Uber’s “real time”, personal customer service

Today I experienced what 5* customer service is in today's digital age, with the car service Uber, that I posted on here

At 9.24am I ordered an Uber to pick me up outside Waterloo Station to take me to a meeting. Unfortunately, the driver went to the wrong address and was taking ages to find me. As I was by now late, I hit cancel, and re-ordered another Uber car. But as this was more than 5 minutes after placing the order,  at 9.38am I got hit with a £5 cancellation charge. Aghhh!


I was pretty pissed off. Not only was I standing in the rain waiting and running late, I got charged £5. So straight away I hit reply and send a complaint.

Minutes later, at 9.52am, I get a reply from Khadja at Uber, apologising for the driver mix-up and offering to refund the £5. A few minutes later, at 9.54, I get an email from Katia confirming the refund.

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This is impressive on several counts.

1. Real time

This was not just fast service, this was real time service. We're talking a total of 16 minutes to get the complaint, process it, reply to it and refund me. No email saying "We have received your complaint and will aim to respond within 24 hours". 

2. Personal

What is even more impressive is the personal nature of the response. There was no drop-down menu to select the nature of my complaint. And no robotic response. Instead, I got what looks like a human being replying to me and apologising. She recognised the problem, empathised with the situation and acted to refund me. 

3. Action oriented

Not only did I like the refund, I also appreciated the way Khadja said she would follow up with driver operations to see what went wrong, thanking me for "giving our partner drivers a chance to improve".

I find it interesting that Uber seem to recognise that excellent, real-time customer service requires real and well-trained people. Perhaps the digital doom-mongers are wrong with their predictions that robots will take over from real people in customer service jobs.

That is, unless Khadja is …. a robot!