The DGC Roundtable is moderated by our Fall Intern, Jamie Kurke.
Uber has been a hot brand ever since its inception but as of late, they’ve been in the news for all of the wrong reasons. With that in mind, this week’s question was:
In light of recent bad press, what, if anything, should Uber do to clean up their brand image and regain trust from the public?
Maryliz Ghanem, Vice President:
Uber needs fixing and they need to show the public the measures they are willing to take to protect their customers. They need to put into action strict measures and guidelines, for example: third-party background checks, suspension and review of drivers with a spotty record, and dedicated customer services. They need to show their riders that they are serious about safety and put these protections in place.
Pat Wentling, Senior Account Executive:
Uber clearly is a hot brand with an in-demand product – it’s practically become ubiquitous for traveling in New York City. The recent bad press, not to mention a satirical look from the writers at South Park, proves that Uber needs to commit to keeping their consumers safe and comfortable. The Uber team needs to publically promote a rigorous training and background check on each and every driver they employ, as well as a clear algorithm behind their pricing methods. If that means having fewer drivers in the interim, it’s worth the price of regaining consumer trust.
Lexi Hewitt, Account Coordinator:
it is hard to ignore all of the negative attention Uber receives. Uber needs to be more responsive to the bad press that they’re getting. Ignoring it is not going to make it go away, and they need to be proactive in their public relation efforts by getting ahead of negative stories. They should sympathize with their customers when they are unhappy and realize that what the media is saying about them does matter. Their business may be doing fine now, but I think that the negativity will inevitably catch up to them.
Claire Eisenberg, Senior Account Director:
- Be transparent – Many complaints from consumers are tied to being told that the ride would cost one amount and ultimately being charged astronomically more.
- Be reachable – Riders can’t seem to get through to customer service when they have a problem. This typically leads to consumers airing their grievances in much more public forums.
- Take Action – With the most recent claim that a rider was kidnapped, it’s shocking that the customer service tried to convince her otherwise. Are you kidding? Take this feedback seriously and take the appropriate legal actions.
For now, I’ll stick with cabs.
Jamie Kurke, Intern:
Uber has been in hot water, it seems, since their dawn of time. Unless they conduct a serious overhaul, one of these times will be the last straw for their customers. I already have friends deleting the app and complaining about bad service or being afraid—especially when using UberX. While they do have a great business model, my advice would be to stop the expansion for now and focus on their existing customer base. A heartfelt apology from a high up exec and the promise of some driver training and more extensive screening would probably be the best way to gain back rider trust. It would certainly put me more at ease about requesting a black car instead of hailing a Yellow Cab.