Industry-Specific Solutions for Taxi

27.02.2019
A number of regulatory acts have been adopted to promote legalization of this business: benefits for legal taxis, tightened control over “illegal aliens” and certification of drivers.

Another striking trend is the launch of taxi aggregator services: Yandex.Taxi, Uber, Wheely, GetTaxi etc.

Competition in the segment is quite tough because the business entry threshold is low, in fact it gets down just to availability of an automobile. The capacity of the passenger transport market can be evaluated in the case of Moscow: legal taxis alone account for 50-55 thousand cars here!

Tools

Taxi services make use of a multitude of various channels for promotion with undoubted preference for more cost-efficient options because the majority of market players here are small companies consisting of just a couple of drivers with a single dispatcher service.

The industry representatives have long been using SMS-notification because this promotion channel is most suitable for contact with the audience: if you sent a message, it means your potential customer has a device with which he can make an order. Another important choice factor is a relatively low cost of this channel. Although SMS-marketing has long been mastered by taxi companies, communication quality and effectiveness still leave much to be desired.

Database collection

An effective way of collecting a legitimate database for a taxi company may be obtaining consent in a phone call when a customer makes an order. For example, it can be asked for in exchange for an instant discount. Consents may also be collected through the drivers: by filling in customer information forms during the order or giving an accumulative card with activation via SMS.

Database legitimacy

According to the law, subscribers have to confirm their consent to receive bulk messaging. Such consent has to be explicit – that is the customer must realize what he/she consents to and clearly identify him/herself in doing so (leave his/her name, signature, mobile phone number and e-mail). Filled in customer information forms are deemed to be confirmation of consent, and they must be kept permanently as web-site logs, electronic copies or paper documents. If consents are collected via SMS (e.g. by sending a message to a short number) – they are kept permanently with the provider of an SMS-messaging service. A customer phone conversation recording may also serve as confirmation of consent.

Types of SMS messaing

Taxis use different types of messaging: promotion messages with special offers and discounts and more frequently used service messages notifying on various stages of the order: order taking, taxi arrival etc.

Service messages

Service messaging designed to build customer loyalty notifies customers on all stages of the order: order taking, taxi arrival, cost of service, staff rating via a short number etc. Notification of the customer on any changes: taxi delay, change of driver or car. Taxi companies which have their own bonus systems or loyalty programs may also inform customers on the movement of bonuses or the terms of their use. They also can take order from customers by receiving messages to a short number.

Promotion messages

Apart from promotions and discounts, a taxi company can notify customers on new services (sober driver, unmarked cars) or make a skillful use of passenger-relevant news hooks: customer’s birthday, bad weather, holidays etc.

Despite the extensive experience that these industry players have in SMS-communication, a very high share of subscribers’ complaints falls precisely on taxi advertising. The most common mistake, which is also a breach of the law, is sending messages to another company’s database. Another cause of resentment is untimely messages with unsuitable copyright. Imagine that in the dead of night you receive an SMS typed in capital Latin letters offering you a drive to an airport when you are already on the longed-for vacation. Willsuchadvertisementwork? Athirdcommonmistakeisusingfederalnumbersforbulkmessaging. It is also illegal after the amendments to the Law “On Communication” took effect on 21 October.

Correct and consistent customer communication creates a favorable distinction of the brand among competition. When it comes to the taxi market seriously lacking companies that can boast of high customer service, this may altogether become a choice factor.