Taksi Helsinki Ltd | Marko Tikkanen, Head of Business
Taksi Helsinki is Finland’s largest taxi dispatching company, and it includes approximately 100 expert employees. One of the company’s primary goals is to ensure high-quality, safe and available taxi services for its customers.
In addition to the metropolitan area, Taksi Helsinki operates in several different regions, serving companies as well as consumers in their transportation needs.
Driver trainings, introduction & online store
Taksi Helsinki is a pioneer in the digital training of taxi drivers. It began taking its training operations into an online environment a couple of years ago, i.e. well before the larger digital shift in society brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The change was caused primarily by a major shortage in drivers, and the company wanted to lower the threshold for becoming a driver as well as find good people to join their pool of drivers.
It seemed like, at the time, there were not too many good customer service professionals around, explains Marko Tikkanen, Head of Business at Taksi Helsinki.
Previously, the training was arranged through contact teaching, which Tikkanen describes as a slow and awkward process. Now Taksi Helsinki trains all its drivers through an entirely online setting. Only the final exam and tutor driving are carried out on-site.
So far, approximately 500 drivers have completed the company’s digital driver training, even despite the drop in activity the industry has seen due to the coronavirus. Taksi Helsinki has a total of approximately 2,500 drivers in the metropolitan area.
Future drivers can attend the training online at a time of their choosing, from any location and device. We also managed to drop the price of the training significantly due to the digital setting.
Marko Tikkanen reveals that taking the training into a digital environment has been a part of the company’s larger strategic change process. The content of the training was made more current, with customer service placed at the centre.
For a taxi driver, local information is a key part of their professionalism, but navigators help these days. Customer service, on the other hand, cannot be outsourced to devices, and it is important to us that our drivers can handle customer encounters, he states.
The focus on customer service also influenced the fact that the online training is only available in Finnish.
We require our drivers to have sufficient Finnish language skills, so that they can manage customer service situations.
On Taksi Helsinki’s new training platform, customer service skills are mostly taught with videos. The videos feature both good and bad performances. The situations are acted out by a professional actor.
By using videos and moments of insight, we want to stir those attending the training. I believe we have succeeded, for the feedback has been positive.
After the training, the student must complete an exam with 50 questions. The system draws questions from a bank of 500 different questions, making memorising impossible – the student must actually know the answers. Cheating is also not possible, since every exam participant has different questions. Once the test is completed, the student is immediately notified whether they have passed or not. The exam is performed on a tablet similar to the ones drivers use.
Those wanting to become taxi drivers must also pass Traficom’s taxi driver exam, which means that Taksi Helsinki’s training is not required for becoming a taxi driver. It is, however, mandatory, if you wish to become a driver for Taksi Helsinki.
We want our drivers to know our ways of working and customer service requirements. This is why every future driver must undergo our training and pass our final exam, Tikkanen points out.
When Taksi Helsinki was building its new online training system, they also had an idea of creating their own online store – which was then carried out. Now Taksi Helsinki’s online store offers the possibility to purchase trainings and exams, and in the future, possibly other products, such as gift vouchers.
The online store saves a considerable amount of time and trouble at our administrative department. Once the customer purchases a training or exam from the online store, they pay for it right away. This way, we don’t need to opt for a heavy invoicing and debt collection process, Tikkanen says.
Mediamaisteri’s role in creating Taksi Helsinki’s training platform and online store has been to carry out the technical implementation of the systems.
We selected Mediamaisteri, because we trust their expertise and they were able to provide a holistic solution.
According to Marko Tikkanen, Taksi Helsinki’s digital training path and online solution have been designed and honed continuously to be even better and smoother, and the development work is still not done.
It is very important that the customer path is as simple and logical as possible, and that it does not fail at any point. At the same time, it should offer all the information needed. There are many aspects to consider, he says.