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How to beat Uber


Uber is making serious in-roads … first in the USA, and now in the UK.

Offering a fast, flexible service, accessed from the user’s mobile phone, tablet or laptop, Uber is striking with crazy deals, including free cabs for referrals.

On the face of it, it might seem that Uber will completely destroy local taxi firms, but…

The arrival of Uber doesn’t have to signal the death-knell of the independent operator.

Surviving and thriving in the face of this new challenger means finding the chinks in its armour and exploiting them.

It means playing to your strengths in areas where they can’t compete and matching what they are good at.

With the right effort (and with iCabbi) it’s easier than you may think.

Here are our top tips for Uber-proofing your taxi business and forging a path ahead while others may fall by the wayside…

1. Keep it Personal

Let’s go with the low-tech strategies first.

One thing Uber simply can’t do is to provide a really personal service. It’s a top consideration for many of your customers, and it might mean more to them than you think.

Offering your customers a truly personal experience doesn’t just mean knowing their name and their typical journeys (although being familiar with your regular travellers is certainly a great asset that will already put you a step ahead of Uber!).

It also means that your customers ‘know’ you.

As a local firm, you are in the powerful position of being able to build that personal relationship with your customers. They know your drivers, and that your cars are always timely, comfortable and clean (they are, aren’t they?).

The arrival of Uber might mean that you need to up your game in terms of the personal service you offer … but it’s one battle that Uber just can’t win, as long as you’re doing it right.

These personal service examples might sound like simple common sense, but they are hugely important to your customers…

  • Always addressing your customers by their name
  • Promptly returning items that customers may accidentally leave in your cars
  • Easily allowing your customers to change a part of a booked journey, such as the time or adding a drop off
  • The familiarity with the driver who performs their regular booking.

2. Fight Tech with Tech

For some of your customers, it’s all about convenience – and that’s where Uber is cashing in.

But today it’s easier than ever for you to level that playing field – and with iCabbi you have some great tools that you can use to do the job.

Perhaps the most powerful of these is your customer “app”.

Giving customers the freedom to book with your firm using your customer app can go a long way towards winning (and keeping) customers.

While you personally may feel that your customers ‘don’t like apps’ and that they “prefer personal contact” – the stats show that when a local cab firm gives their customers the option 20% to 30% of customers quickly decide that using the app is what they prefer.

If you don’t give your customer the choice, someone else will.

And the solution that your customer turns to is highly likely to be Uber.

Fortunately, with iCabbi you have a feature rich, fully integrated customer app branded with your own business name and logo – so you have the tools to compete and win.

So the message is clear – you can defend your business against Uber (and keep your customers happy) with your iCabbi customer app.

3. The Personal Touch & Technology Combined

Of course, many people still book taxis by phone (at least, for now!).

But the way that the telephone is being used is fast changing.

When once the only option was the ability to talk to your operator, now customers can choose between an operator or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) allowing the system to ‘talk’ to your customers.

Fact: 46% of iCabbi customers book with the customer app, IVR or web booker.

Despite how much we may think our customers love to talk to us and our operators, the facts prove that a very high percentage choose to use IVR, even when they have the option to speak to a real person.

Don’t bury your head in the sand!

Fortunately for you, iCabbi gives you another way to beat Uber by offering operator, IVR or app bookings.

The more ways your customers can book a cab with your firm, the more customers you are likely to keep (and win).

How Interactive Voice Response (IVR) works…

  • When a customer calls our firm and the system recognises their number, IVR automatically offers them collection from their top 3 pick-up points.
  • IVR can answer unlimited calls simultaneously – meaning your business takes more bookings and can completely eliminate lost calls.
  • Customers are always given the option to speak with an operator – on EVERY call (this is so important – remember your personal touch mentioned above?)
  • Any customer can opt-out of IVR at any time – and the next time they ring they automatically go through to an operator.

4. Impress Your Customers

Uber may look “new and shiny” – and the technology is impressive.

But, with iCabbi you easily can be highly impressive as well, and in more ways than they can.

With iCabbi you already have a great customer app, IVR and web booker, which gives you the tools to defend your business against Uber.

And you can also compete with iCabbi features like ABOP (Automatic Back On Phone) which means that customers who call back after making a booking (and when it’s in progress) are automatically given up-to-the-moment information such as the driver’s name, vehicle details and wait time.

Stats show that over 90% of ‘back on the phone customers’ receive this information this way and don’t need to speak to an operator. This is a huge efficiency gain for you and an amazing experience for your customers.

So, with iCabbi you have the ability to impress your customers with the latest technology and features too.

These iCabbi technologies make a fantastic impression.

Not only by showing your customers that you’re moving with the times, but by giving them the best of both worlds – impressive technology that your customers love AND the personal touch from your local firm.

Make customers of local Bars, Clubs, Hotels, Restaurants & Workplaces your customers too!

How? Innovation has led to development of services such as Taxi Butler, an ingenious single click device that orders taxis in busy locations such as pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and clubs.

With one click, jobs can go straight into your iCabbi booking and dispatch system. Be ready though, there are more jobs out there than you might think!

In summary, by giving your customers the ability to choose how THEY interact with you – you can be relevant to a much wider customer base.

From those who want to (and will only) use the phone, to those who are prepared to (and want to) use a great customer app, IVR, ABOP and Taxi Butler.

As an iCabbi operator, you be confident that you have the tools, systems and technology to go head-to-head with Uber, and to defend and grow your business.

It’s About Your Drivers Too

The benefits of moving with the times go much further than defending your customer base from Uber.

The sad reality is that drivers are using apps like Uber ‘on the side’.

In our next article we’ll be discussing ways to combat the temptation for your drivers to sign up with Uber. As an iCabbi client there are some very effective, yet simple things you can do to keep your drivers ‘on side’.

Is There a Silver Bullet?

In short, the answer is no.

Uber are ‘buying’ their way into the market and are providing a service that many people like, and your chances of shutting it out of your area are small.

But with iCabbi you can do a lot to keep your business relevant and up to date.

And you can do things that Uber can’t. So you can go head to head with Uber – and WIN!

Combining great personal service with great technology is your secret to success – and we believe that this two-pronged assault could see your business booming, despite Uber’s best endeavours.

If you’d like to discuss any of the points above, please call us now on 01623 44 22 11 or email us on