Another mobile app again?
There are so many mobile apps nowadays that I don't even bother downloading any.
You have apps for banking, booking taxi, finding ATMs nearby, finding restaurants, monitor health, magazines, sports, scheduling, job search, checking bus arrival time, Facebooking, search and the list goes on. How many of these apps did you download? And how many do you actually use it every day?
While these apps are developed to solve problems and make life easier for the users, do they actually solve the problem. Take it a step further, was there a problem in the first place?
Singapore's Land Transports Authority (LTA) launched a new mobile app Taxi-Taxi@SG two days back.
The main difference between this apps and the likes of Uber and GrabTaxi is that Taxi-Taxi@SG does not has a booking facility.
Taxi-Taxi@SG shows the location of available cabs of all six taxi operators in Singapore through location data provided. Taxi drivers do not have to download the app to be detected by it. However, they have to download it to see where commuters are.
Within a day, the apps has drawn so many negative feedback. The main complaint is because of the main difference, that is, there is no booking facility.
There is even an incidence of a taxi being located in the sea and people joking that it's the Duck Tour or river taxi.
In response to this, LTA says its new app is meant to help commuters who want to hail taxis along the road, and not pay more to book a cab. Thus it is not fair to compare it against other apps.
So was this add developed to counter its third party competitors which are jeopardizing the booking business of the taxis operators? Or was it really developed with the intention of helping commuters save on booking fee?
Photo Source : theonlinecitizen
If you look at the apps, it's really simple to use. There are only three functions.
For the taxi drivers, the only function they will use is the Tap For Address (Commuters) to see where commuters are.
For you, the passenger, they can "Tap to shout out your location" so that taxi drivers can see where you are and drive towards you. You can also use Tap For Address (Taxis) to see where most taxis are and decide if you want to move to another street to hail a taxi, instead of continue at your current location with no taxis.
It's a win win situation. Taxi drivers do not have to drive round and round aimlessly trying to find passengers as they now could see where a passenger is waiting. Passengers can indicate their location and wait for drivers to come to them or move on to another street with more taxis.
But the problem it seeks to solve is the cause of the problem itself.
Firstly, if a driver sees someone waiting for a cab nearby, how likely is he going to drive there to pick up the passenger? Have you encountered situations where you are trying to hail a taxi on the road and all the empty taxis are on the opposite side of the road? Do they make a U-turn to pick you if there is one? Most of the times they will just stop at the opposite and wait for you to cross over. Why? My guess is that the driver thinks that you will probably be picked up by another taxi by the time they U-turn back (unless he has signaled to you).
What if there are two, three, four or even five drivers who see it and head there all at the same time? Unless the driver is sure he can pick up a passenger when he arrives, it will be a wasted trip for him. And if you are staying in a remote location where it is accessible via private transport, how likely is a driver going to make the effort to go to pick you up without some form of incentive?
There are often complaints about taxi drivers hiding somewhere or refusing to stop for passengers in order to wait for call booking so that they can make more from each trip. During peak period when the demand for taxi is higher than the supply and or when there are more people making booking, will this app works? Unless the booking fee is scraped, most taxi drivers will rather take booking instead of picking up passengers hailing on the street, even if the passenger is two steps away.
For the passenger, you can indicate your location and wait for a taxi to arrives. To use this function, you either let GPS locate your location and confirm it or you can tap on the map to change your waiting spot. As there's no indication to you that a taxi is on its way to pick you, how long are you going to wait? Even if you monitor the taxis location and see one taxi moving towards your location, how sure are you that it's coming to pick you? If it's not picking you, are you going to continue waiting or you will just hop on another taxi that comes along? Drivers using this app are going to get frustrated not being able to pick up any passenger despite making the effort. But there's nothing they can do. Will you get blacklisted for no show all the times in future?
And if you see there is a taxi on or approaching a particular road and decide to walk there to hail it, remember that taxis are mobile. Will it be hailed by others or gone by the time you reach? Will you end up trying to play catching with taxis? Or would you rather call to make a booking?
Another problem with this function is that the GPS is not accurate. I tried using it and it showed me an address that I'm not even sure if it exists at the location I was at. Furthermore, instead of indicating the name of the building which is what most people are familiar with, it showed the street address which people usually do not know. For example, if I'm at National Library, instead of displaying the address as National Library, it showed 100 Victoria Street.
While you can tap on the map to change your waiting spot, will you even bothered to do so? Or will you just walk to the main road?
Know how your customers think, and you'll know how your customers will act.
By the way, expensive or not is relative, depending on who you are targeting.
And targeting the rich doesn't mean that it won't be expensive to them.
Where is Angsana Johor Bahru Mall?
How do your customers get there?
What else are there to do?
Why should they go?
What kind of crafts?
And why should I even waste my time to find out about all these?
My guess is I'm not one of their target customer.
Who else is interested?
Was this headline chosen to get readers read the content (if they've missed seeing the obvious)? Will it draw attention away from your message since it was not mentioned what type of mistake? Is it a maths mistake since there are numbers?
What happens if someone spotted the mistake immediately? Will he or she continue reading the content?
Plus there's no mention how taking the vitamin will help one's in spotting English grammar mistakes?
And if an adult is seeing this ad but couldn't find the mistake, does it mean he or she need to take this?
2. Intellectual Properties
3. Trade secrets
4. Financial strength
5. Others (Please specify)
What an interesting start for my morning today calling the hotlines of two companies.
The first was Resort World Sentosa (RWS).
My Thai friend who is now in Singapore for a tour decided to go SEA Aquarium at the last minute and asked if there's any promotion and if she needs to print receipt for online purchase (no way she can print in a hotel). As I know that there's always some kind of promotion going on for the entrance passes to RWS, I googled to check on her behalf.
There is indeed an online promotion at a discounted price of $25 per adult (minimum 2 tickets) from the onsite price of $38. The website stated that buyer needs to print out confirmation email for online purchase. Since mobile technology is so common nowadays, I thought it should be fine for her to flash the confirmation email on her handphone without having to print it out.
To be on the safe side, I called up RWS hotline to confirm and to check if there's any promotions for kids as well or other promotions not listed on its website.
I was put on hold for almost 30 minutes before I decided to hang up. Then I thought maybe the call queue for the Mandarin speaking option would be shorter. So I called and opted to speak to a Mandarin staff.
The staff who answered said it's fine to just flash the email. She also told me that the $25 promotion is for adult. There is no promotion for children ticket, which is priced at $28.
After hanging up, I messaged her about the information and promotion. Then I thought isn't it odd that a kid's ticket is more expensive than an adult ticket? And since there's no promotion for children, I might as well buy an adult ticket at $25 ($3 cheaper than children ticket), which should allows a kid to enter.
So I made a second call and was told this was possible. To make sure, I asked if there's any package for 2 adults and 1 kid. The staff replied there's none. She went on to ask how old is the kid. When I told her the kid is 1.5 year old, she informed me that kids below 4 years enter free.
I quickly relayed this information to my friend.
While my friend was trying to make a purchase on her mobile phone, she encountered an error message. Her first reaction was the promotion is only for Singaporeans. So she asked if I could help purchase on her behalf.
Of course, I can do that. But as I'm not going with her, I'm afraid that she will be asked to show my identification card when she is collecting her tickets which she does not has.
I called the hotline a third time and the staff told me the promotion is available to all citizens.
Asked my friend to try again and she encountered the same problem.
I was almost on the verge of going down to meet her and get the booking done before deciding to make a last call to the hotline.
After reconfirming that the promotion is available to all citizens, I told the staff about my friend's problem. She informed me that this promotion needs to register a local IP address.
Told the staff my friend is in Singapore now and using the mobile phone. She replied that it cannot be purchased using a mobile phone.
Finally after numerous calls, then I managed to get the whole picture.
Looking back at the series of calls, I realized that all the subsequent calls are unnecessary if my first call was handled well.
How many assumptions were made by the staff when they answered my call? That because I'm calling from a local number, I cannot be calling to find out on behalf of my overseas friend? Why no staff asks me more questions about my call? How many tickets do I plan to buy? When do I plan to visit? Why no one took the initiative to provide me with more information like you cannot use mobile phone to buy the ticket?
The other hotline was Singtel.
Having tasted success in getting to speak to an agent quickly after choosing the Mandarin option, I used the same tactic here.
Before I could mentally translate my request from English to Mandarin, my call was answered.
To my surprise, it was an Indian lady who answered my call in English.
Didn't I choose Mandarin option? Was the call routed wrongly?
I asked about charges for replacement of my SIM card to a smaller SIM card and was put on hold. The lady came back with no answer. She said there will be charges but she didn't have the charges as it depends on some factors which she didn't explain. I was told to go down to the shop to find out the charges.
Before the call ends, she followed the usual script and told me about sending a SMS for me to rate her service.
By the way, I wonder why one cannot buy tickets using their mobile phone.