Wednesday, April 13, 2016

All Uber employees should drive at least a few weeks

Uber drivers make it possible for Uber to keep striving as a top player in the transportation industry. These drivers promote the best interest of Uber, delivering millions of trips per year while maintaining professionalism to retain valuable clients. Some people may challenge the professionalism of drivers; however, they won't disregard their hard work and willingness to complete rides.

Uber employees are divided on how they treat drivers. Some internal Uber employees respond back to rider behavior a month later. They challenge drivers on cancellation fees, refusing to compensate drivers who request this after clients are no-shows. They tend to go off topic, instead of resolving problems stated in emails. Furthermore, Uber support ignore various emails to avoid dealing with this conflict. It's not always the case these events happen, but they do take place often enough to represent ongoing problems.

Uber software developers must do better work to keep Uber driver apps and rider apps operable. According to clients, the Uber rider app keeps crashing and this delays them from requesting rides. An Uber driver reported a critical error that stalled him out for nearly an hour. This occurred during a promotional period that almost cost him a significant bonus. It took this driver some serious troubleshooting to reinstall this app and force an update.

For the most part, this Uber driver is devoted to Uber. He puts forth his best effort to resolve all app issues. He also takes interest in representing the ridesharing industry, which is what drives him to new heights. This driver understands the importance of on-demand rides. Furthermore, this driver realizes that riders will jump-ship if these app problems continue to impact their daily travel plans.

Uber in-app navigation is a nightmare to use. Navigation won't begin dishing out directions until drivers make U-turns. Directions spin around in circles, anticipating upcoming turns and lagging on directions. It is extremely important to know the area well enough, because this can prevent in-app navigation from complicating directions. At times, in-app navigation is seamless and other times this tool is a disaster that populates funky routes. Listen to clients willing to provide directions; don't oppose their help.

Navigation continues to lead drivers on freeways, down alleyways, to wrong streets, to wrong businesses, to streets with no left turns, and toward blocked roads. If drivers lack city knowledge, they are likely to experience added stress maneuvering around busy streets.

Let's not forget the nightmare of trying to reach clients during special events. Running races are possibly the worst times to get on the road. Even if clients are only a few minutes away, there is no efficient way to reach them in a reasonable time. In-app navigation, even Google, haven't figured out the best routes to bypass roadblocks and road barriers during these races. Next month's Bay-To-Breakers will attest to the risk of jeopardizing driver ratings going around street closures.

Poor pin drops waste time. Drivers must wait at wrong locations until clients respond to text messages and phone calls. Requesting drivers to drive to the pin is another issue. Even worse, poor connections plot a 30 minute pickup address at a 3 minute ETA. Pin drops are placed in dangerous areas, where drivers are potentially exposed to violence and harassment.

The pin drop problem is usually a standard issue on the road. It hasn't been resolved because clients continue to drop pins at wrong pickup addresses and assume drivers will find them on busy streets. Drivers do possess professional skills to connect with their riders. Should it be fair for drivers to waste many hours per day searching for clients? These pin drop, pickup address, and drive-to-pin problems cheat drivers of valuable earnings. On the opposing side, clients complain when drivers delay closing a trip by a few seconds. A good portion of riders have no idea how ride platforms operate.

Drivers vying to accomplish weekly and hourly promotions are put in bad predicaments. Technical issues block them from meeting acceptance rate minimums. If drivers end trips in poor cell coverage areas, they can't go offline and riders continue to binge request. For example, a rider will request and cancel. Then, this rider will follow the same script again. A few minutes after these request actions, the rider will request and the driver is unfortunately unable to accept these trips as a result of bad cell coverage/location constraints. Sadly, Uber drivers will get disqualified for hourly matches.

Another problem area is when drivers are taken outside of their promotion area. Whether these promotions are held in San Francisco and/or the East Bay, drivers are likely to get ride requests leaving these regions. Uber informs their drivers to do the best they can to return back to the promotion region. However, Uber has no viable solution to resolve (66% of originating trips in promotion region) this constant setback. In past promotions, an Uber driver shared that he has disqualified for failing to meet originating trip percentages by a few points.

How in the world can drivers, who rely on acceptance rates and on originating trip percentages (opposing qualifications), able to leave a non-qualifying region following an outside trip? Once a driver enters San Francisco, they are automatically connected with UberPool requests and connecting riders. In a matter of an hour, their originating trips percentage is reduced and this disqualifies them from $35-$40 hourly matches.

The point we are making is that Uber employees don't emphasize with Uber drivers. Their actions and/or lack of action complicate driver performance. This costs Uber drivers valuable time and earnings. When dealing with problem riders, US (Uber Support) is slow to resolve such issues. It may take US a few days, few weeks and even a month to respond back. US are known to go off topic, generate generic responses and fail to resolve important issues.

Uber app problems create conflict between drivers and riders. Hence, clients are quick to submit low stars and poor feedback for reaching destinations later than expected. Riders point the finger at drivers for waiting at wrong pickup locations, usually calling them and asking why they are waiting there. Uber must communicate these problems with developers to improve functionality.

US struggle to help drivers connect with riders who misplace personal items. Lost and found is entirely another challenging issue that has an easy turnaround time if drivers can populate phone numbers to contact clients and arrange delivery of these personal possessions.

One driver is still waiting to return a bag left behind by another Uber client because Uber has yet to connect him with this client. He has already contacted a location this client is picked up from often. Taking prompt action, he left his number with this establishment to coordinate a future return. This Uber driver has successfully returned many personal items to his riders without the help of US.

We're proposing that all Uber employees should be required to drive clients for a few weeks. Their mistakes and lack of empathy impact both drivers and clients. All these field problems go against drivers and riders, which at times experience tension with trying to smooth out this new technology. Quite a few new riders have no idea that UberPool is for one and/or two riders. It is common for clients to wait outside of pickup locations with four people. They get upset when UberPool drivers are unable to transport their party. These riders are misinformed, which creates unwanted tension on the road.

Uber employees must understand that driving people around require patience and high safety standards. Drivers are constantly requesting their front seat riders to put on their seat-belts. It should be automatic for front seat riders, given than any accidents without wearing seat-belts can result in injury and/or death.

Uber clients, usually younger crowd, try to stuff UberX with multiple riders. Uber drivers are faced with receiving low ratings for rejecting 5-8 riders. If Uber drivers cancel trips as "too many riders," or helping out riders who request drivers to cancel on their side, they are are later warned that canceling at a higher rate than their peers can/will result in deactivation.

The best way to improve Uber is from within their internal operations. But for the most part, US, developers, PR and other Uber employees are at a disadvantage if they don't understand how their roles within Uber can/will impact drivers and riders. Ultimately, Uber drivers will get the short end of the stick for software, navigation, cancellation fees, and pin drop issues. Uber clients are basically rating drivers on issues outside of their control. In the end, drivers fall below minimum scores and must attend driver training sessions or face deactivation. Uber won't change ratings and/or adjust any poor feedback.

Should Uber employees get on the road to emphasize with drivers and clients? See firsthand the challenges of locating clients, using a flawed navigation system, dealing with vomiting and drunk riders, cleaning up trash and mess left behind and experiencing other challenges on the road? It would be a good idea, but one that won't happen because there are already a fair share of drivers on the road. With rate decreases constant the past 2+ years, drivers must increase their hours to earn a fraction of their past pay. Please respect Uber drivers for providing a high demand ride service using their personal vehicles.