Public Relations 101: You Can’t Force Someone to Like You

taxidriver

You can’t force your customers to choose you. Second Cup doesn’t strong-arm customers of Starbucks to buy their five dollar lattes instead. Bookstores don’t kick down your door and frogstep you to their shop when you try to order off of Amazon. Even if they were on legal grounds to do so, they would be fools to try it as it would only further drive people into the arms of their competitors.

There is a proposed taxi strike in Toronto, to coincide with the NBA All-Star Weekend. Every time the cab industry takes a step like this it ups the ranks of Uber customers. Private ride sharing is an inevitability and cab services will need to be competitive against it.

To date the cab co’s weapon has been spreading FUD (fear/uncertainty/doubt), “if it’s not a cab then it’s unsafe and it’s uninsured and unregulated.” But Edmonton’s already adjusted their bylaws to accommodate the service. The insurance industry in Canada are adjusting their products and offerings to allow for the service.

Every one of these protests and staged actions has generated enormous publicity and awareness for Uber. Have you seen billboards for Uber? Have you seen television or newspaper ads for Uber? Uber hasn’t had to spend tens of millions of dollars to get you to know about and consider their service because their competition is doing it all for them.

When all the FUD is out of the way, both services are going to be judged on their own merits and the cabbies are squandering the one business advantage they still have – an existing customer base who are in the habit of taking cabs.

Inconvenience the people who would otherwise hop a cab, force them to take Uber because you’ve withdrawn your service, and learn the hard way that you can’t force your customers to choose you.

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