Five ways that taxi & private-hire vehicle firms can use SMS marketing to overtake competitors.
The UK sector for taxi and private-hire vehicles is going through somewhat of a revolutionary period due to increased external competition and rising customer demands. Traditional taxi services now find themselves competing with new ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft for a share of the market. The good news is that despite these challenges, industry revenue in the UK is projected to rise through 2018-19 and
will reach £9.7 billion. Whilst this is great news for taxi and private-hire firms, it is still important to remain competitive and ensure that great customer service is provided. One strategy that can help you in accomplishing this is by using SMS marketing to communicate with both customers and drivers.
SMS marketing presents a great opportunity for taxi and private-hire firms because it should be easily achievable to build up a large contact list. This is because existing customer mobile numbers will potentially be held on record already, whilst new customers would have to call on a mobile (sometimes landline) in order to book a cab for the first time. Therefore, allowing you to add mobile numbers to your database every time new customers call. Furthermore, SMS marketing allows you to provide high-quality customer service that competes with disruptive ride-hailing companies that have savvy apps and use smartphone push notifications to communicate. Recent survey findings state that
nine out of ten people want to talk to brands using SMS, showing high demand for the service. Let’s look at some ways in which SMS can be used by taxi and private-hire firms:
1 - Dispatch & Arrival
One way that SMS marketing can be used by taxi and private-hire firms is to text customers when their cab has been dispatched and then again once it arrives. Whilst this may seem like a simple gesture, it allows customers to utilise their time without having to stand near their door waiting for their driver to arrive, which goes a long way in improving customer service. Furthermore, it will also save time for the driver as the time between the driver and the passenger entering the car should reduce. You can even go one step further by texting your customers after their ride with an expected fare and state that they should contact you if it was higher than anticipated.
2 - Bookings
Another way to incorporate SMS marketing is by allowing customers to send inbound texts to book a ride. This would mean that customers no longer need to call your customer service number but instead allows them to book a taxi without having to speak to someone. This service could potentially be very popular, due to the changing communication preferences of consumers. Recent studies by 02 show that “telephone” apps that make actual phone calls are
only the fifth most used type of app on smartphones across the general public. Therefore, providing the option to “book by text” could go a long way in increasing customer satisfaction, particularly for the Millennial generation.
3 - Promotions
SMS marketing can also be used to send discounts and promotional offers to customers. Although discounted services in the taxi and private-hire sector is not something that we see on a frequent basis, it is still worth consideration for businesses in the sector. This is because ride-hailing companies, such as Uber, are attempting to lure away customers by offering discounts for things like first time rides or friend referrals. With many consumers now searching for promotional offers before committing to a service, now could be a great time to get creative and use discounts and promotions to attract customers.
4 - Communicate with drivers
A great benefit of using SMS is that it can also be used to communicate internally with employees, meaning that you can keep drivers updated on various topics that are deemed necessary. This can be advantageous because it means that each driver no longer needs to be spoken to individually, saving significant time. One way in which you could communicate with drivers using SMS is to send out requests for drivers. This is perfect if you have a shortage one night. You could also use SMS to inform drivers of accidents that may affect routes or any urgent company updates or news.
5 – Utilise key events
Our last suggestion on how to incorporate SMS marketing is by utilising key events. This is another concept which is not seen too often but could be very successful if used correctly. Whilst it is important to remember that not all days or events would be applicable, certain major events across the year can be taken advantage of dependent upon consumer demand. For example, sending a reminder text out to all customers during the run-up to Christmas could generate leads. Another option would be to send out text messages to customers in a specific region when an event occurs, such as a music festival. Here are some key
events in 2019 to be aware of.