Online cab aggregators may have been hit hard after the Uber rape incident last December but Raghunandan G, Co-founder and CEO, TaxiForSure, tells Business Today that investments in drivers and safety technology will change things for the better. Excerpts:
Q. What are the lessons that the industry and you have learnt from the Uber incident?
A. The most critical takeaway for me was to strengthen our brand equity with customers by over communicating with them on several initiatives we do at TaxiForSure. For instance, the investment in our drivers through training and development workshops to ensure customers are delighted when they travel with us, new safety features of our state-of-the-art mobile app, and other unique offers. Though we have several channels of communication with our customers, there is a huge need to keep them constantly informed on our propositions. As an industry, I believe the key learning was to be more proactive with the regulatory authorities and keep them up to speed on how we are responding to the urban commute challenge through technology and our unique new-age business model.
Q. How can an Uber-like situation be avoided? What security measures have you put in place?
A. It is ironical that when my Co-founder and I founded TaxiForSure, our primary objective was to provide safe and reliable taxi rides. Our endeavour has all along been to enhance safety. The Uber incident has only strengthened our resolve and accelerated the process of implementing measures that were on the cards. All our cars, for instance, will have advanced GPS system and a panic button; the 'inform a friend' feature on our mobile app will enable a friend to track your ride.
Q. How many cabs does TaxiForSure have? How are you using the funding you received in August?
A. Today, TaxiForSure is present in over 38 cities across India with network of over 20,000 cabs. We are using the funds to strengthen our supply network and create an enduring brand.
Q. How are you different from other aggregators?
A. We have created a unique culture at TaxiForSure. This has helped us attract terrific talent across levels. We have created a leadership team that is capable of seeing us through unprecedented scale and growth. This is our differentiator. Therefore, unlike other start-ups that scaled rapidly, we will never need to rejig the leadership team. From a customer perspective, this continuity and culture translates to continuous improvement in our commitment to providing safe and reliable services.
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