What is Dispatch System Automation and Why Do We Need It?
18th April 2019
Automation is talked about a lot these days. From industrial processes, to food production and service, to cars and logistics. It’s everywhere.
That’s true about taxi dispatch systems too. Nearly all the top systems, like iCabbi, include automation features designed to help your business give your customers features they love, while saving you money.
But what are all these features? And how exactly do they help your business?
Let’s take a closer look, starting with the features themselves…
- Customer App
A customer app, or passenger app is perhaps the most powerful element of taxi dispatch automation.Your customers download it onto their smartphone, and it provides them with a whole world of great features, starting with the ability to make a booking with your firm with a few swipes on their screen.They can then track their taxi on screen, make a call to speak directly with the driver and even pay, all through the app.A good taxi dispatch system will provide you with a fully customised app that has your branding on it, is yours to own and is available for both Android and iOS users.
- Driver App
A great driver app provides an essential link between your dispatch system, your customers 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, helping to keep them busy, happy, and loyal to your firm.
- IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
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 automatically ‘talk’ to your customers.
How Interactive Voice Response (IVR) works…
• When a customer calls your 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 totally eliminate lost calls.
• With a great system like iCabbi, customers are given the option to speak with an operator – on EVERY call. This means that your customers get to choose whether they want to speak to your dispatcher, or complete the call using your automation.
• Any of your customers can opt-out of IVR at any time – and the next time they ring they automatically go through to an operator.
- Web Booker
Easily integrated into your website, your Web Booker allows your customers to book directly from their desktop computer, laptop, tablet or even smartphone (if they don’t yet have your customer app).Bookings go directly into your dispatch system, and your customers can manage their bookings through the web booker as well. For example, the iCabbi web booker will enable them to track their taxi right to the collection point.
- ABOP (Automatic Back On Phone)
ABOP allows your customers who call back after making a booking (or even when it’s in progress) to be automatically given up-to-the-moment information such as the driver’s name, vehicle details and wait time.This helps significantly reduce the need for an operator to handle such enquires and more importantly, your customers will love having this ‘real-time’ technology to keep them up-to-date, making you more likely to win and keep their business.
The Benefits of Automation
Having explained what the automated features are that you’re likely to have access to in a modern, app based dispatch system, now let’s look at what those features could mean to your business…
- Cost Savings
When you move to an automated system, you’ll save significant money in reduced staffing requirements and man hours spent manually handling bookings.That’s because it helps streamline your business so that bookings come in and are allocated faster and more efficiently. Likewise, during peak hours, an automated system ensures that no calls are missed by busy staff.
- More Business
Utilising the automation features such as a web booker, customer app and IVR system, really can help your taxi business make more money.
Winning new customers – with smartphones so widely used these days, many of your customers will want to book using a customer app. By offering one, you’ll win and keep more of those customers, bringing in more money.
Defending your current customers – this one is simple. If you don’t provide the right tools for your customers, they could start using another taxi business that does. Offering automated ways to book means you can defend your customers and protect your profits.
- Happier, More Loyal Drivers
There’s nothing worse than having a high driver turnover rate. It’s time consuming, unsettling for your core drivers and just an all-round hassle you could do without.Introducing automation helps you keep your drivers happy and settled in many ways, meaning you stay busy and profitable.
Automated Assignment – Ensures your drivers know they are being treated fairly and that everyone gets a share of the lucrative jobs
Automated Dispatch – Reduces the aggravation of dead mileage by getting bookings to the right driver
Reliable GPS – Gets your drivers to the exact location of their passenger on time and without loss of signal or strange directions that cause stressful delays.
Nothing to Fear…
Automation is often viewed with some scepticism and in some cases there’s a real fear that automation will have a negative impact on a business, or that their customers simply won’t use it.
However, the truth is that automation, implemented correctly and fully embraced by your staff, can bring significant benefits to your business that deliver increases to your bottom line.
Take a fully branded customer app as an example. In use, 46% of iCabbi customers book with the customer app, IVR or web booker, rather than speaking to an operator.
That’s a whole lot of customers you could be missing out on by not offering an app for them to book with, and a significant amount of time saved by not handling those booking manually.
What about utilising an IVR? iCabbi customers have found that 90% of ‘back on the phone customers’ are happy with this experience and don’t need to speak to an operator.
That’s a huge efficiency gain for you and a great service for your customers, all of which help you cut costs and handle more business.
So, if you’d like to know more about automating your business with iCabbi, please contact our friendly team of expert advisers any time, by calling 01623 44 22 11 or sending us an email.