As part of our series looking at the differences between online and traditional taxi operations, this article focuses on dealing with taxi booking requests made online (via website or app) and how responding to those requests in good time is key!
It is easy to assume that an online system can do absolutely everything automatically. This is wrong – online is just another way your customer can contact, order or buy from you. You should expect to expend a similar amount of energy on it as any other point of contact with customers, though typically it provides a means to streamline the process and shorten interaction with staff, freeing them to do more.
However, in order for online taxi booking to be successful and not a burden – inhibited by many dud or false enquiries – a sensible process must be put in place. In fact, this should mimic your other booking processes, except instead of receiving the booking by phone, with TaxiMap, it comes in by email, SMS text message or on the website.
The TaxiMap Booking Process Diagram (left) shows how our process is intended to function.
Online Pitfalls & Benefits: Customer Confidence
As you can see from the diagram, the customer can cancel the booking and, because this is an online process, the customer may well do this. One of the benefits of TaxiMap’s online booking and price calculator is that you may well pick up additional customers:- i.e. out of hours customers, foreign customers who can’t telephone (due to language, timezone or charging issues), or those who don’t leave your site to book with one of your competitors. TaxiMap provides a usable and attractive interface giving just the right amount of information to inspire confidence in the customer. But, by the same token, customers get the impression that, because it is online, they can just fill out a booking and see what happens. The feeling is that it is not a commitment they must stick to.
The answer: Responsiveness
If you respond quickly to all bookings, either with further information or confirmation and driver details you will radically reduce the risk of the customer cancelling and booking with another taxi firm.
Here are some tips to achieving this:
- Create a process for handling online bookings and have someone take responsibility for dealing with them
- Make sure you/your staff are adequately notified (by SMS or email) when bookings come in
- Respond quickly using TaxiMap’s built in confirmation systems. (You can send out pre-formatted taxi confirmation info at the click of a button.)
- Consider all online enquiries as leads and be prepared to followup by other means such as by phone.
If you can do all or at least some of these, your customer will feel confident you’ll be there to pick them up at the right time and place.