Saturday, 21 May 2016

Pitfalls of Arranging Driving Lessons by Text


There are advantages to actually talking.

As an independent driving instructor in Nottingham I have to keep admin time down to a minimum. I'm sure you know what I mean. When getting home after a full day's teaching I can't face 10 phone calls as well as sorting out emails. It would take all night. In response to voice messages I have a standard text I paste in which thanks the person for their message and asks where they are and when they are available. This helps me to filter out people who are too far away or need lessons at times where I am not available. Helps keep the fruitless phone calls at bay. If someone specifically asks me to phone and talk then I will. People do prefer to text rather than talk anyway it seems. If someone texts and I call them straight back chances are they will not answer even though they must still have their phone nearby.
   There are disadvantages to texting though. Many people don't read them properly and so only tell me when they are available and not where they are. I don't get to ask the questions I would like to ask and neither do they get to ask me anything.
   I arranged a lesson by text for last Thursday morning. After driving out to Carlton and locating the new person we set off only to find that she required an automatic car and I only have a manual. It was her partner who had arranged the lesson so we had not communicated at all. I showed her the texts I had received and pointed out that there was no mention of an automatic vehicle. I dropped her off back at her place and drove home. I couldn't charge her for the lesson as it was a genuine misunderstanding. I bet if we had spoken on the phone then the subject of an automatic car would have been mentioned.
   One good thing about texts is that if someone turns up at the wrong time then you can use the text message to show that you turned up as per the message and prove yourself right. It's a satisfying feeling to be right and know that you can prove it. Ha.
   You can never be sure that a text has been received. If on the very rare occasion I need to cancel a lesson and I send a text I always imagine the person stood on a rainy street corner waiting for me because they haven't seen the text. Lots of people do receive texts but ignore them. The youth are very good at this. I have asked people if they want a driving lesson and don't get any reply at all. When I asked a pupil if he realised I was waiting for a reply so I would know if I can book someone else in he told me he never realised. They can forget that there is another person waiting for a response. I suppose in these times of social media and suchlike the amount of pointless noise they have to screen out is pretty amazing.
   You really can't beat the personal touch of actually talking on the phone. I think with all the time pressure and amount of information we have to deal with nowadays it may become a thing of the past.

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