Most of us have seen some of the issues facing Taxify in KE but if you need a refresher, turn on your GPS (for Kenya) & search ‘Taxify’ on your YouTube app:
Recently they posted a vacancy for Marketing Manager - Nairobi and while it’s understandable why they feel they need one given the stories in the photo above, I believe the issue lies more with Driver-Passenger interaction than how a company presents itself/spins unfavorable events each news cycle.
Before their choice for marketing manager begins running campaigns, it’s important they consider steps to address what might have led to their unfavorable mentions. As it was a lady in the news, I spoke to some ladies who use the app to determine what features they saw that made them feel safe/improved usability. The ones I spoke to say:
- Quality of drivers is often ‘not so good’
- There is no option to choose the gender of the driver
- There is no option to recommend a traditional cabbie to join the service
- There isn’t a fixed price instead they give a range - uber shows a fixed price before requesting a cab
- There are no (or they did not notice) reduced rates for frequent riders
At Noah 2018, Markus Villig said that Taxify’s success in Europe had a lot to do with localization - working with cities yellow cabs. We do have private taxi companies in Kenya but we also have an existing cabbie-passenger relationship that Taxify can leverage
Improving ‘quality’ of drivers
Ask passengers to recommend a traditional cabbie to join Taxify. This can be done by entering the cabbies phone number - Kenyan’s save their favorite cabbies numbers. The cab driver with the most recommendations gets invited to join Taxify starting out at their highest reasonable rating score. The driver also receives a token which allows them to collect 100% of their proceeds on a day of their choice - they can redeem this token ONCE and when they do, Taxify won’t take any commission for 24 hours.
Drivers who are selected then get to nominate other drivers who they would be comfortable carrying their favorite passengers - like how doctors refer patients.
Users who recommend a driver that gets accepted also get a token for a free ride on the day of their choice - T&C Apply so people don’t take 500KM trips for free
Allow Gender Selection
Safety can be very personal, so allowing riders to select their preferred gender would make Taxify seem like a safer alternative. Higher discounts on commissions - 10% instead of 15% - during the signup period and during peak/surge hours could encourage more women to sign up. The personal nature of safety would mitigate gender discrimination concerns amongst drivers.
Passengers who recommended a cabbie most likely chose one who is local - within their neighborhood or office/favorite outlet/nightclub. When requesting a cab, this cabbie should be prioritized during the search process. Passengers are already saving Taxify drivers direct lines once they find out the cabbie is local, and calling them directly. Finding a way to guarantee that your preferred cabbie will be first on call would retain revenue for Taxify. Another cabbie arriving would mean their preferred cabbie is already unavailable.
Favorite cabbie approach would ensure selected drivers know the city in and out, reducing such complaints from customers- and responses from Taxify Team
Reduced rates for frequent riders
NB: This was announced FOR DRIVERS and may be present in some markets but not for passengers
Ties into the favorite cabbie point. Their frequent passengers get occasional discounts so this would be important, more so after coming out of an unfavorable news cycle. The discount can rotate between the passenger paying less, to Taxify taking a lesser/no commission on certain trips - every 4th trip by this exact driver-passenger matchup. Gamified discounts are great revenue retainers/morale boosters
Fixed Rates For Trips
Here is one of the many complaints Taxify customers are expressing on social media - and why fixed ride rates should be a priority for this market.
Enhanced Tied Rating System
To ensure passengers recommend only the most professional riders, a tied penalty system would be introduced. This system would ensure that any confirmed scandal involving a driver-passenger would trickle down to everyone involved in their recommendation and suspend/eliminate their high ratings and discount privileges.
We’ve seen many ride-sharing apps come to Kenya with traditional taxi drivers thinking that an app - and not their horrid treatment of passengers over the years - is the reason they are losing business.
The marketing managers entry into the region should focus on giving Taxify customers immediate value, and assurance that steps have been taken to mitigate previous incidences. Taxify is already smart enough to let their competitors handle ride-hailing customer awareness/education & fight government regulation but if they are to continue to do better, their approach needs to be more than their competitors’ way of just spamming customers with sales pitches.
This could mean the company is willing to consider ways to localize their value-add and have the marketing manager deliver the news while collecting feedback. The first thing Taxify customers hear from its marketing manager/team is what Taxify is doing to commit to its vision of world-class service. Actionable improvements to the quality of a ride might do more than spamming customers with discounts ever could.