Customer service is integral to any business. What’s also incredibly important is how you handle customer service within your business. It’s no secret that Uber has been having some trouble lately. The company has been struggling with its drivers and with some unhappy passengers.
Things like wages and employee treatment have often popped up in the news over the past few months when it comes to Uber. So Uber decided to address those issues with an open forum that happened last week on Facebook. The Facebook Q&A was meant to connect Uber president, Jeff Jones, with employees and customers.
Instead, the question and answer session backfired.
What Went Wrong
When a company opens up a Q&A session on Facebook, that company should be prepared with some answers (or have a team of people waiting to provide a company head with answers). Jones wasn’t exactly prepared for the questions that were coming his way. He answered a few casual questions, and then switched to posting links to the Uber website to answer the rest of the questions.
Since the session was meant to be more intimate and provide people with specific answers to direct questions, Jones’s meeting with the masses largely failed. This angered some Uber drivers and others that were attending the meeting and wanted actual answers - but got links instead. Almost as soon as the session started it was over.
Cleaning Up a Double Mess
Not only did Uber not solve any questions with that latest Facebook session, the company also did not win any positive PR from the session. Instead, the company got a lot of negative press criticizing Jones for not having the answers to obvious questions (or questions, rather, that could and should have been expected).
So is it a good idea to hold a customer service and employee oriented Q&A session if you aren’t prepared with any of the answers (or prepared for the questions that might be asked)? Maybe not. Now, Uber drivers aren’t any happier and they still don’t feel like the company connects with them, listens to them, or has their best interest at heart.
Uber Without Drivers
Uber’s entire business model thrives on its drivers. Without drivers to operate Uber, the company simply would not exist. So why isn’t Uber being more direct with its drivers? Why didn’t Jeff Jones have the answers to those questions asked during that open Facebook session?
It’s unclear why the company would set up this session and then not provide Jones with the answers to actually run the session - or why Jones would move to providing quick links in the form of answers when that’s not what participants were actually interested in.
Regardless, this is a good example of how not to run an open question and answer forum. Further, it’s a decent example of why customer service matters, but bad press isn’t (contrary to popular thought!) always or ever a good thing.
Uber might still be going strong, but the company will not exist without the drivers that, well, drive the company forward.