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Italian taxi app Wetaxi secures best passenger experience with Apifonica’s Call masking

Being a taxi aggregator means taking responsibility for things you can’t quite control. Since you don’t own the services you provide, you are dependent on how good your partner network is. Aggregator’s business is very much a subject to the Weakest Link Principle: you’re only as strong as your weakest partner. If something goes wrong with a ride, it’s an aggregator that passengers would blame for a poor service, not a direct provider.

Wetaxi, an italian ride-hailing app collaborating with dozens of taxi services across the country, found a way to put passenger experience under control. They use Apifonica-powered Call Masking service to supervise the passenger experience and protect customer data from misuse.

The middleman’s curse in the taxi business

What could possibly go wrong with the taxi ride? Well, many things.

First, when an aggregator shares passenger contacts with a driver (and vice versa), they step into the heavily-regulated territory of personal data protection. Under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), failure to properly protect customer personal data is fraught with notable fines. There’s a bunch of stories circulating around the Internet like “a taxi driver called his passenger and asked her out”, or “a passenger is phone-stalking a driver”. These all are examples of personal data misuse, where an aggregator is at the risk of fines for “leaking” the personal contact info.

Second, there’s a part of the ride that is crucial for customer experience, while little visible to taxi companies. We’re talking about one-to-one interactions between the driver and the passenger. At this point, a driver’s misbehaviour can destroy the experience completely, no matter how nice is your app and how advanced is your technology stack.

Controlling the uncontrollable

Established in 2017 in Turin, Italy, Wetaxi was the first application in Europe to introduce shared taxi rides in real time. The company currently operates in 22 Italian cities, collaborating with dozens of radio taxi services. In the Wetaxi app, passengers can order a taxi, follow it’s position in real time, pay for the ride, and share their feedback.

As a top player on the highly competitive taxi market, Wetaxi knew the critical importance of passenger experience for a taxi company’s success. From the very beginning, they were focusing on making the Wetaxi app the most simple, straight-forward and transparent taxi app in the country.

But ordering a taxi through the app is only the beginning of the customer journey. Even the absolutely best app experience can be ruined by what happens next, in real life. With that in mind, Wetaxi’s team was constantly looking for improvements on every stage where a customer interacts with their service.

At first sight, from the moment when the driver has accepted the order, the taxi app has little to no influence on what happens next. Will the driver arrive fast? Will they be nice and polite with the customer? That’s up to the partner radio taxi and every particular driver... some may think. But not a tech-savvy company.

Following the best practices from the world’s most renowned taxi brands, Wetaxi introduced the Call Masking service, powered by Apifonica. Call masking expands the control zone of the taxi aggregator, putting them in the position where they can supervise communication between a driver and a passenger.

Call masking is a technology that automatically replaces real phone numbers with virtual ones, called “masks”. All the calls made from and to these numbers are visible to a taxi company: they are logged and recorded. Besides, Call Masking allows a driver and a passenger to call each other on the phone without exposing their contact details. Passengers can be sure their personal data is safe with Wetaxi, not shared with anyone, ever.

How the taxi Call Masking works

Wetaxi keeps personal contacts safe, providing a temporary channel for driver-passenger communication for each ride.

When the driver accepts the order through Wetaxi, the app assigns virtual phone numbers to both the driver and the passenger. When the driver calls the passenger (or vice versa), Apifonica captures the call and forwards it to the passenger’s permanent (“real”) phone number. The passenger receives a call from the driver’s virtual number and may answer or call back. All the calls between drivers and passengers may be recorded for quality control and claim resolution purposes.

Once the ride is completed, the virtual numbers remain active for 24 hours, to allow contacts related to forgotten items.

In a modern world, “safe taxi ride” means much more than just an okay ride. Taking extra steps to protect personal data adds an additional level of “safety” to the overall passenger experience. With the Apifonica’s Call masking, Wetaxi gets more control of how and where driver-passenger communication happens.

More about Phone Masking

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