The taxi sector is in a time of huge change. As 2020 kicks off, there are equal measures of opportunity and threat in this industry but one thing is for sure, staying still, doing nothing and refusing to change never work to ride out the storm.
In order to keep your taxi fleet relevant in today’s mobility age you must embrace innovation. In this article we’ll take a look at what that actually means for your taxi company and explore some of the areas of innovation that are foremost to the success of taxi industry right now.
Why do you need to up your game?
A common misconception about innovation is that it is something that is reserved for the young or the incredibly rich. Innovation seems very far off from what can be achieved in a “traditional” taxi business. It can feel like a buzzword or a winning score on salesman bullshit bingo.
When you look at its origins though, a different picture emerges. Innovation comes from the Latin ‘innovationem’, noun of action from ‘innovare’. Stemming from the Latin ‘innovatus’, it means “to renew or change”. Innovation can, therefore, be seen as the process that renews something that exists and not, as is commonly assumed, the introduction of something brand new. For this renewal to take place it is necessary for people to change the way they make decisions, they must choose to do things differently.
So, the first step in upping your game is to adopt an innovative mindset. When you make the decision to move your business forward, it should be from the point of view that things are going to change, things are going to be different.
“ Innovation is evolution, rather than revolution. It is taking your knowledge, your experience and the things that have made your business successful and pushing them through a new filter and new process. Innovation seeks to build upon your business, not paper over itv ”
Innovation does not happen in a vacuum. Innovation is not a click of the fingers type deal. It needs to be harnessed and cultivated. In order for your taxi fleet to move forward into a space of innovation, there are 6 key pillars that you need in place that will support the journey -
1. Organisational Preparednes
Everyone on your team has to buy into what the business is trying to do and trying to become. They have to understand why the business is moving in such a way and what that means for them personally. When you lay the groundwork for innovation with the people in the team, it takes root much faster.
2. Data Centricity
Putting data at the centre of your decision making and strategy can positively transform your business. It’s not just a case of getting in a new shiny tool, it’s about learning how to read the data, how to interpret what it is saying to you. It’s about looking at how the data is collated and knowing what you are looking at.
Almost every area of your business can now be analysed using data, and it does’t always cost you money. Google Analytics, for example, is an excellent free resource for measuring your website activity. Most of the software that you use to administrate your fleet will have some back-end analytics functionality. And when it comes to the specific business of dispatching taxis, you’ll be able to pull lots of raw data from your taxi dispatch system - or if you’re an iCabbi customer you can use the free or premium version of the iCabbi Insights tool.
3. Understanding Your Taxi Fleet
Auditing your taxi fleet is directly linked to data centricity - because you cannot really do it without data. Know what needs to change, know where the problems are. Figure out what areas of the business are not maximised, which areas are troublesome and which areas are a disaster. Once you know what the problem really is, you can start planning a solution.
4. Set Goals for your Taxi Fleet
What does success look like? The result of innovation should be a better situation for you or one of your stakeholders - say, for example, a reduction in no shows, improved customer retention, reduction in costs, and the list goes on. There are no doubt lots of areas you wish to improve upon in your taxi company. Nail your flag to the mast by setting clear goals for you and your team .
5. Identify your KPIs
This is crucial to goal setting innovation. Identify clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and make sure they are in place before you try something new like employing new technology or changing dispatch rules or tactics, or embarking on a new marketing strategy.
6. Report & Review
Data is useless unless you glean insights from it and use those insights to innovate your taxi fleet. Establish a process of regular reporting and review to make sure you are on track to hit your goals - and, if not, to give you pause to reflect on your innovation strategies and make improvements. Regular reviews will also keep your team invested and ensure you are all working towards the same end-goals.
And when you do hit them - celebrate!!!
The Game Changers: Fleet Innovation , Right Here, Right Now
We’ve talked about identifying where you need to innovate, and how and why you need to measure your progress. But what about the hard part - finding the solutions themselves?!
I hear you, don’t worry! And while I haven’t got all the answers, I can certainly steer you in the right direction by pointing to some of the key areas of innovation in the taxi industry that can help you boost your business.
Here are some of the game changers you should be looking at right now.
Aggregators - Aggregators have been around for some time yet they still suffer from a lack of demand in the market, they still need more Fleets to sign up. There are all sorts of aggregator, each bringing new customers to your business. It’s simple, its clean and it’s free. So, what’s stopping you? This should be your first port of call.
Payment Solutions - The taxi industry is incredibly far behind the rest of the world when it comes to payment options. One of the last industries to relinquish its death grip on cash, taxis need to move past the old paradigm and embrace a cashless future. There are a host of solutions out there that provide security, fast payment, stable POS and more. This is not a ‘nice to have’ any more, this is an imperative.
Connected Solutions - More and more solutions are connecting to the dispatch ecosystem - insurance, mobile security, telecoms, vehicle tools and more. These solutions are designed to maximise your return on investment on your data. Start investigating how you can leverage the data you already have right now.
In-Car - Whether you own your own fleet or not, there is value in you helping your drivers in their day to day. Car monitoring, phone monitoring, car safety, car recovery - there is a plethora of tools to help drivers and fleets maximise their profits and deliver a better overall experience.
Growth Tools - how are you marketing yourself? How are you attracting new drivers? How are you growing your business? There are many services and tools out there to help you cost-effectively build your business today.
New economies for taxi companies
Your company moves people - but what else can it move? What else can it do when you are moving things? There are a host of opportunities for taxi fleets to maximise their time and therefore their revenue. Drivers can earn more and earn smarter while Fleets can take advantage of the fact that they operate a uniquely diverse and data rich network capable of delivering solutions for all types of businesses.
Future Innovation & Your Taxi Fleet
Are you a natural innovator? Do you do everything we have already looked at? Then why not up your game some more!!! There are a host of opportunities for those who want to go that bit further.
Look into the startups in this space. Investment in Mobility is at record levels and it's not just because of the great products and services, it’s because of the way these young companies are approaching the problems and challenges.
Look at these companies, meet them, see what they are doing. Let them inspire you. Look at the thought leaders in the Mobility as a Service and Mobility as an Industry space, meet them, learn from them. Embrace the content that is out there in this sector; the blog posts, the events, the videos. Immerse yourself even deeper into the world of mobility and continue to challenge your ideas with new ones. You can always up your game.
Start your innovation journey on the iCabbi Marketplace.