A Hack for Hire: How Tweeting for a Taxi Pays Off

Chicago Taxi Driver Who TweetsHave you ever taken a ride in a taxi and liked the cabbie so much you wish he could be at your beck and call? If you live in Chicago, your wish can come true — thanks to the magic of social media.

Cabbie Rashid Temuri gets most of his customers through Twitter. Customers can follow him on the social media network and check his location on Google Latitude or find My Friends so that when they need a cab, they can tell if he’s nearby and then tweet for a ride.

According to a recent story on ars technica, Temuri has built a loyal customer base because of his social media habits as well as because of his customer service.

A typical cabbie would put his hack up for availability through his company’s dispatch service, responding to calls from customers that are relayed to him. But Temuri – whose Twitter handle is @ChicagoCabbie  – posts his availability on Twitter and often will offer a special deal, like the time he tweeted an offer of $5 off the meter until 2pm on a trip to either of Chicago’s airports. He also offers free Wi-Fi in his cab.

It’s paying off. Temuri thinks that his social media clients represent about 90-95% of his repeat business. That enables him to pick up conversations begun on the last ride and the clients welcome getting back into his cab, knowing it’s a driver they can trust from prior experience.

Surprisingly, that wasn’t his goal when he launched his Twitter account. Originally, he just wanted to use it as a tool to help customers understand the nature of the taxi business and avoid common misunderstandings between cabbies and clients.

Temuri prefers Twitter to some of the other ways to book cabs and rides. Taxi Magic and Uber both enable folks to call a cab via a text message, for example, but charge fees to the drivers.

How likely are you to tweet for a taxi? And are you surprised by the success of using Twitter for small-scale business or customer service?  Let us know in the comments below.

(Also see our post about the Twitter-using ballgame beer vendor: Take Me Out To The Ballgame….and Tweet for Beer!)