Uber doesn’t want to hear about your complaints or problems with its service, at least over email. The on-demand private car service is moving away from offering support through traditional electronic means in favor of handling matters within its help section on the app. The expectation is that finding answers in-app will help resolve things more quickly and easily, both for riders and drivers.
Eliminating email from customer support won’t take place immediately — the company told VentureBeat that it’ll be a phased rollout.
Offering in-app support isn’t brand new to Uber, as the company rolled it out last year. It was only available for those in the U.S. at first, but now it’s available worldwide. Since then, riders and drivers have still been able to ask for help using email, but not for long. If you email firstname.lastname@example.org, you’ll receive an auto-response instructing you to submit your issue through the app and that no agent has received it.
In the help section of the app, you’ll see your trip history and get the ability to report a variety of issues dealing with your trip, account, and payment. You can even find out what your rating is instantly. The goal is to provide as much automation as possible so you can solve your problems as quickly as possible.
An example is if you happen to leave your wallet in a car: Previously, you needed to email or contact Uber support, who would then have to contact the driver, which was inefficient. When done in-app, you just enter your phone number and you’re instantly connected with your last driver. Uber said that the phone numbers of both parties are modified so no one will ever see your real number.
Dealing with cancellation fees is also an automated process. Instead of having to reach out to an agent and explain what happened, you can tap a couple buttons and receive a refund if it’s for legitimate reasons. To minimize fraud from occurring, Uber said that it conducts systematic auditing.
Another feature within the app is a messaging option for when you need to contact a support agent and the frequently asked question-like option Uber offers isn’t working. While new for the company, it’s not something it invented. The interface is akin to what you’d encounter in other customer support environments when you file a ticket, and it offers a complete history of your ticket. Uber said it’s good for international markets like China and India because some drivers may not have an email address, but would like to know answers to specific questions. It’s not in real-time like Facebook Messenger, though.
Uber claims that it has seen a 10 percent increase in customer satisfaction with the in-app system, as well as a growth in contract resolution, while the time to resolution went down, largely due to the fact that now issues are easily routed to the right group within the company.
The move away from email could eventually help Uber better analyze what riders and drivers find problematic about the service and better address them. Of course, it also may be a way to lighten the workload of support agents, who reportedly have been dealing with less than favorable working conditions.