As a taxi driver, you will come into contact with many people every day. Therefore, it’s essential that you learn how to communicate with people and what you need to do to make their journey pleasant and problem-free. If you’re only beginning your taxi driving career, you’ll soon find out that every passenger has different needs. On some occasions, you might come across people who live with a disability. In fact, 22% of the UK population have a form of disability, so it’s more common than you might have thought. And while you can recognise some of them at first sight, other disabilities might not be visible. No matter who your customer is, you need to be empathetic and do your best to follow their wishes. Our guide will help taxi drivers to make disabled passengers feel more comfortable when using their services.
Avoid Making Assumptions
Anytime you meet a new passenger, you need to avoid making assumptions. Even though they seem perfectly fine or can get up from their wheelchair, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need your help or assistance. To make the travelling experience more pleasant, ask them if there is anything you can do to help. Perhaps you might offer to help them to put the wheelchair into the car or help them with heavy luggage. If you notice that they struggle with mobility, you can ask them if they need you to assist them with getting into the vehicle. And once they’re in the car, you might want to find out if there is anything else they need from you to make their travels comfortable. So, no matter who your passenger is, don’t judge their situation too quickly. If you don’t offer assistance or make sure that everything is alright, they might avoid your services in the future.
Invest In A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
Some wheelchair users might find travelling daunting. After all, even though the awareness of the importance of accessibility is growing, some people and businesses still don’t take the necessary steps to make their lives easier. To ensure that you can accommodate the needs of wheelchair users, you might want to invest in a wheelchair-accessible taxi. Order yours today at cabdirect.com and get in touch with the team if you have any questions or need advice. When passengers who need to use a wheelchair see that you have a car that is tailored to their needs, they’ll be more likely to use your services again. Connect that with a kind attitude and behaviour, and you might be able to build a community of loyal clients.
Respect The Passenger
Another important rule you should go by to make your passengers feel more comfortable is to respect them. If they respond to you and seem like they want to talk, then engage with them in a conversation. When they seem nervous about an appointment you’re driving them to, you can try to take their mind off their worries by telling them a funny story. On the other hand, when the customer is very quiet or tells you that they don’t feel like talking too much, you should respect their wishes and allow them to travel in comfortable silence. Additionally, you should try to follow any requests they might have to make their time on the road more pleasant. If you’re driving with an opened window that makes them feel cold, allow them to close it. They might also ask you to turn off the radio or turn the volume down a little. By following their wishes, they’ll be able to feel comfortable throughout the entire ride and feel more inclined to use your services again.
Ensure That You Speak Clearly
While some of your clients might have mobility problems, others might have cognitive issues or hearing impairment. When you notice that the passenger doesn’t understand what you’re saying or can’t hear you, then you need to adjust your communication. Some disabilities also make it difficult for people to focus or comprehend information. When you notice that the volume of your voice is an issue, then try to speak louder and pronounce your words clearly. On the other hand, if your client can’t focus on a conversation, then don’t force them to engage in a dialogue for longer than they need to. Even though it might seem like a small gesture, taking steps to make sure that the passengers understand what you’re saying might make their entire day and become the reason why they require your assistance in the future.
Do Not Ask Intrusive Questions
Some people who have a disability might not feel comfortable talking about it. To ensure that the customer you’re helping to get from one place to another feels good and enjoys the time in your vehicle, you need to be empathetic and sensitive to their wishes. Therefore, you shouldn’t ask them directly about what their disability is. If they don’t want to disclose it, then you shouldn’t make them feel pressured. Instead, offer your assistance and offer any requests they might have to make the journey more pleasant. Then, you can direct the conversation towards a different topic that might make them focus on something else. With respectable and tactful behaviour, you might be able to gain their loyalty and encourage them to get in touch with your business again.
Find Out Everything You Can About Your Legal Obligations
When you become a taxi driver, you need to learn about your legal obligations and follow them. Once you know what the law requires you to do when you’re facing the passengers, you’ll be able to provide them with the best service possible. Finding out about your duties might also help you to avoid many unpleasant situations in the future and ensure that your business and actions are fully legal. With the official guidance, you’ll be able to learn what you need to do in order to make customers with disability feel understood and cared for. Keep up to date with the latest legislation, and you might be able to stand out from the crowd of your competitors.
Learn How To Be Patient
Working with people requires you to have patience. As a taxi driver, you might deal with stressful situations on the road. At the same time, you might come into contact with people who find it difficult to formulate their thoughts or require more assistance to get into your vehicle. When you notice that your customer talks slowly or has mobility issues, you need to make them feel understood and give them time to do what they need to become comfortable. And if you get stressed when you’re driving and have a passenger in your car, you need to watch your emotions. Avoid swearing or loud noises. Then, you’ll be able to make the passenger feel like they can trust you and enjoy the journey in peace.
Conclusion: Keep In Mind The Well-Being Of Your Customers
Finally, you need to care about the well-being of every customer you come into contact with. Not every disability is visible, so when someone asks for help, you should do your best to accommodate their needs. When you get into a conversation, you need to be respectful and avoid asking questions that might seem intrusive. To make your communication with disabled clients pleasant, you need to be empathetic and look out for signs of discomfort. But most of the rules that come to such dialogues are common courtesy. Treat all of your clients well, and they might keep coming back to you. With a strong community of customers, you might be able to raise your brand awareness and increase the profits of your business.