Smartphones, it seems are not as smart as our customers. Apps designed to make it easier for customers to hail taxis are being sidelined by users to instead, once again pick up their phone and make the call for themselves. So, how can you make sure your taxi firm gets more of these precious calls?

Mobile users prefer to make to phone calls

Over 90% of minicabs/taxis are booked over the phone, compared to 10% booked via an App or singular digital service. Where are people finding these essential phone numbers? The answer is probably sitting in your pocket – your mobile phone. Today, 61% of mobile users wish to talk to someone by making a phone call. In the minicab business this means that more people are turning to an internet search and online to get a number for a local minicab firm and, when on the move, customers do this from their smartphone.

Thanks to this, direct calls are now one of the most valuable and growing sources of new business for B2C thanks to the increase of smartphone use across the population. Invoca published an Infographic recently, ‘Grabbing Business By The Calls‘ that stated by 2016 mobile search will drive nearly 70 billion inbound phone calls to businesses. That’s a huge new business area that has been considered a less fruitless and less exciting marketing channel in past years compared to Apps.

Customers still consider a phone call an important part of their buying process as they can talk to a real person, get answers to their questions and accomplish their goal faster. Consumer habits are slow to change, very slow. Digital channels are now providing a new avenue for customers to find and use their trusted purchase method of a direct phone call. So, why else are customers choosing to pick up their phones rather than use automated online booking and Apps?

Still cheaper to book by phone

The answer may be that customers have realised it is actually cheaper for them to find a local minicab firm for themselves rather than rely on swish Apps to do the selected research.

Today you have lots of options to consider when booking a minicab for a simple journey, such as, to an airport. Fare Exchange decided to test which would be the cheapest.

We consulted several App’s and settled on comparing prices for two London app’s Kabbee & Minicabster with the price of a black cab, Addison Lee and then finally a humble phone call to a local minicab firm.

What we found was a massive difference in prices and quotes for the same journey. (This is usually because cab firms inflate app prices and they have to give 10-12% away in commission too).  The quotes in the table below are for the following journey:

Pick up from the same post code in Edgware for one passenger with two bags at 6.45 pm on Sunday (non-holiday) for a single journey to five popular London airports (cheapest quotes used from app listings).


The results showed that you save money by booking minicab services when compared to Addison Lee & Black cabs – this we already knew. The really interesting results are seen when you compare quotes from the minicab comparison App (Columns App 1/2) versus calling the same minicab directly. Easy savings can be made if you pay by cash and book by phone.

There are lots of benefits to using an App to book a taxi/minicab but now it seems the lowest price is not one of them. The cheapest option for a consumer is to make a 57 second call (the average booking call length based on over 1 million booking calls generated by Fare Exchange) and speak to a real human as well as save money with a verbal confirmation of when your taxi will arrive.

Smartphone penetration is still growing but it seems people are re-discovering how to dial a phone number again. The next challenge is to make sure that customers call your minicab firm instead of your competitors.

To find out more about Fare Exchange and how we can help your minicab firm get  more calls and more bookings just get in touch on, Tel: 0207 183 7809 and let’s talk.