Businesses face ups and downs but what really matters is how entrepreneurs manage risks and stand their ground amid a crisis. The same applies to the ride-hailing industry. Leading service providers have always managed to overcome crises including the COVID-19 pandemic all by devising innovative strategies to handle the situation better and keep their businesses going even during these uncertain times. Ultimately, failure is just a phase and good times are not far behind.
Despite the lawsuits and allegations Uber faced in different regions across the world, the company has built a robust customer base in a decade’s time and has made sure that legal issues do not affect its customer retention rate. Uber made it possible by catering to the customer requirements with consistent market research.
The ride-hailing giant reported a massive loss of 2.9 billion USD in the first quarter of 2020 with the COVID-19 outbreak. But then, the company launched a new service, Uber Medics in countries including Saudi Arabia, India, Poland, Ukraine and more to provide discounted rides for frontline healthcare workers during the lockdown to engage its drivers.
Similarly, Uber launched its delivery service, Uber Connect, in various locations including Indian cities like New Delhi, Noida, Hyderabad, Chennai and Chandigarh, Kolkata, Jaipur, Guwahati and Gurgaon and also partnered with e-commerce giants like Flipkart and BigBasket thereby creating job opportunities for its workforce and directing them to make deliveries while a greater part of the community remained locked down in their houses.
Now that the restrictions on mobility are gradually being eased with adherence to social distancing, the new ‘Go Online Checklist’ in Uber’s driver app requires drivers to take a selfie with their facemasks on and upload the same to start rides to ensure safety after COVID-19.
Being socially responsible and serving the community as much as possible during uncertain times such as these can bring good credits to ride-hailing businesses and that is precisely what Lyft does. In fact, the company has spent around 6.5 million USD on COVID-19 relief efforts. In the phase of the pandemic, the company introduced Lyftup, an initiative to transport healthcare providers, senior citizens and other underprivileged individuals in partnership with various governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Besides, the company has also launched its ‘ Wait and Save’ initiative where the customers who can wait a little longer than usual for their rides are offered cheaper rides. The initiative helped the service provider to manage incoming ride requests efficiently with limited resources without disappointing the customers.
In the wake of the global pandemic, the Indonesia-based company Grab introduced GrabResponse, a full-fledged non-emergency medical transportation service to transport suspects and victims of COVID-19 to the hospital. Also as a driver retention strategy during the pandemic, Grab waived the commission rates for driver-partners who leased vehicles from GrabRentals.
To combat the dip in ride-hailing opportunities after COVID-19, the company launched two new services- GrabMart and GrabAssistant- to bolster its delivery services. GrabMart delivers essentials including food, drinks, home care and personal care products and this service is currently available in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand. On the other hand, GrabAssistant delivers other essentials that are not included in GrabMart. It also facilitates customers to hire delivery executives to run personal errands.
As an initiative to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Chinese ride-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing has introduced its in-app Health Guard program with artificial intelligence to verify if safety measures are rightly followed.
Also, the ride-hailing company has raised a fund of $500 million from SoftBank to strengthen its autonomous driving unit. Given the need for minimal physical contact after the global pandemic, autonomous vehicles hold a promising scope for the growth of the transportation industry.
Time and again, the industry players have proved that a downturn is a sign of change and not a failure. In fact, with every recession, they found a way to come back stronger than before. Similarly, if you can uphold your business motto while responding to the social change and making strategic moves accordingly, you can take control over the situation no matter how critical it is.