RidesWithFriends began as a cost sharing strategy that would save individuals travelling in the same direction. The idea to turn into a business similar to a taxi company came later. Nevertheless, it has quite a broad range of target market at hand. To begin with, families and individuals are the largest target market for RidesWithFriends. These comprise of people who are out for holidays and pleasurable rides.
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In some instances, it might be small, medium, or large groups as well as family members (Zhou 2013, p. 133). Such a target market is obviously profitable for this type of a subsidized car hire services since most of them prefer being driven to specific destinations. Individuals who are working class headed towards the same direction may opt to hire taxi services to distant destinations while limousine services can be the best alternative for luxury car hire services (Fearne, Garcia & Dent 2012).
It is crucial to mention that RidesWithFriends has positioned itself in the market as a cheaper alternative to the ordinary car hire business. Therefore, by targeting the above segment of the market, it will be able to reap the desired returns. In any case, the above target market comprises of the largest segment of travelers who would like to cut down on travelling costs (Zhou 2013, p. 132). This target market is also made up of travelers mostly located in urban and suburban areas.
The second most likely target market is the usual high-end business traveler who is keen on not just being dropped to a destination, but also excellence in service provision. Business travelers value both cost and comfort in the course of discharging their duties. This implies that the company will have to set itself in strategic locations such as airports and hotels.
Activities taking place in step one are very important in the value chain of RidesWithFriends. The core business goal of RidesWithFriends is to make profit. However, this objective cannot be easily achieved unless the management team at RidesWithFriends peruse and analyze activities and/or services being offered to clients. In other words, the activities of the car rental firm should aim to improve customer satisfaction and experience on a daily basis. Therefore, it is crucial for the company to brainstorm the state of its current activities and whether customers get value for their moneys (Zhou 2013, p. 133).
Analysis of activities at the RidesWithFriends firm should entail step-by-step business procedures that the organization can utilize to offer the much needed products to clients (Fearne et al 2012). At this initial point of the value chain, the management at RidesWithFriends may engage itself in brainstorming and analyzing activities such as support systems to customers, general service delivery, operational processes, order taking and sales as well as the overall marketing strategies of the car rental business. Specifically, RidesWithFriends may also study its state of cars (model and make, new or old) and whether they appeal to the target market.
Some of the activities that can be worth considering by the management at RidesWithFriends include how the best service can be offered by recruiting skilled manpower, how the team of employees can perform well through workplace motivation, development and adoption of effective and efficient service delivery methods, embracing state-of-the-art technologies that can boost the performance of RidesWithFriends, and methods of obtaining regular feedback from customers and how to set and implement measures for improvement (Zhou 2013, p. 134).
Step two entails value factors. Listing “value factors” should be the next step after identifying activities that RidesWithFriends is undertaking. These comprise of business aspects valued by clients especially in regards to how individual activities are carried out. Some of activities that the management can perform at this step include booking, obtaining and processing quotes from customers, and taking orders. In this case, RidesWithFriends should be in a position to acknowledge the fact that customers value prompt feedback done in a polite way. Other value factors entail effective and quick resolution to emerging queries from customers and knowledgeable answering of questions from customers. Each of the value factors should be aligned with the activities identified above.
Changes should be evaluated in step three. Before any action plan can be implemented, it is prudent for the management to evaluate whether the above changes are feasible (Zhou 2013, p. 135). In other words, can all the proposals be executed with positive gains or outcomes? In any case, it is possible to point out hundreds of activities and value factors and not implement even a single one. The management should be a bit careful. The cheap, achievable wins should be picked first even as the organization aspires to meet the needs, tastes and preferences of customers. Thereafter, more demanding and cumbersome changes should be screened (Fearne et al 2012). Activities that are costly, may deliver marginal gains or are impractical should be abandoned altogether. Such activities include sharp increase in charges, hiring additional employees, purchasing new transport vehicles and limiting airport transfers.
In step four, the remaining tasks should be tackled in a stepwise manner. Activities at this step include developing a Smartphone application for booking services, a simplified way of requesting quotes as well as capacity building and training for customer care officers.
RidesWithFriends differs substantially from its market rivals in step 4 of the value chain analysis. It can be observed that in step 4, the company is already using GPS to assist its clients locate available vehicles. It is also possible for RidesWithFriends to include fare estimates so that clients can easily know using the GPS and GIS systems. It is interesting to note that most car hire services do not have such services and therefore, RidesWithFriends stands out as the sole provider.
Another outstanding difference in the services provided by RidesWithFriends is that customers can electronically book for car hire services by using either the website or mobile phone application software. Examples of activities in step 5 include training, support, installation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). RidesWithFriends can improve its CRM by engaging customers regularly using feedback forms (Fearne et al 2012).
The company has the best opportunity to train its support staff and offer capacity building using the latest Information Technology applications. The main difference is that staff members can be taught online in shifts as part and parcel of the action plans.
The fourth stage is best stage where the firm should invest technologically because positive results are desired. For instance, Geographic Positioning System (GPS) can be adopted by the company in all regions it covers. In addition, Geographic Information System (GIS) comes in handy at this point. Both GPS and GIS technologies can be implemented by RidesWithFriends. Competition is also rife at the fourth stage of the value chain. The chart below shows various stages of value chain analysis for RidesWithFriends.
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Fearne, A., Garcia, M, & Dent, B 2012, ‘Dimensions of sustainable value chains: implications for value chain analysis’,Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 17, no. 6, pp.575-581.
Zhou, X 2013, ‘Research on Logistics Value Chain Analysis and Competitiveness Construction for Express Enterprises’, American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 131-135.