“My Customers Don’t Like Apps…”

But that shouldn’t stop you from offering a great app.

Because whatever you may personally think, and whatever you may hear – the truth is that some customers will love using an app and some won’t.

Not offering a great passenger app could kill your business.

Here’s why…

It’s all about choice. The more ways you can give your customers to book with you, the more likely they are to use you.

And the reverse is true – if you don’t offer a really good passenger app to the people who really want to use an app, you’ll lose them.

Driver App vs Customer App

But let’s not get confused though. Sometimes the concerns we hear about customer apps are really to do with driver apps.

With that being the case, let’s start by taking a look at both – what they are, how they work and how they can help your business become more efficient and more profitable…

What exactly is a Customer App?

When your customers download your app from the App Store (for iPhone users) or Google Play Store (for Android users), they will be able to book with your firm with a few swipes on their screen.

They can then track their taxi on screen, make a call and speak directly with the driver and even pay, all through the app.

Stats show that when a cab firm gives their customers the option, 20% to 30% of customers quickly decide that using the customer app is what they prefer.

That’s 20-30% of bookings that are easier to process, cheaper to fulfil and, with the right set of features, virtually self-managing.

With some taxi firms seeing up to 75% of all bookings being made through automation, your customer app has a huge role to play.

What Exactly is a Driver App?

Your driver app is the essential link between your dispatch system, your customer app and your drivers.

It means that all the interaction between your dispatch system and your drivers is completed automatically – bookings, GPS data, customer details and payments.

A great driver app is simple to use, has fantastic navigation and makes life much easier for a driver.

The key message here is that utilising ‘Uber-like’ technology with your own great driver app (such as iCabbi) helps keep your drivers busy, efficient and happy.

Now you know the difference between the two apps and what they can bring to your business, let’s look in more detail at the customer app.

Here we’ll help you understand what makes a great customer app so that you choose one that helps your business grow and become more profitable, instead of crippling it…

Good apps vs Bad apps – Customer Experience

Many of your younger customers will love the Uber-like experience that an app like iCabbi can offer.

In fact, if you don’t have a great customer app, there’s a good chance you’ll lose some of those younger customers to firms who do.

But to really get the best from your app, you need to get the right one. One that provides a fantastic customer experience.

Here’s a rundown of the key features and services a really great customer app will offer…

  • Instant Geo-location – When a customer wants to book a cab, they don’t want to hang about. Attention spans and patience are famously short these days! A truly brilliant app will show them exactly where the nearest available taxi is, and how long it will take to reach them.
  • Direct Driver Contact – Now here’s a feature that customers absolutely love. Once a booking has been made (not before), customers can call their driver direct, right from the app. Decided to wait next door out of the rain? Nipped into the supermarket? No problem. Customers can simply let their driver know.
  • Live Tracking – As technology improves, customers are no longer satisfied with a “your cab will be there soon” message. The top customer apps will let your customers watch their cab in real time, right there on their screen. They’ll be able to see precisely how far away the cab is, and exactly how long it will take to arrive.
  • Regular Traveller Benefits – A brilliant app can be a boon for regular travellers as you’ll be able to provide them with ‘e-receipts’ for both cash and card transactions, and they can store their payment details for faster payment processing. They can also store their most-used pick up and drop off points, to make it even faster to book a taxi for those journeys.

Good apps vs Bad apps – Business Experience

Utilising a really great customer app isn’t just about winning new customers and providing more ways to book.

It’s also about streamlining your business. Making it more efficient by reducing wasted driving time, generating new customers and increasing profitability.

But to do all of that, you need to pick the right app. Get it wrong and you could end up crippling your business instead.

Here’s a list of key points you need to be aware of when selecting the right customer app for your business…

  • Apple and Android Compatibility – If you’re considering an app that only works on one system or the other, forget it! Be sure you check with your customer app provider (before you buy) that they offer full functionality on both Apple and Android.
  • White Labelled vs. Branded – Beware of  ‘white labelling’ (or worse still, an app with the developer’s name ahead of yours – they do exist!). You should own the registration of the customer app so that if in the future you change dispatch system providers, it’s simple to migrate your customers to your new app.
  • “Out of Area” Notifications – You know how frustrating a booking from outside your regular patch can be. All those dead miles a driver has to cover. A top-quality app will give you the chance to reject a booking if you don’t think it’s going to be worth your while taking it.
  • Booking Management – Changes to bookings (or cancellations) can be a pain – but by handling them in the app, your drivers can get the updated information faster than ever before, meaning less time is wasted and more time is spent driving profitably!

Make the Right Choice…

Picking a great customer app could be one of the most profitable steps you’ll take for your taxi business.

The right app can save you hours of manual effort, and the value of the positive impression it will give your customers is almost beyond measurement.

Picking a dud could see you drop off the map in next to no time. It’s really that serious.

To find out more about the iCabbi customer app, please call us on 01623 44 22 11 or send us an email and we’ll get back to you.