In this opinion piece, Andrew Birmingham, editor of digital business site Which-50.com, says rather than rage about disruption, brands should put their efforts into winning back their deserting customer base…
Pity the poor taxi industry. Well actually you don’t need to, they are already running a fine line in self indulgence.
This week the ACCC knocked back an attempt by incumbent taxi companies to force us all to use a single app – not even a hint of a nod to competition.
They never learn. Probably, they never will.
In fact they are almost comic book villains in the war between incumbency and digital insurgency. They have tried rent seeking, complaining, scare tactics, the courts, and in Brisbane at least one of their members bragged on Facebook about assaulting an Uber driver. The taxi industry’s response to that behaviour was that somehow it was Uber’s fault. You get the picture.
Maybe they might try offering a better service at a lower price.
The taxi industry is hardly the first one to wallow in the manifest unfairness of capitalism when cosy certainties unwind.
Remember for instance the unedifying spectacle of Australia’s traditional retail industry billionaires trooping off the Canberra and demanding irrational changes to the GST law – reminiscent of the bad old days when vested interests routinely went seeking special preference in tariff protections.
They got their way of course and now we have a tax that costs more to administer than it collects. The fact that the incumbents and their cheer leaders keep talking about “protecting the integrity of the tax system” whenever the irrationality of the GST extension is challenged tells you everything you need to know about their real motives.
This week another incumbent Channel Nine floated the idea via the usual channels that it would punish consumers using ad blockers by banning them from its site.
(Notice something missing? Nah. me either)
Apart from the obvious retort that such an action hardly constitutes a threat it belies an ongoing attitude – found across banking, media, retail and of course the taxi industry – that incumbents can tell their customers where to hop off.
They might want to take a lesson from the travel and music and software industries about where power ultimately resides.