Anyone who expresses an interest in BIG TOM courses is invited to access our Help Centre which has a range of information about the processes our customers experience and the differences in learning to drive by traditional pay as you go driving lessons versus an accelerated learning programme. There are many resources that are provided to a customer of a BIG TOM intensive course that are not provided to pay as you go customers – and it is important to understand why that is so. We have a variety of ways in which customers can engage with us prior to any exchange of fees. This initial stage can be time-consuming, it can be over a lengthy period and it is entirely conducted by BIG TOM Admin on behalf of our franchisees.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of pupil who want to learn to drive. Both of these are (normally) extremely motivated and excited at the prospect of gaining their driving licence. One is very happy with the idea of doing weekly driving lessons, even with the knowledge that this is likely to take several months before one passes the driving test. The second kind of pupil wants to learn quicker, for a wide range of reasons; these pupils are really focussed and extremely aligned with the idea that they are purchasing a more expensive training course to learn to drive, but need a licence sooner and so will pay that additional fee.
The first group of learners will select a driving instructor who can provide a driving lesson each week and as long as they feel like they are making efficient progress will stay with that method of learning to drive. It is true to say that there are many customers who start on that path, and soon get fed up with how long it is taking, so they then hop over to an intensive course.
The second group who see the benefit of gaining a licence quicker will be provided with a variety of resources to help them prepare for the in-car training soon to come their way. Over the years it has become an established fact that customers who engage in these resources stand a far greater chance of achieving their goal in the timescales being planned than those who do not. Whichever method one chooses to learn to drive, it remains effortful. There is nothing particularly “easier” by learning to drive in one of the above methods over the other. Having provided both types of training for over a decade it is clear that for many pupils, it is truly incredible what can be achieved on an intensive course WITHOUT any less quality of the output. One of the crucial elements of our intensive courses is that they are bespoke: customers have a great deal of choice regarding the length of the course, frequency of training sessions, and timing of them. The greater flexibility a franchisee can offer customers, the better. BIG TOM Admin offers customers a range of options dependent on the criteria set by the franchisee in the given location of the customer.
BIG TOM Admin handle this delicate phase of the customer experience with care. We do not want to be seen to be attempting to persuade a customer down either path, it is essential that the customer is given the opportunity to understand the differences between both methods and make an informed decision without any influence. Intensive courses offer pupils who engage in our resources a superb opportunity to gain a licence much quicker than the industry norm of 7 months. [source: DVSA]
It is true that armed with knowledge of the experience that BIG TOM can provide, some customers will still incorrectly assess which is the best way for them to learn to drive. This happens for many reasons; some customers are reluctant to either listen or believe the advice offered and may find that they have made it extremely challenging to learn to drive in the method they have chosen. In the case of customers who have chosen an intensive course which does not match their needs (perhaps they grossly underestimated the length of course they need), all is not lost. Test slots that have been previously booked are changed to accommodate the change in circumstances, no customer is in any way out of pocket – they have still received the number of hours of training in the timescales that they chose from the start. Customers who choose the pay as you go path, and recognise that this is not working for them, can terminate that method and have the option of purchasing an intensive course that is more suited to their learning preferences. The point is, either way, a customer does not ‘lose out’ on anything – which is why our training programmes have the flexibility they do. We want to offer customers choice.
It is also true that some driving instructors will not like to work in an environment of an accelerated learning programme. There are techniques that we help franchisees to utilise that make learning more effective and efficient. This is not some coded way of saying that corners are cut and we incorporate “gaming” techniques such as training only on driving test routes or “creaming” which pupils we are prepared to work with. The techniques being spoken of here instead relate to the art of judgement that has been developed over many years of experience. It is these techniques along with our resource material that customers are purchasing – it is precisely these elements that create successful outcomes for our customers. Clearly, we would not be wanting to disclose such techniques on a public platform, but franchisees are trained in these skills as part of their induction training.
Driving instructors who offer a service of tuition in a ‘one dimensional approach’, will be limited as to how much they can charge for their service because frankly, that is precisely the same kind of service that all other ‘mediocre’ driving instructors provide. But driving instructors who are skilled to be able to adapt to the needs and expectations of their pupils should quite rightly be able to charge a premium fee for a premium service. It is important not to confuse the talk of driving instructors in this way with any DVSA gradings that they have. A ‘Grade A’ driving instructor who has only ever provided pay as you go driving lessons for the last 10 years will not necessarily possess the required skills to deliver an accelerated training programme. Not only will they probably not possess the skill, they very likely would not WANT to provide that type of training, because as is nature, we tend to settle within our comfort zone of ‘sameness’. To develop, grow and improve it would take effort, change and courage which the vast of people are simply not prepared to do.