It’s one thing knowing lots about the taxi industry, taxi drivers and the needs and wants of taxi passengers. It’s another thing knowing how to run an efficient business. If you own or manage a taxi fleet you’ll know that you need both to succeed.
In this article, we’re going to focus on the latter. How can you improve the efficiency of your taxi fleet management? One solution is to free up your headspace by reducing the amount of time you and your team need to spend on administrative tasks. You can do this by employing tools and resources that help you complete bulk actions, automate, streamline and optimise your business.
And there’s good news for all you taxi fleet managers out there who are burdened with the day-to-day necessities of fleet operations. Software. You’re likely already enjoying the benefits of a cloud-based taxi dispatch system, but why not consider employing some of these free, or subscription software services to help run other areas.
As a Customer Success Manager for iCabbi, I get asked all the time about tools that can save fleets time and money or give added value. Here are some of my top picks.
1. Rota Management – Rota Cloud
Traditionally companies managed their staff rota on excel spreadsheets. This can be very restrictive when trying to cover staff failures, holidays and multi-site. Rota cloud offers an online solution that makes the whole process very transparent. Take the spreadsheet pain away and give this a go – I promise you won’t look back.
2. Instant messaging – Slack
Got multiple sites, have lots of people working at home right now, or maybe you outsource call-taking to a call-centre? If you have widely spread staff members then an instant messaging service like Slack will help you all stay in touch. It is far easier than Google chats as you can break people up into different threads according to subject. You can share files, it is searchable, and there’s lots of other fun stuff too – a bit like Whatsapp, but for work. Best of all – it is free! Or at least you can do alot with the free plan.
3. Taxi Dispatch Platform Add-ons – iCabbi Insights
Obviously having a reliable cloud-based dispatch platform like iCabbi is critical to running your taxi business. But, are you getting the most for your platform? Sign-up to iCabbi Insights to get access to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and work with your Customer Success Rep (like me) to glean insights from this data and determine ways to improve the automation and optimisation of your fleet.
4. Corporate Account Management – iCabbi Business Solution
Business accounts can be great business for your fleet. But let’s face it, they take a lot of admin – from managing who can and can’t use the account to monthly invoicing. Would’t it be great if all this admin got taken off your hands…. and likewise wouldn’t your business clients like more control and visibility over their account so they can see trips usage and trends and add in their own controls? That’s what the new iCabbi Business Solution lets you do. If account work is a big part of your business then I would definitely recommend this.
5. Wallboard add ons – Tab Carousel
Many taxi companies use wallboards to monitor performance. You may, for instance, use multiple TVs to display the information you want to access quickly and easily, so you’re not searching each time to find it. This FREE add-on allows you to cycle through the displays in a time-controlled manner.
Marketing & Communications
6. SMS Solutions – SMS Expert
This tool allows you to bulk communicate to customers in an emergency situation. Think about how painful it is, for example, when your sip (i.e VIBE outage) provider let’s you down. The SMS solution will help you reach all your customers with an update in one go.
7. Email Marketing – Mailchimp
Keeping your drivers informed of changes, updates, new accounts, offers and incentives is very important. Mailchimp is a FREE tool that allows you to communicate with and monitor your driver interactions. And, don’t worry, it is very easy to use. You can very quickly customise a template and then just duplicate it and change the text each time you want to send out a communication. It looks better than a standard email, plus you can check to see how many drivers have opened and read your message. It is free for your first 1,000 contacts.
Of course, it is not limited to driver communications. You can use it to target promotions to your local business community or to select lists of passengers.
8. Social media aggregation and automation – Hootsuite
Your taxi company probably uses more than one social media platform. You may market to drivers on Facebook, for example, promote your corporate account offering on LinkedIn, and use Instagram to drum up student passengers. You can use different social media strategies for your taxi company on different platforms… but it gets kind of time-consuming. Social media automation software allows you to manage all your social media accounts in one place. You can schedule and send multiple messages, monitor your accounts and consolidate your reporting.
9. Chat Bot Booking Solution – Qbookr
Add a chatbot to your website to help you manage your price enquiries on the web. The bot service can interact with your customer, quote and book trips. Just another way to automate your bookings and free up staff time dealing with inquiries over the phone.
10. App Downloads Analytics – App Figures
This app allows you to monitor your passenger app downloads by region. This helps you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns so you can do more of what is working, and less of what isn’t.
11. Improve Google Review Ratings – Reviewmaster by Taxi Solutions
If you want to increase your google rating by inviting feedback from those customers who have had a positive experience using your service, Reviewmaster can help, it searches out those ontime bookings and invites positive feedback.
12. Vehicle tracking systems – Blueline Telematics
Vehicle tracking systems track and record the driving style of your driver. Bad driving will be reported by email to both the driver and to you, the operator, thereby helping to improve the overall driving style, reduce the risk of your taxi being in an accident, and related negatives such as being off the road and maintenance costs, not to mention the fact that this promotes passenger safety.
13. Driver Portal – Syolo
Fleets, in general, spend a considerable amount of time managing drivers with payments, document management and queries. The Driver Portal puts all of these friction points onto one simple platform. The driver can log in, make his payment, request a payment, upload his documents, change his vehicle and make a query remotely. It will automatically enable/disable the driver for payment/nonpayment taking a huge amount of admin from your back-end fleet management team.
Another option for streamlining driver payments. Driverspay helps you to automate and manage your driver to office and office to driver payments. This includes both an online solution and a physical lodgement portal.
15. Data Protection & Compliance – Planet Verify
Personal data protection is a key concern for taxi fleets. You need to be able to securely collect, store and process data and be able to prove your compliance with regulation like GDPR.
16. In-car payment – Airpay
A simple in-car payment system which takes the driver out of the equation. No more excuses from the driver claiming that the system is not working, not charged or left at home, the complete interaction is between the operator and the customer. A seamless uberish experience.
17. Accountancy Software – Sage
Bookkeeping in the literal sense is well and truly over. Most fleets will use some kind of accountancy software to run their books – but are you getting the most from it? There may be features such as account analytics that could help you glean insights into your taxi firm’s spending and help save on costs.
18. Small Business Bookkeeping – Kashflow
Kashflow is another accountancy software, but specifically designed for small businesses. It helps you keep your books the easy way, anytime and anywhere.
19. Expenses receipts management – Expensify
If you’re running a large fleet with executive team members then no doubt they clock up a good deal of expenses. These can be pretty time-consuming to run through your accounts, so make sure you have a simple, mobile phone-based expenses solution. Most SaaS accounting software will offer their own version or else enable a plug-in from another party like Expensify.
Got any more software suggestions for taxi fleets?
What software solutions are you using to run your taxi business? Let us know what’s working for you by emailing email@example.com so we can share with other taxi fleets around the world. In the meantime, why not sign up to our newsletter to get more news, articles, tips and tricks on all things taxi.