Experience Trumps Perception

Uber had a rough month in the media. A former female engineer exposed their culture of sexual harassment and Newsweek best highlights a dozen other problems with the company.

Rationally, knowledge of these might be enough to impact one’s use of the app. Much of their behaviour is really not cool.

But I continue to ride with them. I can’t really justify it, but Uber retains a high enough level of motivation and ease – the two factors you need to impact in behaviour change.

That is, until this week. An Uber trip that was fine until I got out of the car, when the ride wasn’t terminated by the driver. I realised five minutes later, took a screen shot and cancelled the trip (automatically paying the full fare as it was at the time I cancelled).

A disappointing experience, but one that could be easily corrected when I sent Uber the screenshot.

Sadly, more than a week and eight emails later, as well as several attempts on social media – I still have not been refunded that portion of the trip.

Here’s how a driver’s mistake becomes an incompetent company cheating a customer.

An infuriating loop of scripted responses quickly shows how poor their system is. Particularly when none address my actual problem, and are always condescendingly signed off with how much they appreciate the time I’ve taken.

When I finally get through to a human, I’m told “the fare you were charged is within our estimate for the trip […] as a result, the fare was not adjusted”. Their algorithm supersedes the fact a driver cost me a few dollars. When I question this, the loop of automated incompetence begins again.

It was not their sexist culture or deceptive arrogance that stopped me using Uber, but an awful customer experience. Over only a few dollars they lose a loyal customer.

While it’s fun to invest in activities that generates media buzz (like Uber bringing puppies to workplaces) you can’t overlook the importance of customer experience, which always trumps perception.

Anyone got a Lyft promo code? (Who interestingly are also using media stunts wrapped in activism to drive growth, although only after another blunder by Uber of course.)

  • Anonymous
    Posted at June 22, 2017 7:53am, 22 June Reply

    > An infuriating loop of scripted responses quickly show how poor there system is.

    should be: An infuriating loop of scripted responses quickly shows how poor their system is.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at June 22, 2017 11:12am, 22 June Reply

    Good catch, thanks.

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