Years ago I worked for a company that required a lot of travel. Fortunately, the company arranged and paid for transportation from my home to the airport and back again. The employees fondly called it our “limo” service, but it really was just a private hire taxi and regular old saloon type cars.
My first few trips were kind of difficult in terms of managing my drop off. The driver would pull up next to the curb, shuffle around the front seat, then reach back and hand me a little carbon copy receipt book that I had to fill out. I’d need my project number, my employee number, destination, and my signature. The paper proved the driver actually dropped me off, and gave the taxi company all the information it needed to charge my employer. Between traffic delays and frantic security at the airport it was always a rush to get it all done and still make the plane.
But it got better. Eventually they had pre-printed sheets that only required a signature. Though the driver still had to search for the right paper, the clipboard, and a pen before awkwardly handing it all to me from the front seat.
I haven’t travelled with a private hire company in years, but I imagine they must feel so relieved to have even better options now: simply use SMS messaging!
It would work something like this:
A driver drops off their passenger at the destination. They then text in the company code of the passenger, along with mileage, fare, or other details required. This lets the company know the driver successfully completed the trip, and provides the information to bill the corporate account.
This approach requires a little bit of setup by the private hire company. They’ll need to know, or assign, numbers to each corporate account that the drivers will use. And of course define what other details the SMS message will need to contain. But it saves the passengers from having to take time that might otherwise delay them in their travels. If you make the process of using your service as simple as getting in and out of the car, you just might find you have a lot more cars filled than before. If you wanted to, you could send a little text message to the passenger wishing them a good trip and asking how you did.
Now you might be thinking about the many ways this system could be abused, or misused. But I wouldn’t suggest this for just any account. It could work for corporate accounts with good standing, or even new corporate accounts depending on your own policies regarding billing. And on the other side of things, it could also streamline your billing process if you integrate your SMS messaging with your accounting software.
What do you think? Would an SMS messaging system like this be better than fumbling for papers and demanding signatures? I know I would have liked it better when I was traveling.
You can get more ideas about how SMS messaging can be used by downloading our “Taxis and Private Hire SMS Guide“.