Automation is somewhat of a double-edged sword for anyone working in the taxi industry. On the one hand, automating existing services is a good way of streamlining your business so that you are in an optimum position to face the many challenges coming down the line for your sector.
On the other hand, automation of vehicles themselves is en route too. This is going to mean a whole raft of other changes you’ll have to scale up to – and they could be driverless cars or even flying cars. There is debate as to when these technologies will become a day-to-day reality: it might be 20 years – but it could be as soon as five.
Either way, whether it’s going to be a matter of making sure your taxi company is streamlined enough to deal with the future or cutting costs to compete with the new technologies, there is no doubt that getting to grips with automation is vital.
The good news is you don’t have to fear it – and it can even offer many benefits.
1. Make better use of your resources
Apps are a significant driver of bookings, but many bookings are still made over the phone. This incurs several costs from the taxi company’s point of view.
Firstly, you’ll have staffing costs to make sure all the calls are answered in a timely fashion. Secondly, you need to pay for the office space required for those call-handlers. Thirdly, there is the cost of the dispatch system you use. And lastly, you must bear a cost if you have staff in during a quiet period when there isn’t a big enough volume of calls to keep them busy.
An automated booking system can help you to reduce these costs. If you can automate half the calls you get in a day, then you could be talking about a significant saving in terms of overheads and wage costs. Apps are a low-cost driver of booking automation but customers can be encouraged to book via automated calls as well as account bookings via the company website.2. You’ll have better balanced workloads
Favoritism is a bugbear in most workplaces. Forbes.com reported that 92 percent of senior business executives admitted that it was an issue for them, and it’s not a problem that’s solely limited to the C-suite. Take the example of a dispatcher favoring one driver over another, but with automated dispatch, that problem disappears. The result is fairer distribution of work to the drivers, and nobody in the office favoring one driver over another.3. It gives you your time back
Every taxi company in the world has one thing in common: the founders saw an opportunity or gap in the market and went for it. The beauty of an automated system is that it handles a lot of the things that cause you hassle and waste your time right now – staffing issues, allocating resources, identifying the drivers who reject jobs or don’t show up to jobs at all.
You can save time when it comes to taking calls, put your drivers in areas where they are likely to pick up business and analyze driver behavior at the touch of a button.
Given the challenges coming down the line for the taxi industry, automation could be the difference between being prepared or being blindsided.4. You can invest in other areas
Once an automated system kicks in, the cost benefits will become obvious. There is no standard case because every taxi company is different, but customers have reported savings of €2000 a week, which adds up to a not-inconsiderable €130,000 a year. So whether it’s a fleet upgrade, a building purchase, investing in marketing or even renovating the office you are in now, automation can open a lot of doors for your taxi business.5. It gives passengers what they want
Your end user is becoming more and more accustomed to being in total control of every facet of their lives. Whether that’s online banking, online shopping or watching TV on demand, the modern customer is one who expects a mobile-first experience.
A fully automated system allows taxi companies to tap into that. If a customer rings for a cab, they want the same experience when they book on the app – and vice versa. An automated system allows for that. Even if the passenger doesn’t have the app, your dispatcher can send the same text confirming their booking, telling them the type of car, the name of the driver, and that the cab is three minutes away. For the customer, it’s a seamless experience that they really enjoy and have come to expect.6. You can get work done in the office again
If you’ve ever tried to get some work done during a busy time in the office, you’ll know that it’s next to impossible. With phones ringing off the hook and call-takers bellowing orders at drivers, it can be hectic.
But the more automation you bring to the process, the more peace and quiet you can enjoy. A taxi office is probably never going to be one of those serene spaces you see in some tech companies but if you get your automation levels right then you can get a lot more done, in a much calmer environment.7. Cloud-based systems make installation and updates easier
When you think of automation, you might think of pain, cumbersome installations and technicians onsite troubleshooting for days, while you lose money. Then there’s the learning curve for your staff to surmount and all your drivers need new tech in their cars - costing you at least four figures per vehicle.
That might be the case with a lot of taxi technology companies, but the beauty of a cloud-based dispatch system is that it can be implemented with minimal interruption to your business, as can subsequent updates as and when they’re needed.
iCabbi recently worked with a new client who had previously tried to automate some of their systems with little success. Within two days of using our solutions, they had gone from 11 percent automation to 42 percent.8. You can finally start to enjoy life again
iCabbi has had numerous taxi company owners come to us with stories of how they can get on with their lives now that their firm is working more efficiently. We’ve had one owner tell us he got to go on his first holiday in seven years. Another told us that he went out for his first New Year’s Eve in years and another revealed that he’d taken two weeks off for a holiday – for the first time ever.
All because a taxi solution has made their lives a whole lot easier!Thinking about your company’s future?
If you want to ensure your taxi company is set for the future, get in touch. iCabbi has helped countless businesses around the world improve their automation levels, reduce their costs - and prepare for the future. If you want to join the revolution, let us know.
You can discover more about the iCabbi product here.