Working as a PCO driver requires several key practical skills, such as (obviously) the ability to drive, sufficient knowledge of your vehicle, and geographical knowledge which will be tested by the topographical exam. However, there are many less technical qualities you will need in order to provide the best service to your customers. Here we list five of the soft skills necessary to be a successful PCO driver.
Being able to talk well with your customers is an essential soft skill for any PCO driver. You’ll meet many different people during your journeys, and generally most passengers will engage in conversation to fill the time. Good communication can make both of you feel comfortable, and simply asking questions like “How was your day?” shows friendly interest, and may you improve your Uber rating.
As well as being prepared to answer queries about directions or the area, you also need to be able to identify conversation cues, including whether a passenger wants to interact with you or not to begin with. Some prefer to sit in silence, while others love to chat, so being able to recognise this allows you to tailor each trip to the individual, and avoid any awkwardness if the customer doesn’t want to talk much.
As well as being happy to start a conversation, you need to be just as good at listening. If customers feel like they’re being ignored, you will come across as rude and unapproachable which means they may leave a negative review, and probably won’t want to ride with you again. Listening to your passengers is essential, especially if they’re trying to let you know the best route to where they are going, and sharing any other details that could be important for the journey.
Professionalism means conducting yourself in a way that helps create a positive reputation, where you go above and beyond what is expected of you to provide a quality experience. Unprofessional behaviour can include things like being rude to customers, not taking sufficient care while driving, or being late for a pickup time — especially if you haven’t informed your passenger beforehand. You should treat your passengers how you’d want to be treated if you were using your service.
No one wants to get into a car with an angry or miserable driver with a poor attitude, so make sure you are polite and friendly at all times. Greeting your passengers with a smile, and offering a socially acceptable level of conversation are just a few examples of good manners. You should aim to make them feel welcome, and provide a warm atmosphere. Simple things like checking if they need more leg room or whether they would like the windows open can go a long way. Even if you’re approaching the end of your shift, and feeling tired, there’s no excuse for treating your customers poorly.
You’ll meet a range of people from different backgrounds while working as a PCO driver, so knowing how to be sensitive towards your customers is an essential soft skill. For example, a passenger may begin talking to you about a personal problem, like a relationship breakdown or job loss, so you need to react appropriately. While you aren’t qualified to offer a solution, giving them your full attention and being empathetic to their situation will make them feel relaxed. After all, human connection is something we all value, and even if you’re only taking them on a short journey, caring about their concerns could improve both of your experiences.