Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What I don’t get about taxi drivers…

Now I have had some good taxi drivers and some bad ones in my day, but I’m wondering if I am alone in tipping at different levels for good versus bad.
My dad is worried about being embarrassed at giving a small tip, so he tends to tip the same.
Not I.
When I hire a taxi, I am looking for a few basic things.
  1. Be punctual (if I’ve made a reservation)
  2. Get me there efficiently
  3. Have a relatively clean car
  4. Make the experience pleasant
On my recent trip to Argentina, I had two cab experiences that just baffled me.
I made a reservation for a cab from Barwood Taxi to take me from my house to National Airport.
Now, they participate in a new service called “Taxi Magic” (no link, since I’m in the back of Cab #2 at the moment) where you download an app onto your phone and you can make a reservation as well as pay (since your credit card is already in the system).
So, being the technophile I am, that’s what I did.
I made a reservation for 2pm.
At 1.40pm, I get a text saying “taxi #203 dispatched. ETA is 1.53pm”
By 2.10, no cab
2.20, no cab.
I call the cab company. The operator says to me, “he’s pulling up right now.”
Now, I was standing outside so I know that wasn’t the case.
Finally, at 2.30, he shows up.
I then used the app on my phone to pay directly. And I didn’t tip him at all. Not one cent.
Call me a jerk, if you want, but 30 minutes when you are flying internationally can be make or break. I was counting on them and they failed me.
I made the flight, but that’s besides the point.
Buenos Aires Cab
When I landed in Buenos Aires (which may have the most inefficient immigration/customs system I have ever seen), I hired a car from an overpriced service.
I get in the car and there is music BLARING.
Notwithstanding the fact that I had just flown overnight and was a bit groggy and wanted to relax, I think that this would have been jarring normally.
I asked the driver to turn it off.
He turned it down.
I asked again (since it was right in my ear).
He said he’d make it lower.
So, now, I’m in the back of his car, listening to his annoying music which, frankly, I don’t think I should have to do.
Tip coming his way?
Sorry, if I reward service with which I am unsatisfied, I am sending the wrong message.
As a marketer who seeks to great customer experiences, I have chosen to fight this battle.

Updated: How Barwood responded brilliantly!
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