It's interesting to consider why some businesses flourish and others decline. Often organizations that experience a decline in sales and lose customer confidence lack a clear understanding of why the business is not flourishing.
I learned an important lesson last weekend when requesting a taxi cab. I seldom use taxi cabs because of the efficient services now provided by such ride-sharing apps as Lyft and Uber. However, this morning I was in a hurry. An Uber or Lyft was five minutes away and there was a taxi waiting at my hotel. Even though I hadn't used a taxi in some time I thought, "They're going to be just as good and they're sitting right in front of me so let's go for it."
This was not a great decision. I began feeling regret as soon as I got into the cab and realized how dirty it was. Heat was coming out of the vents at a strong rate even though it was a warm day. I gave the driver my destination and she said, "Do you know the directions?"
Now it's been quite some time since I was in a taxi. Because the online services immediately know the directions based on the request, I wasn't prepared to supply the address beyond the name of the large conference where I was speaking. "Can you put it in your navigation system based on the name or Google it?" I asked. To my chagrin she responded, "What's Google?" I think this sums up my experience. I'm in a dirty cab, heat is blasting out of the vents even though it’s a hot day, and the driver is clueless about Google.
I quickly put the destination into my iPhone and began to give the driver turn by turn directions.
Now the real fun begins. She's driving like a maniac and there's no seatbelt available. And they wonder why the taxi service industry is in decline.
When we reach my destination there was a credit card machine available so I slid my credit card but no result. The driver exits the cab and comes around to assist me but it still doesn't work. I notice the fare is still increasing, which by the way is approximately double what Lyft or Uber would've charged. At this point I asked the driver, "Did you stop the fare?" She responds by saying, "Oh, I didn't know I had to do that." After she stopped the fare I processed my credit card. Of course with the experience I'd had I wanted a receipt to make sure I was charged the correct amount. No receipt. The driver explains, "The machine jams a lot of times and won't give us receipts." "Okay."
Trying to make the best of it, I decided it was a great learning experience. If the owners of the taxi cab would take an Uber ride and learn what the competitive services offer, I'm sure they would realize that if they want to compete in today's world they're going to have to step up their technology and customer service.
This is a lesson I try to remember every day at Association Management Group. If we want to be the best, we have to offer not only high-level service, but service that is ever evolving — service that gets better every day. We have to stay on top of technology, offeringour customers more than others and at competitive prices.