Operations

Ask Your Customers: “Is It EASY To Do Business With Me?”

(Pexels.com Creative Commons photo from Mohi Syed)
(Pexels.com Creative Commons photo from Mohi Syed)
We spend a lot of time focused on Uber — and it’s important to follow them and stay on their compliance tail. However, whether Uber stays or goes does not matter. They have successfully changed consumer expectations of for-hire transportation. Until the next best thing, the Uber “technology” sets the bar for bookings.

At last year’s International LCT Show, I opened the State of the Industry presentation by saying, “Arrogance is a formula for leadership failure. The history books are filled with fallen companies run amok by arrogant leadership. While Travis Kalanick waits for a world of driverless vehicles, he still has to survive the road to getting there. And that is one bumpy road.”

This hasn’t changed much from a year ago. Uber’s background checks for drivers are still under serious scrutiny and more people don’t feel safe using them. So the drum beat continues; keep fighting the unfairness of TNC commerce in your markets. But don’t lose sight; you have a company to run!

2017 Outlook
All industry revenue markers for this year are positive. So what’s stopping us from fully cashing in? Only our own mindsets. And, to be honest with all of you, our industry is maybe a little bit too crowded.

Just after the worst of the Great Recession in 2010, we had fewer than 6,000 operators. Fast forward to today, there are more than 11,000. Because this is an easy-entry market, it continues on a cycle of expanding and contracting. When the pie slices get smaller because of increased competition, everyone makes less money. There comes a point when consolidation is necessary. This presents loss and opportunity at the same time. Companies that want to stay in the game, who want to enjoy the upswing that comes AFTER a contraction, have no choice but to invest in their infrastructure. Those too “pooped out” can sell, merge, pass the reigns over to a next generation relative, or shut the doors. And that’s all OK — it’s part of our business ecosystem.

If you want to stay in the game, you need to make sure of one thing: Make all things EASY on your customers. That’s the secret sauce and the ONE thing Uber did that revolutionized for-hire transportation. THEY MADE IT EASY. Did they invent for-hire service? No. But from the outside looking in, they were able to identify a clunky system for logistics that was DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH.

So an outsider, who has no predisposed beliefs on how things work inside the hail world, comes along and says, “What If?” What if the experience was EASY? What if we figured out a way to remove all the pain points and make for-hire transportation actually enjoyable, starting with EASY?

The two most crucial aspects of your business are the booking and the ride. Uber’s technology has created a mind shift in the consumer. They love EASY and the Uber booking app presents it. Whether or not your client has come out and said it is irrelevant. The Uber app is a painless experience when booking a ride and people love that EASE. So, replicate it.

As part of your commitment to technology, you need to use it to gather immediate/real time client feedback — an essential practice to ensure your client feels the love and your intel pinpoints their impressions of your service and your brand. The other big beef the business travel community has with this industry is, they claim, outside of getting contracts signed or renewed, they never hear from you throughout the year. That creates a void in your relationships. So start here and work outward from your personal clients to your affiliate connections, strategic alliances, and to new business leads that can come from all of this.

The revenue outlooks into 2017 are excellent. So there’s much to look forward to. Be excited for things to come that will make your business easier to run and more fun…and more profitable!

Related Topics: building your clientele, business growth, ILCT 2017, reservations, reservations management, Sara Eastwood-Richardson, smartphone reservations, state of industry, staying competitive

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