When we think about Uber, what immediately comes to our mind is cabs. We assume Uber to be an amazing transportation company. While there is no question that Uber revolutionized transportation, Uber is, in essence, a technology-based disruptor. What Uber did is to make use of the latest technology in breaking what was considered normal at that point in time.
Uber did not change the way cabs were driven – it was the same drivers and the same gasoline engines, and electric motors in some cases! However, what Uber did was to change the way the driver connected with a passenger who actually needed transportation.
Striking at the root of a process has its own benefits. It helps you diversify your portfolio of services and that too, in a very effective and efficient way. This is precisely what Uber did. They realized that what they have hacked is not transportation but technology. This is what enabled them to create a simple taxi app that started with operations in New York. In 2010, a year after it was introduced in New York, it also started serving San Francisco.
Uber came with better quality cars and aptly named it UberX and this service started in 2012. With the growing demand for carpooling and ridesharing, Uber started off with UberPOOL in 2014. Uber made sure it took into consideration the convenience and the competition. In 2014, Uber created Uber Moto which enables users to request motorcycle taxis. To take on the competition by players like Ola in India, they came up with the concept of Uber auto that delivers auto rickshaws to customers at their location.
Although their self-driving car endeavor ended up in a miserable failure with more than $139 million in losses, the future does not look bleak for Uber in any way. There have been speculations about Uber bringing in helicopters on demand and it is already at a testing phase in the United Arab Emirates.
Maybe Uber has been the harbinger of on-demand applications. In this process, the company has also opened the floodgates for all businesses to replicate the model and even for aspiring entrepreneurs to create a business congruent with Uber. However, if you need to stand out from your competition as a business person it is mandatory that you provide more value and better features. Here are a few features that you can consider for your Uber-like app.
Giving estimates in time and money
After a driver accepts the ride request, it is possible for the mapping tools and GPS to jump into action and estimate the approximate time it would take for the driver to reach the user’s location. While this might seem like a small feature on the surface, it does go a long way in increasing customer satisfaction as customers can plan even the remaining time accordingly. For all you know, the customer might have to wear their shoes at the right time!
As much as time, even money is an important factor for users. Based on the current traffic or if the ride is scheduled, based on the history of traffic, the user can be given an estimate as to what the approximate charges will be. It would be great if your app can comply with the initial charge that was shown. Users are, however, flexible enough to accommodate minor changes to the cost of the trip.
Being flexible in payment options
Today, there are a lot of digital payment methods including but not limited to credit cards, debit cards, internet banking, and wallets. Your taxi booking application should accommodate all these payment methods. It is a good idea to tie up with a payment services provider like Braintree or PayPal to ensure that the magnitude of flexibility is quite optimal. Let the nonavailability of payment options not be a deterrent for the customers to not use your apps!
Making service history available for users
On the surface, it might seem like a waste of time and money – keeping information about the right history of users does waste a lot of server space internet bandwidth. However, having this little feature in place ensures that the user stays loyal to your brand and your app. In fact, it might be useful for you passively because you can reward users who have stuck to your brand for a considerable stretch of time providing them discounts and offers.
Scheduling rides & booking for others
Apps like Uber were born to address the immediate needs of transportation of people – people could not get cabs at a time when they needed it and at a place where they needed it! It does not, however, mean that the market for scheduled rides does not exist.
There is a considerable chance that the people plan their travel to the airport and have booked an appointment with a doctor well in advance. For these circumstances, it would be good if your app can accommodate booking rides in advance.
Sometimes, there might also arise a need for you to book a cab for someone else. It could be possible on paper but practically, it is quite difficult to coordinate between the person who needs to be picked up and the cab driver, taking you back to the stone age of booking! However, if there were a feature where you could explicitly mention that you are booking a cab for someone else, and if you could provide the contact number of the person who needs to be picked up, it will be extremely useful both for the rider and the driver. This feature comes in as extremely useful in places where the need for transportation is a constant but there is some discrepancy when it comes to exposure to technology.
As much as Uber has been in the press limelight for the right reasons, it has equally been so for wrong reasons as well. There have been allegations against Uber drivers exhibiting inappropriate behavior and it is a cause of concern for the passenger and for the brand. Therefore, it would be a great idea to include a panic button that sends an alert to the administrator and also to the nearest police station if possible. This will ensure an extra degree of safety and an extra layer of trust!
Google believes in the philosophy that great is not good enough! That is the same with you developing your Uber like app. If you would like to challenge the definition of greatness and poses a formidable threat to your competitors, here are a few advanced features that you can consider including.
Driver delivery reports
Sometimes, people earn their bread and butter being Uber drivers. As much as there is a need for performance appraisals, it would be a good idea if your app you can send reports on their driving skills.
More often than not, drivers rely on their local knowledge. While it cannot be denied that this knowledge is valuable, they need to understand that there are a lot of variables when it comes to traffic intensity. Therefore, it is essential to use some assistance from technology to ensure that the route that is taking his fast and free of traffic – or in better words, fuel-efficient!
Preferred destinations for the driver
On the surface, it might seem like drivers are being favored more. However, if drivers are given a choice to operate in a territory of their comfort, it is quite likely that customer satisfaction will be quite high in that region because the driver is comfortable and is familiar with the route, the landmarks and maybe every Street in the locality.
The amount that your cab business earns is directly proportional to the number of rides taken by the driver. Therefore, it might be a good idea to incentivize the number of rides taken by a driver on a given day. This would not only encourage them to stay on the job for long periods but will also positively impact your bottom line. In all of this, it should be ensured that the 'quest' stays practical and does not pressurize drivers to do overtime or push their limits of comfort – and for all you know, the plan could backfire!
Optimized cancellation window
The cancellation window, by definition, is the time stretch under which the user can cancel without incurring any cost. For the benefit of the user, it can be made infinite that a user can cancel at any point in time even after the driver is at their doorstep after traveling a couple of kilometers. However, it might be a disaster for the driver. Therefore, it is important to arrive at a balance where the user gets enough time to cancel at the same time, the driver does not waste a lot of time only to find that the user has canceled.
Apps like Uber are bound to have a lot of data that detail the possibility of demand at a certain point in time. Drivers can use this data to ensure that they move to a location where there is a possibility of high demand. One example could be that there is a possibility of high demand in movie theatres at a time when the show is about to get over.
The driver should be able to accept an oncoming ride request even before they have completed the ride that they are in. This feature might be simple to incorporate but the intelligence that goes into it is rather complex – factors like the drop location of the user and the time estimated for arrival should be taken into consideration before the feature is made available to drivers.
It is quite evident that the demand for transportation is not going to fade at any point in time in the near future. Therefore, if you would like to stay ahead in the game, it is highly recommended that you use white label apps like Uber and customize the app to include your features. This way, you will ensure that there is quite a lot of time and money saved!