Cab Companies Leverage Zipwhip To Stay Competitive

YCS1

Uber and other rideshare alternatives radically changed the landscape in the for-hire transportation sector. Their rapid expansion and effective utilization of the mobile mindset forged the mobile-for-hire marketplace. Now is the time for traditional ride-for-hire providers to play catch up. Zipwhip’s cloud texting unlocks the mobile-for-hire capabilities that taxi companies need.

Until now, landline dispatch numbers were the primary means of fielding incoming ride requests. Cab companies leveraged much of their advertising budgets into familiarizing these numbers to their customers. Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento was no exception. With an easily identifiable landline, the nearly hundred-year-old company was heavily invested in the continued use of that number. Josh Jacoby, IT Manager for Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento, says “The ability to use the same well publicized number for Yellow Cab was essential.”

Many frequent customers already had the main dispatch line saved in their mobile contact lists. After implementing Zipwhip, Yellow Cab found an extensive backlog of texts from customers.

We were surprised that on day one we had customers using SMS — they had been using it all along but never got any responses because we weren’t listening.

                                                            -Josh Jacoby

After seeing the volume of unfulfilled orders, Yellow Cab recognized the gains possible by adopting a text-enabled landline. With their phone number limited to voice-only functionality, Zipwhip unlocked the mobile-for-hire solutions that their clientele expected. Jacoby goes on to say how “It has been a convenient way to communicate with our drivers.” By increasing the volume of orders received, and streamlining internal work flow processes, Zipwhip provides the immediate mobile-for-hire solutions that traditional taxi companies need to stay competitive.

Why We Continue To Text Instead Of Download

Apps are lame

As smartphone sales continue to rise, the number of apps available to us rise as well. But not everyone is convinced this is a good thing. Author Golden Krishna argues that we’ve become an app-obsessed society who is more concerned with swiping and two-finger pinches than finding the best tool for the job. In an ideal world an app should improve a process. Instead, many apps waste time and can make tasks more tedious.

Consumers are realizing this, and many are already starting to drift away from loading app upon app. According to a recent study, 65% of smartphone users don’t download a new app in a given month. While people are still spending plenty of time using apps, they are sticking to the apps they’ve already downloaded on their smartphones. What does this mean for businesses? Maybe creating an expensive custom app isn’t the right solution to communicate with customers.

One question we often get at Zipwhip is, will SMS lose out to new messaging alternatives like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger? It’s a valid question, since texting doesn’t offer the same list of robust features like apps do. But what is commonly overlooked is SMS’s ubiquity and efficiency. 91% of smartphone users actively use SMS messaging compared to 55% that use alternative messaging methods. According to a May 2012 report, main factors for SMS having higher popularity than over-the-top (OTT) messaging services were speed, reach, and reliability. For times when you need to reach someone immediately, texting remains the most proven solution.

Forbes on Zipwhip – “less sexy, more impactful”

Forbes

It’s not everyday you wake up to an article in Forbes stating that your business is “slightly less sexy, but arguably more impactful” than multi-billion dollar super-hot startups. Although startup stardom is nice to have, we’re more interested in building a sustainable industry with consistent revenue growth. Forbes puts their own spin on Zipwhip’s disruption “from within” and the opportunity we created.

Forbes contributor Ben Kepes wrote an article about Zipwhip titled “Helping Fight Against Disruption– Zipwhip Avoids the ‘Uber Syndrome.'” Kepes, who covers how technology helps business compete, wrote about how disruption can come within incumbent industry leaders, using the examples of the popular app Uber and regular cab companies. Cab companies were caught off guard by the unanticipated popularity of rideshare apps and are fighting tooth and nail to keep their market share. Although these cab companies were previously unreceptive to integrating new technologies, they are increasing seeking solutions like Zipwhip to stay ahead of fierce competition.

To read the article, click here.

7 Things You Need to Know on E2P Texting

With the unveiling of texting on toll free numbers last year came a lot of questions on how it’s different from texting on local 10-digit numbers. A new category of texting referred to as Enterprise-to-Person (E2P) has taken form and is heavily powered by Zipwhip’s emphasis on modernizing the SMS medium for consumer to business texting.

If you’re a business with a call center and specifically a business promoting a toll free support line, you have a requirement to support high volume texting—it’s not an option. E2P texting services gives you the ability to support this traffic on your toll free number with 1000 SMS/second throughput, which is vastly different from the legacy inter-carrier limitations of 1 SMS/second on local 10-digit numbers. This advancement is made possible via Zipwhip’s direct connectivity into wireless operators for this new type of SMS traffic.

The following table shows the 7 things you need to know on the core differences between E2P and P2P texting.

table as picture 2

Review full presentation by clicking through the slides below.

Zipwhip Lasso’s For-Hire Transportation at TLPA in San Antonio

$DAN$

 

This past week, we sent two of Zipwhip’s finest, Kelsey and Dan, down to the Taxicab, Limousine, & Paratransit Association (TLPA) Conference with our trusty work horse, the Textpresso , and our brand spanking new text enabled photo booth. From app developers, to dispatch software big shots, to the nation’s leading transportation providers, all took the old dusty trail down to San Antonio for the event to meet with the titans of the for-hire transport industry.

The place was buzzing with representatives looking for tools and ideas to compete with the likes of Uber and rideshare companies. Companies like Uber have changed the way consumers and the entire industry think about communication with each other, and we want in on the race.

Zipwhip’s cloud texting solutions help to unlock the mobile-for-hire capabilities that cab companies need to keep pace in a rapidly changing industry. With the vast majority of landlines trapped with voice-only functionality, Zipwhip was proud to represent the mobile-for-hire solutions that the industry’s mobile savvy clientele have come to expect.

Kelsey and Dan got to share the success we’ve had with our transportation partners like Black Crown, Ambassador, and Yellow Cabs of Nashville and Sacramento with many other transportation companies. These companies saw an opportunity to take advantage of their heavily-leveraged existing phone numbers, and we wanted to offer other companies the same opportunity.

Zipwhip Keywords

Zipwhip works relentlessly to experiment with new product innovation. In this spirit of innovation, we’re thrilled to announce our newest Enterprise-level functionality: Keywords. Building strong lines of communication with customers is essential to success, and we’re excited to help encourage those relationships. Adding keywords can more efficiently field, direct, and monetize customer interactions. Set specific keywords like “hours”, “appointment”, or “coupon” to trigger an automated response with the exact information customers are asking for. Throw in a link to your website, social media accounts, or advertising partner for reference too.

Here’s some strategic ways our costumers have taken advantage of keywords:

Send ’em a specific link.
Our long-time partners at Express Employment Professionals have once again taken things one step further. Job seekers text in the name of their city (ie.”Seattle”) and receive a message with a link that shows them a list of available jobs. For the Express office, instead of reaching out to a large pool of job seekers to fill a job, job seekers can reach out to recruiters instead. Genius.

text staffing, text link, text url

 

Send instructions (appointments).
One of our high text traffic salons sees a lot of requests to set appointments. To make the process go a little faster, they set up the keyword “appointment”. The keyword is set up to shoot back a response with instructions to include their name and multiple times they’d be available for an appointment.

text salon, text appointment, text reminder, text salon, text spa

Send in a keyword to receive a keyword menu (hospitality).
Hotel guests are able to text the keyword “menu” to get a complete list of all the keyword options they have. The great thing about integrating keywords with the current Zipwhip product is that you don’t lose the core of our product. If the listed options aren’t what you’re looking for, there’s still the possibility of texting the main front desk line with whatever question you have.

Text confirmation, text reservation, text offers, text promotion, text hospitality

 

Keywords offer the ease of a mobile information solution and highly personal level of engagement for businesses seeking to bolster their existing customer relations.  Keywords are the perfect solution for that personal touch businesses need to stay engaged with their customers in today’s competitive market.

To add this feature to your Zipwhip account, contact support@zipwhip.com.

KEXP Now Taking Your Text Donations

For the first time ever, Zipwhip is powering a radio station with the ability to let listeners text to donate. Texting to donate is accessible and convenient for so many people that this could be the next big thing for radio fundraising efforts. KEXP is the local radio darling of the University of Washington and has a soft spot in most Seattleites’s hearts, so we’re thrilled to be working with them on this breakthrough.

KEXP recently launched their annual Fall Fundraising Drive with the ability to text in a keyword to donate. The Fall Fundraising Drive is an effort to drive the idea of a “listener powered radio” home (pun intended) and really engage listeners to participate and give to their community-run organization.

If you’re curious, here’s a quick run down on how it works:

1. Text ‘Give’ to KEXP at (206) 903-KEXP.

KEXP text

2. Click on the link to select your donation preference. (KEXP really took advantage of their mobile optimized page by integrating with text donations!)

kexp donate

3. Enter your credit card information to complete the donation.

payment info

In one week, 77 KEXP listeners contributed a total of $2262, far exceeding expectations for text messaging donations. As radio stations move into a more digital sphere, text messaging is quickly proving to increase donations through mobile fundraising. Texting makes it easier than ever before for listeners to support their favorite radio stations in a matter of seconds.

Find out more about Zipwhip for radio at zipwhip.com/radio

College Radio Day Contest

RadioDJAs the first day of rain falls on the Pacific Northwest, it symbolically reminds us that summer is almost over and fall is right around the corner. Colleges across the country are back in session, and students are finally back on campus. A select few of those students, with their knit hats, flannels, skinny jeans, and American Spirits have made their way back into the DJ booths of the nation’s college radio stations. Thankfully, we can all finally emerge from the doldrums of summer pop radio and don’t have to hear Pharrell’s “Happy” until May.

After another year of working with college radio stations from Alaska to Florida, the Zipwhip Radio team has two major announcements. The first is the brand new Zipwhip for Radio page. Here, stations can learn about the value of text messaging their existing studio or request phone number. Also, we are excited to announce Zipwhip’s second annual College Radio Day contest. College Radio Day is was created in 2010 to raise awareness about many small but innovative independent college radio stations whose musical taste are responsible for broadcasting the burgeoning 1980’s punk and 1990’s grunge music to the masses. To honor these pioneering stations, Zipwhip wants to hear from you, college radio station devotees, about your favorite college radio stations. In the week leading up to College Radio Day (Friday, October 3rd), you can vote for your favorite station on our Facebook page. The two radio stations with the most votes will win a free year of service, and two lucky voters will win a swag pack from Zipwhip and a twenty-dollar Starbucks gift card.

Click here to enter (http://on.fb.me/1wNAsVP) or go directly to our Facebook page. Like the page if you haven’t already, then enter the station’s call letters and their respective college (i.e. “KEXP at University of Washington”) below the entry form. That’s all there is to it. We will announce the winner of the contest on Friday, October 3rd at 5pm PST. Not a terrible way to start the new term.

Zipwhip Highlights from CTIA 2014

Lauer_Speech_

Another exciting CTIA Super Mobility Week is in the books. The event is the nation’s largest forum for mobile innovation where industry leaders discuss the latest mobility trends today with industry peers. Zipwhip was honored to attend and display our own innovations with other wireless industry movers and shakers. With three days full of meetings, two Textpressos, and even a photo booth, there was no shortage of excitement.

The show really kicked into gear Tuesday afternoon after John Lauer, Zipwhip CEO, gave a speech entitled “Why the Phone Number is not Dead.” John outlined his top ten reasons why the phone number as we know it is still a vital tool for the mobile ecosystem to leverage for years to come.

In addition to the Lauer’s discussion, Zipwhip was excited to debut Sprint hard goods mobile payment method. After refitting one of the Textpressos, Sprint mobile subscribers and CTIA attendees were encouraged to text the text enabled expresso machine’s toll free number to buy a coffee that would then be charged to their monthly phone bill. Payment via text message is an industry first for a US wireless operator. Sprint is now working towards enabling all their post paid subscribers to purchase hard goods, like a carryout order or morning beverage, and have that purchase added to a separate section of their monthly phone bill.

Zipwhip also demonstrated MMS over Verizon network for toll-free with an interactive photo booth. The Zipwhip team unveiled this announcement Tuesday night at the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan where photo booth pics were sent from the photo booth’s landline phone number to the recipient’s mobile phone number. The party proved to be one of the best attended at the conference as Zipwhip  mingled with industry leaders and even celebrated a little bit ourselves.

Zipwhip celebrates Seafair in style

Party_Blog_Photo_

At the beginning of  the month, the Zipwhip team was honored  with an invitation to a Sunday Seafair party by noted friend of Zipwhip, Jay Westerdal.

Jay, Icy, and their adorable daughter Coral welcomed members of the Zipwhip team, their family, and friends to their lovely home, complete with tiki bar, on Mercer Island.

While the Eastside employees braved traffic on I-90, the Seattle-based employees arraigned other transportation. Head of Sales and Business Development, Lucas Price, was kind enough to ferry the Westsiders and a delicious spread from Ohana Restaurant in Belltown on his boat from West Lake Union to the Westerdal’s welcoming abode. The Zipwhip team ate, drank, and mingled, celebrating a summer of hard fought successes.  Our gracious hosts and their adorable new daughter set a celebratory and relaxed tone that everyone enjoyed even more than the front row seats for the Blue Angels.

After swimming, swilling, sunning, and sufficient time on the water trampoline, the sated Zipwhip crew assembled the troops and took the boat across Lake Washington back to Seattle.

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