Uber’s story is well known – the company shot to fame in 2012, following a soft launch in London and a swiftly executed PR campaign. In what felt like an overnight surge, the app started to win over thousands of customers in major UK towns and cities. It quickly became a popular method of travel due to its ease of use.
As a technology company first and foremost, and a transport business second, the resulting clashes with the ‘traditional’ industry have perhaps not come as a surprise. Safe to say that the taxi industry has had a fight or two on its hands in trying to ensure it can fairly compete with Uber.
Despite Uber’s appealing service offering, it’s far from perfect – both from a driver and customer perspective. So, what should you say to your next customer who asks what you think about Uber, and whether they should use it?
Different reasons will strike a chord with different people, but here are five main reasons you can lead with when you next get the chance.
1. LESS SUPPORT FOR YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY
While thousands now drive under the Uber banner, the technology company is technically supported by an army of freelancers. This means that Uber will never be a reliable employer in the local community, as it is unable to offer the same employment rights as a traditional taxi company. There’s your first argument in a nutshell.
2. YOU CAN’T USE IT EVERYWHERE
Uber’s strategy has always been focused on high-profit, urban areas which present the best opportunities for converting customers and drivers quickly. Of courrse, the result of this approach means that there are plenty of locations across the UK which aren’t catered for by the ride-hailing app. Residents in many areas will never have had the option of ordering an Uber from their home. Add to this the fact that customers can now use a single app, provided by their local taxi company, to order a cab virtually anywhere in the country, and then Uber does start to lose its appeal. An app that can help you get about wherever you are, seems like a better option. The iGo network, powered by its ready to use white-label app and job-sharing capabilities, really is a game-changer for local firms in this respect.
3. UBER CAN’T DEAL WITH TRIP COMPLEXITY
It goes without saying that most taxi companies have spent years building and maintaining longterm relationships in their local communities. Aside from customers who will defer to their preferred taxi provider every time
they need a ride, there are many customer relationships that are much more than a one-off. From children with special needs who need to be picked up and taken to school every day, to corporate hotel partners who will always send work your way – customer relationships are at the heart of the service taxis provide. Uber simply can’t cater to this trip complexity. Long-term relationships and agreements can never be established when every ride is provided by a different driver.
4. INCENTIVES DON’T LAST LONG
We’re all aware of Uber’s strategy now. Low journey prices and incentives provided for new customers and drivers to sign up – with the end goal being to flood the market. This strategy only works for so long, however. Once
customers realise that their local taxi firm can offer an equally good service with the same technology as Uber, opinions about the ride-hailing giant using may start to change.
5. LOCAL TAXIS ARE BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
The future of travel will involve multiple modes of transport working together and sharing data to provide customers with a single point of contact. The traditional taxi industry is perfectly suited to start this conversation with other transport providers with the vast knowledge it has of customer journeys across our towns and cities. As data is being gathered by firms up and down the country, that’s a wealth of information just waiting to be tapped into by transport planners.
So if your customer starts questioning whether they should be using Uber, you now have all the information you need to explain why booking via a local taxi firm is the better option.
As first seen in the August edition of PHTM, pg 30. Linked here.