Catherine Faiers, Chief Operating Officer of Addison Lee, explained how the company is taking the fight to Uber at Pro Driver Congress in JuneSince launching in London 5 years ago, the American firm has acquired a huge slice of the UK’s taxi and private hire market. The black cab trade and private hire operators have both been severely hit. As the UK’s largest private hire operator, you would forgive Addison Lee for being preoccupied by the actions of their transatlantic counterparts. However, Faiers explained to the congress’s attendees that their approach is to concentrate on their own performance. There is, of course, a need to “be aware of the outside world” but the key is to “focus on their own delivery.” Addison Lee operates across the UK with over 4,800 vehicles in London alone. The firm was purchased in 2013 by private equity company The Carlyle Group for £300 million. They have since invested in the acquisition of UK chauffeur company Tristar and further international expansion. The Addison Lee website states that they operate in over 350 cities worldwide. Offering journeys globally is one of their key tactics to continue expanding, but it must be viewed as part of a much larger master-plan. Their approach includes the following strategies:
- Expansion internationally To “own” the customer across their whole journey.
- Development of their App To improve customer experience and gain feedback.
- Investment in training The private hire operator now spends five times as much on driver training. Every driver must pass what is described as a “rigorous in-house training course, which includes city driving skills, navigation and customer service”.
- Investment in vehicles A large amount is spent to provide a “young fleet” with options for executives and eco-friendly vehicles for environmentally concerned customers.
- 4G Wifi as standard A free internet connection is supplied in all vehicles which is particularly useful for international travellers.
- Loyalty Programme A reward scheme has been created to benefit and incentivise their most frequent users.
- Personal Approach Effort has been placed into developing more of a personal approach to marketing communications with their clients in order to build stronger relationships and higher levels of repeat custom.