As a bit of a traditionalist, one trend I’ve always avoided is ride-share/Uber/Lyft. For whatever reason, I’ve just felt like taxis were more trustworthy. This assumption, for the record, is based on absolutely no actual fact or knowledge.
It’s just one of those deals where cabs have been around forever when you need a ride, so logic would lend to them being the natural, safest choice.
After all, how do I know some 20 year old with an app to dispatch him to a location to pick up total stranger even has proper insurance to do such a thing???
So I always cab it.
A couple weeks ago I had to make the trek into Toronto for a morning voice over session at MCS Recording. Toronto traffic during the morning rush from my hometown could leave me with a commute ranging anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours plus.
Unpredictable at best.
Thank goodness there’s a train! Heck, even the train station, which under ideal driving conditions is about 25 minutes from my place, takes me an hour to reach during the morning rush!
Off the train at Union Station I had a 20ish minute walk to MCS. Generally, I’d do it happily while enjoying the fresh air. On this particular day, however, the air wasn’t only fresh, but also bitterly cold.
I’d rather not walk too far when the air hurts my face.
So I took a cab.
Taxis, Uber and the Dying Art of Customer Service
The driver punched up my destination on his GPS. Queen St. E. In my mind, any self respecting Toronto cab driver wouldn’t need a GPS to direct them to Queen St. E. from Union Station. But, I tried not to judge.
An odd thing happened, however, as we approached our coming right-hand turn (as guided by the GPS).
The driver chose to not take it.
Nor did he take the next one.
Or the one after that.
Or several beyond that.
At this point it became obvious what was happening.
The cab ride from Union to my Queen St. destination was a short one. This taxi driver had clearly chosen to take the scenic route and run up the meter. Even ignoring repeated prompts from his own GPS!
It’s not the first time it’s happened to me. But it will be the last.
Watching him blatantly drive out of his way to run the meter up when I had a session to get to really upset me. To the point that while sitting in the back of his cab, I downloaded the Uber app.
There was no way I’d be taking a cab back to Union Station after the session.
Cab drivers running up the meter, I suspect, is half the reason a company like Uber even exists!
The final fare for my cab ride was $19.
The Uber fare for my ride back to Union was $6.
The real issue here wasn’t the money. It was the utter disrespect shown to me, as a customer, by a cab driver who was just trying to get a more expensive fare out of an otherwise short ride.
It was ignorant.
And the symptom of a greater problem.
Lack of customer service skill.
When I’m working with my voice over clients, I will bend over backwards to make sure they have an easy and professional experience. Every. Single. Time.
There are far too many other VO’s out there waiting in the wings if I fail to deliver.
They’re the Uber drivers waiting to grab cab fares. Not because they cost less. Rather, because they provide a better experience!
The Task is Simple: Take Care of Your Clients
My commitment to my clients is simple. On time. On budget. Hassle free.
With each and every job I book, my goal is always the same. Under promise. Over deliver.
Happy clients are repeat clients.
Unhappy clients download Uber in the backseat of the taxi.
This is really easy to do when you’re working with easy clients. It can be a test when you’re working with difficult ones. Regardless, your objective should still be the same.
Always give them your best, no matter what.
Don’t hassle them over the script.
Don’t nickel and dime them over the budget.
Don’t make them wait if you can deliver sooner.
Make their life easier and your part in the production process go smooth, and they’ll be back. Trust me. Even better, they’ll likely tell their friends.
Sometimes I think exceptional customer service is becoming a lost art.
Don’t let it become a relic of the past in your voice over business.