Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Some people inefficiencies are other people's core services

This is Joseph.

Mark Evanier talks about his experience with Uber customer support:
You cannot phone Uber. There is no number to call. No matter what goes wrong, you cannot get a live person on the line. You have to send an e-mail to their customer service people who, in dealing with a current problem I have with them, have proven to be pretty useless. You write to them and say, "I have a problem with A" and a few days later, they write back to you to say, "We need more information from you to help solve your problem with B." One of them wrote back to me at my e-mail address to tell me he couldn't do anything to solve my problem because he didn't have my e-mail address.
Most taxi regulators have complaint lines, which are not free to provide.  Complying with these municipal codes is expensive and I think that is one of the inefficiencies that Uber is trying to remove from the personal transportation system.  But, when there is a problem, these codes and regulators can actually be a useful service. 

In a sense it is like fire insurance.  Most of the time it is sensible to save the costs associated with insuring a home against an unlikely event.  But it can look pretty daft if the unlikely event actually happens

On the other hand, it is almost certain that Taxis are over-regulated given that they are run by low levels of government (regulation seems to get worse as the scale of the government decreases).  But the precise way to determine which rules are essential might not necessarily be to ignore them for a while and see what goes wrong. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the thrust of your post. But just an anecdote that suggests it can go the other way:

    Until several years back, I used Norton Anti-Virus on all my computers. I ran into a problem (that may or may not have been due to their software in the end) and contacted Symantec's customer service line. After several calls, the problem was not only not resolved, but worse, and I was quite angered at the way they were treating me. In the end, I was so furious I stopped using Norton and installed Kaspersky on all my computers.

    Like Uber, Kaspersky does not have customer service by phone. They have a website with FAQs, which, at least so far, I have found to be unhelpful. But they do have an email customer service contact. It is slow: response times (for me) have been typically 48 hours. But their responses, which I have heard are in most cases actually computer-generated, have always been clear, to the point, and have solved the problems I've raised.

    So it may be that Uber doesn't need to implement a telephone complaint line: it sounds like they need to get their e-mail complaint service up to snuff!