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Friday, July 24, 2009

A taxi company that's gone the extra mile

Whatever business you are in you have to take extra care and pay more attention to both detail and your customers to be successful. I called at several shops yesterday and noticed the attitude in most was pretty aweful. In one shop I had to wait whilst the assistant finished a mobile phone call – and it obviously wasn’t a business call! In another the assistant didn’t look directly at me all the time I was buying from her. In one shop they didn’t have what I wanted but didn’t offer an alternative or said they could order one!

I did go to one shop where the staff were most helpful and did save me money but that was the exception. Do you give good service? If you don’t you will lose customers even if you are the cheapest like-for-like.

I was looking at the taxis lined up this morning and the drivers in particular. I don’t think I’d want to travel with many of them if my first impression is right! Take a look at your local taxi drivers and see if you agree.

When I go to Didcot in Oxfordshire I use a company called Pryors Taxis. All their drivers wear a grey suit, white shirt with company tie and black polished shoes. Sometimes they aren’t wearing a jacket but the driver’s tie is always pulled tight. They are polite and always help with luggage. They have always been on time but I understand that they give a guarantee that if they are late by more than 20 minutes they won’t charge the fare. I enjoy using their service. Shouldn’t all taxi firms act and dress like this rather than being scruffy. If I ran a taxi company I’d follow Pryors example as I know this would add value to the customers’ perception, give my drivers self-esteem and improve my branding. Think how you can improve your business without spending a fortune.

I‘ve noticed some local shop closures still. I don’t believe that the recession has bottled out so it’s really important to do three things:

· Keep marketing and selling. There’s no need to send much. What you do spend should give you a good return in the form of profit. Turnover alone means little. Keep improving your sales skills.
· Be innovative and look for new products and services. Try to sell extras to existing customers.
· Keep a careful control on cash. Cut back overheads where this doesn’t affect service. Keep tabs on outstanding accounts. Try to maintain a cash cash-flow – in other words try to get customers to pay on delivery or cut down on the length of credit. Don’t be afraid of losing customers, be afraid of losing cash. If you don’t know how each week has gone by the following Monday as far as turnover and profit goes: if you don’t compare with last week, last month and last year you’ll not know how you are doing.

This will not only help ride out the recession but also strengthen your business when boom-time comes.

Control your customers by using a customer management system. Try Ok! You’ll need to take some time setting it up but it is a good system. As you grow and it begins to prove it’s weight in gold you’ll have to pay a very small monthly fee but that’ll be some time away. Give it a try and see the difference.

If I can do anything to help you succeed then call me on 07976 364681.

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