Should Customer Support Be Exclusive? Uber Thinks So.



Uber is testing a new customer support feature, but it’s not for everyone. As first reported by TechCrunch, Uber is rolling out priority, 24/7 support capability for what seems to be a group of its top customers. The support programs include a hotline as well as an in-app feature, and specially trained experts will staff both channels at all hours of the day.

Though Uber hasn’t confirmed who exactly will be invited to use the support tools, so far, customers who have traveled at least 3,000 miles using the app have been tapped as a thank-you for their loyalty. “We're always thinking about ways to say thank you to our riders," an Uber spokesperson told Mashable.

This news comes as Uber continues to do away with some of its support tools, including its support email, support@uber.com. In-app capabilities have since replaced the email, but if the problem riders are looking to report has to do with the app itself, they may be out of luck. The alternative is Uber’s website, help.uber.com, which is aimed at helping both customers and drivers.

Further complicating Uber’s consumer support channel structure is a secret 1-800 number, which is also staffed 24 hours a day, but is intended only for non-911 emergencies.

On the driver side, help is somewhat closer. In addition to the app and the website, drivers can also reach Uber by phone and at Greenlight “hubs” and “spots,” where they can meet with someone from the company in person. Plus, there are local driver websites for individual cities that provide resources.

Though Uber’s exclusive support hotline is still in beta, it has the potential to send the wrong message to customers. Should customer service be exclusive? “Loyal customers should have rewards for their loyalty that include high-end customer service and perks, as long as regular customers still receive good service, especially if the affinity program is based on money spent,” says Chip Bell, customer service author and expert.

Time will tell if Uber’s on the right track. In the meantime, at least “Uber is testing the process, not just rolling it out without gauging its impact,” Bell says.

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