Our attention at CreativityTurf turned to Addison Lee, we just watched the “Babies In The Office” documentary which made us remember the London bus lane battle the company had; and the cyclists anger towards the company; and this made us think we should do a write up on the entrepreneurial success of Addison Lee under the chairmanship of co-founder John Griffin.
My first use of their service was in 2009, at my brother’s wedding. He had contracted the transporting of family members for the occasion to Addison Lee, also each groomsman had one vehicle to themselves and I was the best-man. I remember calling to say, I was going to need a cab in the next 30 minutes, and in 15 minutes a cab had arrived, I was about to panic because I was not ready, then I got a text, telling me to take my time, the taxi would wait. Needless to say I was already impressed even before I boarded the shiny Ford Galaxy; also the driver’s courtesy impressed me.
Addison Lee has surely changed the minicab and private hire industry by infusing technology into their business. Simply by promising to have a cab with you within 20 minutes, giving the customer the details of the taxi and the driver’s number, and another text confirming the arrival of the driver.
Addison Lee was launched with a single car in 1975. With the idea that each car would look the same, the drivers would wear uniforms, with good training and discipline and corporate customers would get a priority service – which today means that within 10 minutes of booking. The target of corporate customers killed the transport department in most companies. The target John Griffin set was for them to have 100 cars at the minimum for them to start making some money in the business. And he went about achieving that by gradually setting little weekly achievable targets – like hoping to add 5 cars in a week. John Griffin said he noticed most big cab companies usually peaked at 250, and after a while a decline sets in, and he attributed it to the time wasted in booking cabs, and he thought with the introduction of technology in the business he was going to be able to beat that.
Now the company is Europe’s biggest minicab firm and operates a fleet of 3,500 vehicles with over 2,200 drivers and annual revenues of £180m. One can even order a car in less than 60 seconds on the firm’s iPhone app. The success of Addison Lee has made Griffin, a wealthy man, worth over £50m. Half of the parent company is owned by Griffin and his sons Liam and Kieran and the other half is owned by Daryl Foster, whose father helped finance the company’s start-up.
John Griffin believes good customer service and honesty has helped build the Addison Lee brand.