The Game of Nigeria’s Bike-Hailing War

The Game of Nigeria’s Bike-Hailing War

It is no longer news that Gokada is on a 12 day journey to improve its services. The question then is why do you have to take a break before you can improve your service? In this piece, I will highlight a few developments that I believe informed this move.

  1. The Need for Blue Ocean

Within two years of growing activities in the motorbike hailing space in Nigeria, the small drop of water has turned into a great ocean and surprisingly it’s now a Red Ocean. With players like Max.ng, Gokada, ORide, the movement of activities changed. Price is no longer a big deal as ORide came with a ridiculous price that left others with no hope.

What then can possibly be done differently? The answer is Service! Professionalism must be weaved into the fabric of any brand that will compete with ORide. This is primarily what GoKada set out for.

In the note released by Fahim Saleh (GoKada Co-C.E.O.) he said “It’s not easy criticizing your own company. But either I could ignore these issues and move along happily like everything was fine. Or I could realize that this kind of thing is happening to our customers thousands of times over. I am not ok with that. Gokada was started to change the perception of what the bike taxi could be in terms of safety, convenience, and transparency”. 

Max rider in Nigeria

This was a statement that narrates his unpalatable ordeal while trying to hail Gokada bike from Lagos V.I. to Third Mainland Bridge.

He believes the brand is far from fulfilling its promise (safety, convenience, and transparency).

I also have a series of experience with different motorbike hailing brands. So, I can talk about how service can make a difference. The best of my experience is always when I take MaxOkada, there’s this premium feeling that accompany their brand, from the type of bike and helmet to their champions’ (MaxOkada called their drivers Champion) driving skill. However, Gokada and ORide hardly give me the same feeling.

Fahim however stated that the 12 days shutdown will result in improved service from the brand with a re-trained Pilots on using navigation and adequate use of the app for service delivery, new set of bikes, among others.

My Take: Price will take you far but exceptional service is the only guarantee to keep you up. Sure, Gokada has received a great hit in market share within this break but if they can be back with a significantly improved service, then, I can speak of their survival.

  1. The Loss of Key Resources to Competitors

Like I stated earlier, the most obvious reason is the need to create a Blue Ocean however, a lead to this need is the loss of key resources to their competitor (ORide).

In less than a year, Gokada has lost key resources as high as its Co-founder to ORide. Below is a list as reported by WeeTracker.

  1. Awolowo Moses: Awolowo Moses was the co-founder/COO of Gokada. He currently works as the Director of Business Operations at ORide.
  2. Ebunoluwa Shipe: served at GoKada as Head of Driver Support/Experience, currently working as a Senior Operation Manager at OPay
  3. Awe Oluwakayode: currently working as a Senior Operations Manager at OPay but previously as Driver Acquisition and Road Operations Officer at Gokada.
  4. Akinwale Afolabi: left Gokada earlier this year (Feb 2019), and joined OPay May 2019 as the Senior Manager, Growth and Marketing.
  5. Riders Dumped GoKada for ORide: there are reports that upon confirmation that a driver is from Gokada, he will get a sign-on fee of N36,000.

Report also has it that both Jumia’s dispatchers and MaxOkada riders have been poached by ORide.

So, I believe this is a big blow that can lead to service inefficiency for Gokada hence the need for urgent restructure (Gokada 2.0).

While working on a better service, I will advice Gokada to also pay a very good attention to Talent acquisition and retention because it’s all about PEOPLE.


Photo Credit: originally the Game of Throne season screenshot.

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