If you work for Uber PR, take the week off. There’s nothing Uber could do to improve the marketing coming as a result of a failed stunt from taxi companies yesterday. After months of very public protests against Uber, fabricated stories of potential safety risks, the Australian taxi companies combined to change tack. After realising their negative campaign was doing more harm than good, they’ve created http://yourtaxis.com.au.
With a new competitor in town, it challenges the far too comfortable cashcow that has been a 150 year industry. Armed with new technology that lets passengers order a ride right from their phone (or smart watch), be picked up in a clean, well maintained car, by a nice and friendly driver with great English, the game has changed forever. Taxi operators are now a redundant unnecessary function that now attracts a ‘booking fee’ adding to exorbitant costs made worse by taxi drivers that don’t leverage GPS technology to take the most efficient route to a destination (including traffic info).
When you launch a new product or service, that launch day is typically your largest traffic day for months if not years. However the launch for YourTaxis couldn’t have gone worse for them. Despite giving away a few free rides, the geniuses behind the campaign were so short sighted and tone deaf to what customers had been saying that they thought it was a great idea to promote the hashtag #yourtaxis. Anyone who knows anything about social media would understand this was always going to be a disaster, much like the days of #qantasluxury.
Here’s some examples of what customers are saying..
— Leigh Stillard (@LeighStillard) November 9, 2015
Some Twitter users have noticed Uber ads being displayed on the #yourtaxis hashtag.
People flooded the hashtag on social media with accounts of the terrible experiences they’ve had with taxis and the entire thing completely back fired. Their shiny new Twitter account is now at a tiny 232 followers, despite them claiming a massive 42 million passengers last year.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the campaign fail is they’re so disconnected with reality and what’s happening when technology disruption arrives at their doorstep, they’re responses on Twitter ignore there’s a problem at all.
Nov 10 2015
Yesterday, the Victorian Taxi Association launched YourTaxis (www.yourtaxis.com.au), a destination for everything taxi in Victoria. Your Taxis is all about telling the full story about taxi services in Victoria.
The outpouring of feedback on social media is being reported as a social media fail of epic proportions – not from our perspective.
Social media is designed to offer the opportunity to engage directly with the community. YourTaxis has delivered exactly this.
The response on social media exemplifies the challenges we face as an industry and goes to underscore the motivations behind the YourTaxis campaign. To date, Victorian taxi customers haven’t had a direct avenue to communicate with the industry.
“This was never about selling something, this is about starting a direct conversation with everyone who uses Victorian taxis and giving them an opportunity to tell us what they think. This is what we have achieved” said VTA CEO David Samuel.
“The response online over the past 24 hours isn’t anything we didn’t expect. We asked for feedback and we got it. The good and the bad and everything in between” he went on.
“It also demonstrates the number of people that rely on taxi services and we want to make sure our service continues to meet customers’ expectations in a period of rapid change.”
“We will respond to everything that comes our way on YourTaxis.”
This is the first day following the launch and we anticipated the negative responses would run fast. We want to use this channel to not only guide our efforts to improve services but illustrate all the vital taxis play in our community.