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Uber steers users towards in-app solution for customer support

Uber is streamlining support for both drivers and customers via a new in-application solution that promises faster response times than email. 

The new in-app approach to customer support encourages riders and drivers to tap the Help button in the app instead of sending an email when they have a question or problem. According to Uber, the strategy has shortened response times and increased customer satisfaction. 

?By communicating in a specialized environment that is integrated with the product or service customers are using, customers gain a much richer, more contextual experience that fundamentally changes the efficiency of the interaction,? said Al Cook, director of mobile customer experience at Twilio. ?For app developers and customer-service-focused companies, this level of communication builds loyalty with customers and lowers overall costs.

?In app support will gain momentum simply because its a better and more seamless experience for customers,? he said. ?Customers want this type of support and the companies that provide it will create better relationships and loyalty with customers.  

Tap for help
When users tap the Help button in Uber, they are presented with different possible problems to choose from, such as ?I had an issue with my vehicle? or ?I used the wrong payment method.?

Tapping on any of these brings up content regarding how to address the issue. 

There is also a box where users can enter in information, such as the payment method to switch to. 

Once the information has been submitted, users see a pop-up message informing them their request has been received and that Uber will be in touch as soon as possible. 

U.S. launch
The new customer support strategy was announced in a post in Uber?s newsroom blog this week. 

The company said it is directing riders and drivers to contact it directly through the Uber app instead of via email. Users can still follow up via email if they prefer. 

The change will begin in the United States and expand globally over the next few months. 

The company is reporting promising initial results, with shorter response times and a 10 percent increase in customer satisfaction. 

Uber said that the goal is to create a product that is so great, users never need to contact customer service. 

Pivoting away from email
In the past, all of Uber?s customer support was done via email and handled by local city teams. As the service has grown, the company reports this approach became increasingly inefficient because there was a lot of duplicate work and city teams could not learn from each other. 

Over the last two years, Uber has invested millions of dollars in a global network of support center in Chicago, Phoenix, Limerick, Ireland, Krakow, Poland, Wuhan, China, Hyderabad, India and Manila in the Philippines. 

The company also wanted to introduce a better answer from a technology standpoint than email, which requires a lot of work on the part of the customer and does not work in countries such as China and India, where consumers increasingly do not have email addresses. 

Uber?s change in its support strategy comes at a time when a number of marketers are looking at ways to address more of app users? needs from within an app, whether it is a messaging or social media app or a branded one. 

?The move of communications infrastructure from hardware to software has is what is making these types of capabilities possible,? Mr. Cook said. ?Prior to cloud communications, these types of capabilities would have been a massive undertaking in both time and expense.  

?Being able to use building blocks with mobile SDK's powered by cloud services means that developers can integrate these services without needing to be domain experts,? he said.  

?We're just at the beginning of what's possible when communications are embedded within the app.?