Driver loyalty has always been a tricky issue for minicab dispatch and private hire fleets. You might have the fairest rates and the best working conditions in town, but if you’re unable to send enough work to the drivers, they will soon be looking elsewhere for a dispatcher who can. Unless your drivers work on a fixed, full-time employed basis (which is still quite rare in the industry), the value and amount of jobs they can do within a shift is the key factor that will keep them satisfied.
A few years ago, the options for cab drivers to choose from were limited to however many Private Hire Operators were in the area. Those fleets with the best-known brand and reputation could afford to be picky with their driver standards, and insisted on only the best quality. Today, the entire landscape has changed; US companies like Lyft, Sidecar and Uber enable anyone with a decent car and a clean licence to become a professional driver. Long gone are the days when you have to pay $500,000 for an NYC taxi medallion or spend 3 years training for ‘the knowledge’ to get yourself a Hackney Cab. Private Driver apps such as these don’t require any qualifications, they offer fixed fees and flexible working hours – which is why so many professional drivers have decided to jump ship, quitting their contracts with cab dispatchers and signing up to Uber & co.
Are the Glory Days Over for Minicab Dispatch?
It’s no secret that Uber has a colossal marketing budget, an enormous driver network and top user-experience. So how can you convince your drivers not to be seduced? Upgrading your minicab dispatch technology is the first step; that’s why we’re always harping on about the importance of keeping your systems up to date! But when it comes to getting enough bookings to keep your drivers happy, here are a few suggestions.
- Sign Up to a Virtual Fleet Aggregator
It’s very unlikely that your fleet alone has enough drivers to cover the whole area, or has enough budget for serious marketing. By joining up as a supplier with an aggregator like Kabbee in London or Flywheel in the USA, you can get additional and overflow bookings sent to you, which you pass on to your drivers. The aggregator takes care of the brand and marketing; all you need to do is provide a great service.
- Increase Your Booking Channels
Still only taking bookings over the phone? No wonder your leads are drying up. It is the 21st century, after all! Make sure you have an attractive, easy to use website where your clients can book a journey, along with apps for iPhone and Android (T Dispatch provides all these, by the way. Or we can integrate with your existing website). Sign up to free or low-cost Business Directories, be open to integration with lead generators. The more ways customers can reach you, the wider you can cast the net.
- Go for the Corporate Accounts
Tourists and non-regular cab users are always more likely to hail a taxi in the street – or these days, use an app to e-hail. Cost and convenience are the key drivers for them. But corporate accounts generally have different priorities; they are looking for a professional, reliable service, where they can build a long-standing relationship with one passenger transport provider. That’s where you come in! Rather than spending money targeting the individual, go for mid-sized companies who will bring the individuals to you.