July 17, 2003
Improving CRM at Zingo Taxi

I mentioned the existence of London's new location-aware taxi service Zingo in a previous entry. Not having had any particular problems grabbing a cab off the street recently, I hadn't had any incentive to give them a chance. Until last Thursday, when my departure from the office coincided with the close of a major concert event downtown London.

There were no obvious cabs in sight, and people were wandering slightly aimlessly around looking for that familiar yellow light (indicating an available cab) when the thought struck me that I should call Zingo, whom I had praised so highly for their creative idea a while back. Here's the call (as I remember it)

*ring* *ring*

(automated response system)
"Welcome to Zingo Taxi, we are looking for a taxi in your area. While you're waiting, did you know that Zingo taxi does this and that (bla bla bla) [......]"

a minute or two later, sales-speak is interrupted with

"Sorry there are no taxis in your area, Press 1 to try again or press 2 to speak with an operator"


"Thanks for using Zingo Taxi. We are looking for a taxi in your area. While you're waiting, did you know that Zingo taxi does this and that (bla bla bla)"

"Sorry, there are no taxis in your area, Press 1 to search again or press 2 to speak with an operator"


(automated voice starts over again) "Thanks for using.."
(confused male voice) "HELLO??!!"

(me): "Hello?"

('t was the driver, apparently) "Where are you?"

(me) "Outside the One Aldwych Hotel"

(driver muttering "I just passed that .. I'd have to come back around") "Where are you going?"

(me) "Near St. Paul's cathedral" [FYI this would usually be a 5-6 pound fare, not particularly long, but still making a dime for the driver]


(me) "Where are you then?"

(driver) "At Victoria station. Sorry mate, it's too far. You'd be better off if I transferred you to a colleague who is closer *BEEP*" [Victoria station is about a 10 pound ride from where I was at the time]

(automated female voice) "Welcome to Zingo taxi. We're looking for a driver in your area........." "Sorry there are no drivers in your area"

(I hung up)

I walked home. It was a nice summer night and a good walk, so I didn't hold any particular grudges against Zingo's failing to provide their product under busy circumstances.

However, a couple of days later, I got an SMS thanking me for having recently called their service, and a sort of "please call again next time you need a cab".

Well. Sorry to be the bringer of bad news, Zingo, but you didn't deliver. And you didn't offer any new reason why it should be better next time I try... If the SMS had been saying "we were sorry we weren't able to get you a cab last time you tried calling us, but we'll give you a couple of pounds off your next fare", I'd have been queueing up to try again. Now, having wasted time and money on the service to no avail, I don't feel the same inclination.


It's all about Customer Relationship Management:

I was willing to sample a new product, going out of my way to do so. I'd be a lead for more new business if your CRM system had identified me and built, even in an automated way (like through an SMS), a small relationship, incentivizing me to return...

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Lo and behold; it looks like there IS a CRM system running in the background (didn't we know it)... Still, my remarks stand; it didn't catch my situation:


Posted by: Anders on July 17, 2003 02:56 PM

Thanks for trying us (Zingo) and for your comments. So our CRM needs to be better? I agree with you and we are getting stuck into it. The main thing is to get you a taxi in the first place and our success results are getting better and better every week, especially in central London. It is very exciting being at the cutting edge of developing LBS services and bring a brilliant new taxi service to London - we are not perfect yet but we are getting towards there quickly.

I like your point about s off your next fare. I'll bear that one in mind. There are lots of Zingo vouchers that do give you s off your next journey - try and look out for them

Mark Fawcett
Managing Director

Posted by: Mark Fawcett on July 31, 2003 03:49 PM

anders - as you seem to have expressed an interest in Zingo - I wanted to bring to your attention a new service London Taxi Point. Here's the launch info - a different concept to Zingo:

New Service: Text and book the nearest available cab from over 5000 London locations

28 July 2003: Anyone who has struggled to find a black cab in London will soon be able to locate the nearest available taxi and book it, all using SMS. London's new Taxi Point service, launched this month, removes the need to wait on the street searching for a cab. Instead, customers can use one of the new 'Taxi Points' - actual signs that use a unique four-digit code to identify an exact location within central London. People wishing to use the service text the location code to the London Taxi Point short code* (83220). Using GPS tracking, the service will identify and book the nearest available black cab from one the participating taxis fleets, delivering a confirmation SMS, and an alert when the taxi has arrived.

The service will cost the user 1 and Taxi Point signs will be positioned in locations such as public and private buildings, restaurants, theatres and bars. More than 5000 Taxi Point locations will be created in London over the next three years.

The service has been launched by application developer The Location Network in partnership with Xeta Cabs, a member of the London Taxi Network (LTN). The SMS infrastructure has been provided by Netsize. The scheme is developed in accordance with Transport for London's objectives to ensure safe, reliable transport for London's residents, workers and visitors and will be of particular use to tourists who may not know the name of their current location.

"Many existing location-based systems use cell ID technology to locate an individual based on the position of the handset against base stations. However these systems can be inherently flawed," explains Craig Barrack, UK Country Manager for Netsize. "In a highly dense urban environment such as central London, a single cell can cover many buildings and may not be accurate enough for such a service. The Location Networks' solution is to use physical signs, leaving no doubt as to the customer's precise location."

Netsize will manage all SMS traffic between the booking application and the customer's mobile network. This delivers complete UK cross network connectivity, allowing any mobile user to access the service.

"We hope to have over 4000 participating taxis by the end of 2003, making London Taxi Point the quickest, easiest way to get a taxi while on the move in London. The scale of the project meant we needed to select a partner such as Netsize, whose infrastructure and experience was ideally matched to the launch of a high volume consumer service such as this," finishes David Ward-Perkins, CEO of The Location Network.

London Taxi Point is currently live with plans to rollout the service in additional UK cities.

Posted by: Tim on August 11, 2003 12:21 PM

I certainly agree with you Anders. Although I don't live in London and rarely use taxi, I get disappointed each time I receive a bad CRM experience.

Here is a nice study for the online customer service and CRM experience I found out:


Posted by: Jim Peskos on February 25, 2004 02:18 PM

agrrrr pozdrowienia, ciekawe czy zrozumiecie ...

In English: Greetz!

Posted by: Ann on April 3, 2004 07:46 PM
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