or make any recommendations of companies they knew of themselves that might be of help.
Station taxi’s was different. They had a front end IVR which would normally put me off but on this occasion they were really useful options that I could see were really helpful. When I spoke to the operator she was really helpful too. She asked me the type of wheelchair my mum had and asked if I had used a side loading or back loading taxi in the past and which I preferred. Since I hadn’t used either she recommended a side loader and said she’d get that organised. I also needed to book a return trip and she did this easily, explaining that the taxi driver would let us know where he’d pick us up and he’d give us his mobile number so we could ring if the pick-up time changed. I was impressed and that was even before I got the confirmation text messages confirming the date and time of both the drop off and pick up. Now this was a very different experience to any other taxi booking I’d ever done before and my work means I’m a frequent traveller in taxi’s….
As the time approached for the taxi to arrive I got another text message letting me know the taxi was on its way. For those of you reading this who have used taxi’s yourselves, especially when you’re running to some type of deadline e.g. catching a train or flight or getting to a meeting I’m sure you’ll have experienced that anxiety as the pick-up time approaches or even passes, where you begin to worry that your taxi isn’t going to come at all and the disastrous ramifications this might mean. So for those of you who can empathise with that situation, you’ll understand my almost instant relaxation knowing the taxi was on its way.
When he arrived the driver came to the door and asked if he could help get my mum out of the house as well as getting her into the car safely, all the while chatting away to my mum and reassuring her.
He explained that because her return trip wasn’t going to be very long after he dropped us off, that he was going to wait for us and should her appointment be delayed or last longer than we thought, which in the end it did, not to worry because if he wasn’t there he would be certain to get a colleague to be there in his place. With this offer he gave me his mobile number and asked that all I do was keep him updated and he’d see how he could work around his commitments to make sure he’d be the one taking mum home.
As our pick up time approached and it looked more and more likely that we were going to be late I sent a text to the driver and he came straight back saying he could wait another 35 minutes for us – which he did.
He was excellent. Mum decided then and there that she’d like to use this taxi service again so she can get out and about more. A small price to pay for mobility.
This wasn’t a one off either. The service we’ve received is of a consistently high standard and the drivers have all been so friendly, helpful and accommodating again another company I proactively advocate.
So how did Station Taxi’s measure up against The 4 A’s of Customer Service.
Firstly Appearance – great first impression. On this occasion I couldn’t see the business but the way they dealt with those first moments of our interaction really made a positive impression on me. As I mentioned, even the Front end automated options were helpful. The staff were friendly, helpful and efficient.
Next Attention – They really got to know exactly we needed and asked some great questions and listened to what we said and responded in a helpful and useful way. The text messages they sent reassured me and gave me confidence in their service.
Accuracy – spot on. They were there where and when they said they would be and even exceeded our expectations
The final ‘A’ they demonstrated was Attitude. I always felt valued, important and individual and that the only thought in their mind was helping me get exactly what I wanted. The way they interacted with my mum was particularly impressive too, showing her equal levels of respect, help and care.
Think about what lessons you could adopt from Station Taxi’s to demonstrate the 4 A’s to your customers so you give them a reason to love you and keep coming back again and again and have them act as proactive advocates for your business.
New Chapter Learning are a UK training consultancy who specialise in customer focused training solutions.