Say goodbye to firstname.lastname@example.org, the email address used by drivers and passengers to report everything from lost bags to fishy-looking fares to fisticuffs spurred by lost bags or fishy-looking fares. The company is mothballing the email address it has used for six years, and replacing it with a new customer service feature that can be found within the app itself.
Riders will be able to see their rating instantly
Over the next three weeks, Uber will phase out the email address first in the US, and then globally. The company says by shifting customer support from email to the app, response times will go down and customer satisfaction will go up. In a blog post Wednesday, Uber says that customer service has already increased 10 percent since it started rolling out the new in-app feature, though it's unclear where and how the company measures this.
The decision to junk the email address is the result of Uber's rapid expansion across the globe, as well as a desire to make the process of reporting problems more efficient. Uber says customer service via email doesn't work very well in countries with limited email adoption, like India and Indonesia. Also, sending an email to complain about a trip or report an abusive rider can be cumbersome and redundant, Uber says.
Speaking of ratings, under this new system, riders will now have instant access to their rating from drivers. Previously, customer ratings were only available by request — now riders can see how popular (or unpopular) they are with drivers at the touch of a button.
Uber has come under fire recently for its customer response operations.
At first glance, though, the new in-app customer support system can appear limiting. If a rider has a problem with a specific trip, they are brought to a menu of 12 categories, such as "I lost an item" or "I had an issue with my driver." Selecting a category brings up another list of categories to choose from, but it's not immediately clear what riders and drivers are meant to do if the issue they wish to report falls outside Uber's prefabricated list.
Uber has come under fire recently for its customer response operations. An investigation by Buzzfeed found that hundreds of customer service representatives who review the messages about lost items and passenger altercations have been terminated in droves over the last several years. The firings came as Uber has shifted much of its customer service operations from the US to foreign countries like India and the Philippines. Uber says it still has two "centers of excellence" in the US, one in Chicago and another in Phoenix.
Uber forcefully rejected the Buzzfeed report that also found over 6,000 support tickets over a 33-month period that contained the phrase "sexual assault" and over 5,000 containing the word "rape." The ride-hail company defended itself by saying that only five reports of rape and no more than 170 claims of sexual assault from the leaked batch of data were valid allegations.