A FEW DRIV­ING TIPS

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Iam for­ever in and out of taxis and hire cars in dif­fer­ent cities and have been for most of my cor­po­rate ca­reer. It is part of what must be en­dured in an oc­cu­pa­tion that de­mands travel on a weekly ba­sis. My ex­pe­ri­ence is that when it comes to meet­ing the ex­pec­ta­tions of busi­ness trav­ellers, only some drivers “get it”. And I sus­pect the rea­son some drivers don’t is be­cause no one in busi­ness says ex­actly what it is that we want. Un­til now.

So here are my tips for taxi and hire- car drivers – chauf­feurs if you like – who are pitch­ing to the cor­po­rate world. It is rea­son­able to ex­pect some small talk at the start of a jour­ney, such as the state of the traf­fic, the weather, the foot­ball (in Mel­bourne), or ques­tions such as “how’s your day been?” or “how’s busi­ness?” But af­ter this chit- chat, which should take no more than three min­utes, there is no need for any­thing fur­ther.

I re­gard a hire car with a driver as a re­prieve from the hurly- burly of the work­ing day. Step­ping out of one meet­ing and be­ing whisked to your next one is a great lux­ury. The back of a hire car should be a sanc­tu­ary of calm and soli­tude, al­low­ing thoughts to be col­lected be­fore the next ap­point­ment. I don’t want to be rude, but af­ter ex­chang­ing pleas­antries I want to zone out. I have calls to make and voice­mails to ac­cess. I can’t do that if I’m nod­ding and pre­tend­ing to lis­ten to some rant about pol­i­tics em­a­nat­ing from the driver.

The next is­sue that bugs me is that some drivers ask for di­rec­tions. If you have been briefed by my PA as to where I need to be — right down to the gate num­ber if it’s a com­plex such as a univer­sity – then I ex­pect you to have done your home­work be­fore I get into the car and to know ex­actly where you’re go­ing. That’s your job.

It’s not hard to keep cor­po­rate clients happy. Be pleas­ant. Know where you’re go­ing. Keep the car clean. Be on time ev­ery time. And give the client quiet time to make calls and col­lect thoughts. If you do all that, you will have cor­po­rate clients coming back for more.

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