When you have 20 years experience in the Australian taxi business, and 17,000 drivers using your payment terminals, putting third-party apps in their place is no problem—provided you can find the right developer.
When taxi booking apps like Uber started finding their way to the tip of every passenger’s thumb, GM Cabs knew it had to act to preserve its core business: payment processing for taxi drivers.
But it faced challenges that other apps didn’t. Over 20 years, GM Cabs has built a loyal network of 17,000 drivers. Other apps are loved by passengers for their convenience, but they’re harsh on drivers. GM Cabs wanted to develop an app that worked for passengers anddrivers.
We developed the Rydo app to protect our core business, but it’s done much more than that: it’s given us a new business.
— Nickolas Mikhael
The challenges facing GM Cabs as it commissioned the development of Rydo was an earlier unsuccessful foray into app development.
“We’d been hurt before,” says Nickolas Mikhael, CEO of Rydo. “We were looking for good partners, but even so we were going to be sure to have a lot of performance measures in the contract. And we haven’t been disappointed.”
Because it had been let down before, GM Cabs wanted to divide the job of building Rydo. Its plan commissioned one developer to design the app and another to run the backend.
Innovent signed on to handle all the backend development, which made Innovent’s developers and their code the lynchpin between the app in the passenger’s hand, the servers at GM Cab’s processing data centre and the terminals in 17,000 taxis.
We were in the driver’s seat.
The most important component of a comfortable customer journey
With several software development companies involved, we knew that communication was critical, not only to a fast rollout but to make sure the client was comfortable that everything was in hand.
The Innovent team hosted daily scrum meetings to make sure everyone was on the same page, and we made sure Nick was on those calls, so he always knew where everyone was at.
“Communication has been without doubt the biggest improvement between this project and the one before it,” says Nick. “I always know what they’re working on and what they plan to have done by the end of the week. Basically, I know exactly where our money is going. Last time, we just seemed to go from error to error. They were always fixing something and charging me to do it. That doesn’t happen with Innovent.”
Whether it’s phone, Skype or an emergency SMS on a Sunday, Nick knows he can always get hold of the team.
“It’s definitely a partnership,” he says. “It feels like they’re cheering us on. We’re up against big competitors, and we’re new to bookings and apps. The Innovent team is always asking questions about what’s happening in the industry and using the answers to make suggestions. It’s obvious to me that they have a personal attachment to Rydo. It’s not just a project they’ll walk away from.”
GM Cabs knew they were up against stiff competition from mature apps. Launching with fewer features than the competition wasn’t an option. Not only did Rydo have to match the completion, the team wanted it to have more features.
“The way we work, feature ideas might come from the client or from us. But the client never has to feel they need to be able to see the way to the solution,” says Sean Donnelly, director, Innovent. “Nick gave us lots of ideas, like giving passengers vouchers, and we would work to pull out the business process, but he never had to provide a detailed brief for that. That's our job.”
“Innovent has been phenomenal at working with our ideas,” says Nick. “I’m an MBA with lots of ideas and sometimes Sean has to calm me down. I really value having someone I can bounce suggestions around with. I don't want to work with someone who’ll hear an idea, write the brief and charge me to build something that was never going to work.”
The ingredients of a killer app
Rydo’s high acceptance among drivers and popularity with passengers is undoubtedly down to the industry-leading logic behind the scenes. Although neither drivers nor passengers will ever see the code, they do see taxis arriving on time and an unmatched quality of service.
- Genuine realtime information about taxis in your area
- The ability to book rides in advance
- Vouchers that Rydo can create for promotions
Features like pre-booking and vouchers are even allowing Rydo to penetrate the corporate market.
From first contact with GM Cabs to having Rydo available in the app store took just six months. But has it been successful? The answer from the client is unequivocal:
“Rydo isn’t successful just because passengers are using it to book more rides than our most optimistic projection,” says Nick. “Rydo is successful because drivers are lining up to get our terminals. GM Cabs has a waiting list for the first time. We have indeed built an app that works for passengers and drivers, which makes it unique.”