CX Lessons From An Uber Ride

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I have used Uber many times over the years. I always request a driver at the moment I need transportation. But recently, I tested out Uber’s pre-scheduling option for a ride to the airport. At the beginning of my journey, my experience was excellent. Then a glitch happened that shifted my perspective on using Uber again for time-sensitive events. I will get to that point in a moment.

Let’s first discuss why I initially felt delighted, because other companies can replicate these factors to satisfy their customers. At the beginning of my journey, I was…

1. Kept INFORMED. Uber systems sent me alerts, communicating that my driver, Chris, was on his way with an expected time of arrival.
2. Picked up ON TIME. Chris arrived when he was supposed to, reducing any anxiety I had about getting to the airport on time.
3. Experienced a WOW MOMENT. Unlike my last driver, Chris got out of his car and helped lift my heavy luggage into the trunk without my asking for help. He genuinely cared, as his actions spoke louder than words.
4. CAPTIVATED by stories. Our conversations were interesting, and it made my long drive go by quickly.
5. COMFORTABLE and SAFE. Chris was a good driver. I had no fear during my entire ride.



When Technology Affects CX

While Chris did everything in his control to make my experience highly satisfying, technology created the opposite effect. Uber requires drivers to use its GPS system, powered by Google. The real-time information on Chris’s map was 100% false. We were sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, yet his map showed few cars on the road and an incorrect arrival time. If my driver had the correct information, he would have taken a different route to the airport.

While I ended up getting to my plane on time, there was a chance I was going to miss my flight due to Uber’s process and technology. That is inexcusable.

Despite my frustration with the company, I rated my driver the highest score. I thanked him as we said good-bye in person and publicly in the Uber app, because I am in the Customer Experience field. I am also empathetic. Other people, however, who are not CX practitioners would likely have rated Chris a low score, regardless of the fact that the technology was the problem, not the driver.

My Uber experience offers some helpful lessons in how to do CX right, including:

1. EVERY POINT IN THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY MATTERS. Even though my Uber driver exceeded my expectations, the GPS app was unreliable. It was of a “pain point” to influence me to choose another company for my next airport ride.

2. WOW MOMENTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. My perception of Chris was great right from the start because of his friendly greeting and the help with my luggage. Wow Moments don’t have to be tied to price, and they are especially important when onboarding customers.

3. EMPLOYEES MUST BE EMPOWERED & HAVE THEIR VOICES HEARD. My driver and I both witnessed the map inaccuracy at a critical point in my trip. I had wondered why Chris never switched to another GPS program during my ride. Was it because he had to follow a specific process despite technical errors? I suggested he inform Uber of the situation given the impacts to him personally, in the form of low customer ratings, and for the Uber brand.



4. OVER-COMMUNICATE with customers. I appreciated the text notifications before my driver’s arrival and when he reached my home. I also liked the post-drop off alerts that allowed me to view my final bill and provide feedback about my experience. I’ve left comments in the past but was unsure what happens with that information. No one has ever contacted me for clarification or validation that my feedback matters, or that customer feedback is used to drive improvements. Closing the loop is an essential part of DoingCXRight.

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All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

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