How to survive in 2020: a guide for taxi companies

This is March of 2020, the time when the coronavirus hit the whole planet badly. Unfortunately, it’s not only the problem of healthcare, now it’s the problem of economics as well. 

So here it is, here is the crisis. The main question many people including owners of taxi and ride-hailing companies ask is how to survive.

The Onde team is concerned about the future, too. But there’s no time to panic — so we’ve decided to share with you a few tips on how to overcome the crisis.

1. Services diversification

People are now limited in their movements around the city, but their needs stay the same: goods from retail stores, lunch from restaurants, medicines from a pharmacy and even door-to-door delivery of things like documents, keys, home-made pies for grandma and others. Providing courier services in addition to ride-hailing is a smart thing to do now.

Onde does not have delivery functionality yet, but we are here to offer you some workarounds — at least for this crazy time.

Option 1: partner access to your Dispatch Panel

Discuss partnerships with local companies. Literally any business now is interested in selling their products as they’re also in a tough situation and struggle with having less clients. Team up with restaurants, retail stores, pharmacies.

Here’s how partner access to your Dispatch Panel works:

  • A customer makes an order at the restaurant/shop by phone or online
  • The restaurant/store books a ride/delivery and then includes the ride cost into the final bill for the customer.

You can work with delivery companies and huge online shops, too. Their fleet is overloaded during this crunch time. When you give them partner access to your services, they will be able to use your fleet, too.

Want to know more about ways to diversify your business with partner access? Read this article. Discuss with your potential partners how to make it work most efficiently.

Option 2: courier service

Another way is to get the delivery done is to check the opportunities to deliver orders from offline retail, online shops, restaurants, pharmacies (if it’s allowed in your country).

  • A customer makes an order from a company (a restaurant, shop, pharmacy, etc) directly and pays online.
  • When the order is ready, the customer books a ride with a pickup and drop off locations (where to pick up the order and where to deliver it).
  • Comments to the booking with the order details will help to avoid misunderstandings. Drivers should know what exactly they’re to pick up: guide your drivers and customers.

This is the simplest way for a customer to get a door-to-door delivery of anything, from documents to medicines. They’ll just need to book a ride and specify the package composition in the comments. For your drivers, this is a safe way to earn extra money without engaging in close human contact.

Potential problems & trouble-shooting

  • A customer may claim he asked to deliver a diamond, while he gave the driver an empty box. Adding comments to the booking helps solve this problem.

  • A customer doesn’t specify the package composition, enabling fraud. The easiest way to solve this is to explicitly tell customers you won’t deliver orders without comments.

  • A customer wishes to deliver illegal supplies. Cancel orders that have to do with illegal practices.

A driver can be subscribed to only one driver plan. In this case, if you decide delivery fees will differ from those for taxi services, it’s not possible to set it up for the same driver. We recommend you to create a separate driver plan “Delivery” and subscribe at least some of your drivers for it.

2. Social responsibility

Pandemic is the best chance to show how your business is socially responsible. Yes, it takes time and money — but we’re all in this, we need to help each other and the vulnerable social groups. The pandemic will be over, and then people will remember you as a company who does care — and they will be more loyal to you.

Think of how you can contribute to the struggle against our common enemy, the virus. First of all, take all possible measures to ensure rides safety. If public transport is popular in your country, emphasize your services’ safety as compared to crowded buses or trains. Push notifications and ad campaigns in social media will deliver the message to your riders and prospects.

Express your active social position and prove the brand image to be socially responsible and trustworthy. Offering your transportation support to local medical staff is a helpful thing to do. Delivering free lunches to the elderly, masks and equipment to the hospitals, food to the food banks, or helping NGOs that work with vulnerable groups — these are just some ideas. Depending on the local context, there are many other possibilities to help.

3. Provide jobs

Crises always leave people out of jobs. At the same time, you may lose some drivers because they are scared of getting infected. If taxi services are not banned in your area, hire people who were fired and have cars and driving licenses. You help them in this critical situation, and they help you.

4. Check government programs

In many countries, governments create anti-crisis plans. Together with banks, they provide special terms for loans, tax exemptions and other concessions for small businesses. Don’t hesitate to check if it’s available in your region for your company. If it helps a bit that’s already good.

5. Go online

Ask your users to go online and make orders via applications. You can save costs on offices and calls. Provide discounts for online orders. Online activity helps to cut costs significantly. While in some regions, it’s not that easy to set everything online, at least review your offline activities and try to reduce them.

6. Get ready and learn

A crisis is the best time to work hard. It’s not the time to sit at home philosophizing your failures or orders decrease. It’s time to be antifragile and do as much as you can to get ready for the new start.

Compare this with a big leap. Now you need to group to jump as far and high as you can.

So learn as much as you can. Read the business books and articles you were postoning to read, follow the courses, embrace the change that comes with learning. You can find solutions in areas not related to transportation.

Be creative. Think. Imagine. Act.

7. Entertain

People are sad and scared right now. The future is uncertain. Distraction, kindness, and positive emotions are what people seek these days. How can you entertain people while they’re on the road? No need to spend a lot here, a few stickers in your cars giving people compliments or saying something nice will do, will make your clients smile.

Don’t forget about your drivers. Cheer them up every day, don’t let them be scared. Provide good care for them, let them know that you are here for them, that you are doing all you can to save their jobs, salaries, and health.

Remember: crises come and go, but you stay strong, positive and move forward as long as you can. Use all the opportunities you have, never give up. The Onde team has your back.

Need advice on how to operate these days? Please send us a message to marketing@onde.app or contact your account manager. We’re always there to schedule a call and discuss what we can do for you.

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