Uber Replaces Email With In-App Support

After relying on email customer support for six years, Uber is ditching the channel in favor of in-app self-service. As the company expands globally, email is proving to be an unsustainable support route, especially in countries such as India where email is not widely available. The redesigned "help" function within the app will now replace email and will tackle the most common questions and concerns that riders and drivers have, including giving riders easy access to passenger ratings.

"Uber is all about convenience, so much so that their business model disrupted an industry. With a company focused on selling convenience and ease, it makes sense to create a more convenient way of dealing with support issues," Shep Hyken, customer experience expert and author, says. "According to Helpshift, an in-app customer support solution provider, 95 percent of apps downloaded do not have a direct connection to customer service. They also claim that 20 percent of app users need or seek help. It's a natural extension of any app to provide some type of in-app support, and that is exactly what Uber is doing," he adds.

According to The VergeUber has been in hot water with regard to its customer service after firing several hundred customer service representatives that were tasked with handling messages about lost items or complaints about driver-passenger interactions. The shake-up likely resulted from Uber transitioning its customer service centers to other countries such as India and the Philippines, though two service centers remain open in the U.S. Nevertheless, analysts praise the company's transition to mobile support.

When service is delivered within the app, customers receive support in the native environment, meaning they don't have to go elsewhere to get the help they need. That contributes to a more seamless, intuitive experience. "When one of Uber's customers needs help, they are most likely engaged with the app when they need it. So, why not have the support within the app, rather than having the customer have to leave the app to go to a website or [send an email]? With just a few taps and a swipe or two across the screen, the customer is connected with Uber support," Hyken says.

Other companies are shifting their support to apps as well. In a major overhaul to its service app Samsung +, Samsung introduced a function that gives its team of service reps remote access to customers' phones for troubleshooting. Launched last year, the tool already offered in-app video and text chat, phone support feature, and diagnostic tools, but now takes customer service one step further.

By not exploring in-app support capabilities, brands are missing out on revenue opportunities, says Natalie Petouhoff, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research. "Take a look at any mobile app or mobile site. All they have for customer service is a 1-800 number or an email address. If consumers are on their mobile devices, they need an answer now. They are in a store, they are ready to buy, but they have a question. If that question doesn't get answered, they will most likely abandon the shopping cart, and there goes revenue," she explains.


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