Software-powered convenience is becoming the standard for customers in almost any industry. With the rise of connected technologies, the business of transportation is changing. Anyone with a smartphone has the power to instantly start the process of moving things from A to B. They can tap a button and transport items from Amazon warehouses to their homes, tap a button and receive a pizza 30 minutes later or tap a button to book a crew and van to move to a new home. And most importantly, with one tap of a button they can request to transport themselves, via yellow cabs, black limousines, pooled shuttles or even helicopters.
Meeting these new customer expectations with the right software is quickly becoming an important competitive advantage and taxi businesses nowadays have to constantly evolve to keep up. However the goal of professional software isn’t just to enrich the everyday life of end-customers – the right software increases a taxi business’s overall efficiency, along with increasing convenience and ease of use for drivers and dispatchers and new opportunities for marketing teams.
Nowadays the modern taxi journey looks like this: With mobile-first booking through smartphone apps, customers can easily select their current location as their pick-up address and select their destination directly on a map. New bookings are then instantly transferred to available taxi drivers through automation-assisted cloud dispatching software and apps for drivers, which reduces the response time to seconds. At the end of the journey, digital technology allows for safe and quick payments that don’t require customers to carry around cash and that make automating the billing process easy. Here are some important factors to look out for when choosing software for your taxi business.
A seamless and modern customer experience
Every taxi-driver knows that it takes attention to details to provide a positive experience to their passengers. The same principle applies to taxi customer apps, which act as the software extension of your business. A great customer experience is achieved by balancing intuitive user interfaces, speed of use and a high reliability of the service throughout every step of the journey, from booking, riding to payment. One way that makes mobile apps excel at providing value to customers is by increasing transparency throughout the whole journey. Customers can see price estimates for their trip before they request a booking, receive live ETAs and even track the arrival of their taxi on a map. This also reduces the amount of customer support that is needed, as customers will have less questions about the current status of their booking.
Customer interfaces for taxi services have to be engineered with care to perform on a wide range of technology outlets, including iPhones and Android smartphones but also a wide range of web browsers for laptops, desktop PCs and tablets. That is why these apps should always be a part of an end-to-end solutions that maintains and updates all mobile and web apps together. Once users have signed up for a service, it’s easier for businesses to maintain a high number of returning customers, by being able to communicate directly with past users through notifications and promotion campaigns with vouchers.
Efficient processes with task automation
In times of digital-first businesses increasing efficiency through smart automation, every business needs to evaluate if the tools that made them successful are able to help unlock the next level of their business. In the past communication via radio was simple and effective, but in an age of digital consumers expecting highly accurate ETAs (which can be provided by location sharing and real-time route calculations) and instant feedback for their booking requests, it takes a different toolkit to enable highly-profitable transportation businesses.
Modern taxi software aims to make the taxi dispatching process as efficient as possible, by reducing response times and possible sources of errors. The most important factors here are increasing the transparency of operations processes, ensuring instant communication between customers, dispatchers and drivers and automating as many repetitive and administrative tasks as possible. By using connected apps and cloud dispatching dashboards, incoming bookings can be instantly matched with the nearest available drivers and invoices are sent out immediately to customers after a booking has ended, while drivers can always access an up to date history of their past completed bookings.
Security and data privacy
It’s important for software providers to understand that it’s their primary responsibility to follow best practices and use the latest technology when it comes to handling the transfer of money and data. Payments via smartphone are rapidly becoming the new standard for taxi passengers, as they are quick, secure and easy without requiring customers to carry around cash. For software providers this means that the reliability of digital payment processes and accounting needs to be guaranteed at all times.
Sensitive customer and business data should be handled with the same care as payments and modern taxi software should therefore be designed around strong data privacy protection and comply with the latest laws, such as GDPR and CCPA. Factors, such as the location of servers and the right data privacy agreements have to be carefully considered, in order to ensure secure payments and customer data.
Flexibility and continuous optimisation
“The only thing that is constant is change itself.” With the dawn of the digital revolution this 2600 year old quote by Heraclitus is more relevant than ever. There are, however, a broad variety of standard software solutions that don’t answer the need of businesses to stay flexible in times of rapidly changing market conditions. Providers of modern taxi software have to update their product regularly, to optimise processes and adapt to new customer demands down the road.
This is why modern technology platforms that are built based on a modular architecture allow taxi businesses to react quickly to changing market conditions and can offer new features in a short amount of time. When selecting the best software provider for your taxi business, another important factor to consider is that the technology solution isn’t a completely closed system, but that it can connect to the growing ecosystem of digital tools which help to scale up business in a sustainable way. Component based solutions also provide taxi businesses with the freedom to expand their offering by building and launching additional services and expanding to new markets.
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As customer expectations have changed, taxi software has also evolved to accommodate them and to provide efficient processes for customers, operators and drivers. The often quoted tap of a button that allows customers to book a taxi is only the tip of an iceberg, as there are hundreds of processes that happen before and after the order is placed. When implemented the right way, taxi software makes your business fast and frictionless. Just what you would expect from a quality taxi ride.
Explore the benefits that M-TOOLS offers taxi businesses here.