Great Ways to Keep Your Drivers Happy and Lock Them In…

Let’s get one thing clear up front, keeping your drivers happy doesn’t mean capitulating to their every wish and whim.

After all, you need to keep drivers – but it’s equally important not to let them ‘take over’.

When it’s so easy for drivers to move to another firm (or even Uber) if they get annoyed with you it can be easy to give in to their demands.

But if you’re not firm you can easily end up slowly but surely handing over control of your business to your drivers.

So, how do you keep your drivers happy and lock them into your firm – without losing control?

Here are our top tips…

Be Fair and Be SEEN to be Fair

One thing that quickly gets your drivers backs up is if they suspect that they are missing out on their fair share of the best jobs.

If they suspect that you or your controllers are channelling the best jobs to a few favoured drivers, or even worse to ‘grabbers’ (those drivers who just hang around waiting for the big jobs to come in) then they’ll soon be looking for alternative employment.

Unfortunately, this can mean that you end up losing your best drivers, the real grafters – the ones that are prepared to take on every job whether it’s for £4, £12 or £110.

Ensuring all your drivers get an equal opportunity to drive the high-earning jobs earns you a reputation as a fair employer and it keeps drivers happy and loyal.

Whether you assign journeys manually or via an automated system (where the software does it for you), make sure that your controllers aren’t favouring some drivers over others and ensure that drivers know that they are being treated fairly.

The big advantage of using a dispatch system like iCabbi is that the system does this automatically, so you can demonstrate to drivers that work is allocated fairly by the software with no favouritism.

Keep Them Busy – Your Marketing

Busy drivers, with a ‘fair share’ of the work are happy drivers.

That means you need to keep the work flowing and to stay one step ahead of your competitors with how you promote your business.

While word-of-mouth is a great way to win work and to grow your business, in a busy and competitive market it’s often not enough alone to keep the work flowing.

We notice that the most successful taxi businesses actively promote themselves with lots of simple, low cost (and proven) marketing techniques.

Here are some marketing ideas that we see working day in, day out for businesses like yours…

  • Flyers – yes, very old fashioned, but simple flyers distributed through local hotels, pubs, local businesses and at other hot spots are an effective way to keep the phone ringing.
  • Beer Mats – effectively a mini flyer, but right under your potential customers nose – another great way to get more bookings.
  • Bus Stop Shelter Posters – on a cold rainy night, waiting for the bus soon loses its appeal, your poster will get customers who need a taxi on the phone or using your app.
  • Email – some well targeted emails to your best customers at the right time can generate great bookings, for example promoting airport transfers in the lead up to school holiday periods and over the summer holidays can generate lots of high earning work.
  • Website – as a local company, your website can be a key tool for new (and old) customers to find you. A simple, attractive and well designed marketing website gives you a marketing advantage, especially when you incorporate your iCabbi web booker into the website.
  • Social Media – you can promote special offers and discounts to specific audiences (such as students) to attract bookings around specific times of the week and special events.

Keep Them Busy – Customer App and Automation

Today more and more customers are experiencing an automated booking service either via a customer app (often with Uber), a web booker or an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system.

Whilst some customers don’t like apps and automated phone systems, the reality is that many do.

That’s one of the key reasons that Uber is growing so quickly – the plain truth is that some people really like the app experience, they find it incredibly simple, easy and fast to use.

You need to provide a similar experience to keep pace with the market and to keep your drivers busy.

The good news for you is that utilising ‘Uber-like’ technology such as iCabbi helps keep your drivers busy and happy by allowing you to offer your customers as many ways as possible of booking with you -phone, app, website and automated phone system.

The more ways to book that you offer, the broader the appeal of your business will be to different groups of customers – and more work will flow your way.

This is one of the main reasons why businesses with iCabbi are growing businesses.

And when your drivers see the extra work that flows from automation – it helps to keep them happy and to lock them in to your business.

Price Surcharging – Help Your Drivers Make More Money

Whilst money isn’t the only thing that keeps your drivers happy, it’s certainly a big factor.

As we discussed in a recent article on Surge Pricing, one thing that apps like Uber have done is to introduce and trial the idea of surge pricing or pricing surcharges during peak times.

While they have applied Surge Pricing aggressively and have been hit (deservedly) with some bad press about it by increasing charges automatically during disasters, they have opened the door to local taxi businesses like yours to use a modest surcharge at peak (and unsociable) times to increase income and earnings for your drivers.

With a modern booking and dispatch system (like iCabbi) it’s easy to introduce a small surcharge at peak times that you can share with your drivers.

If you apply a booking surcharge of £2 per booking to each job on a Saturday night between 6pm and 2am, a driver doing 3 jobs an hour will earn an extra £48 during their 8-hour shift.

Testing has shown that customers don’t mind a small increase at the busy and unsociable times.

This could mean an extra £100 or even £200 per month for your drivers – that will make them happy and helps to keep them locked in!

Using Great Technology

Time and time again when we speak to taxi company owners and managers, we hear that their outdated dispatch systems are a major cause of upset among their drivers.

Poor and out of date GPS, slow interfaces and inefficient dispatch (resulting in dead miles) are some of the big issues.

These can all be solved when you use the best and most up to date dispatch systems (such as iCabbi).

When your dispatch system works well, your drivers can perform better.

For example, fast and accurate GPS with the latest and most up to date maps means that pickups are straightforward. Real time updates on pickup location changes (if your customer moves to a different location) are another good example.

Sticking with an old, outdated or inefficient system can be costing you dearly – not just in aggravation with your drivers (and as a cause of driver loss) but with your customers and office staff as well.

In addition, with a great system your customers will notice that your cars always arrive on time, and they’ll notice that they get where they want to go without frustrating delays … and they’ll choose you again, which generates more work and makes for happier drivers.

Keeping Drivers Happy and “Locked In”

At the end of the day, drivers want to drive for a successful, profitable firm where they are respected, treated fairly and where their earning potential is high.

Striving to be the best company to work for might take a bit more work, you may have to take some decisions about investing in technology and your marketing, AND you’ll have to be firm about how you remain in control as you set (and enforce) your high expectations.

But, it will create happier and more loyal drivers who like working for you, who keep your customers happy and your business profitable and growing.

To discover how you can recruit and retain more high quality drivers, request our free guide – “How to Recruit and Retain More Drivers – The Top 10 Things You Need to Know” by clicking here.

If you have any questions or need more information you can speak to one of the iCabbi UK team based in our Mansfield office. You can call us on 01623 44 22 11 or email enquiries@iCabbiUK.co.uk. Our friendly team are here to help and support you.