We all know that last year Uber went through a tough time, and while it did get drivers to sign on, it was also losing drivers to both bad publicity and inefficient app features.
That’s why the new CEO, Dara Khsorowshahi got personally involved in the app development stage and even had the driver’s opinion taken into consideration at a driver consultancy meeting.
The reality is that Uber upgraded their app completely, introducing new functions and features while changing and removing others.
In a recent survey performed by Statista.com titled Driver satisfaction with Uber in the United States in 2017 and 2018, there is a definite upswing in driver satisfaction with Uber, when compared to 2017.
There are no definite numbers to use as facts for showing how many more customers and drivers use Uber. However, the satisfaction rating does show that Uber’s new direction is working. In a review of online literature there is a definite swing in Uber’s favor, where over 48% of all drivers were satisfied with the 180 days of change.
However, drivers are not customers; they are contractors being paid to deliver a service, so their crisis is based on an incentive perspective, while customers are based on an experience perspective.
So, the question remains, is Uber winning over new customers, and if so, how?
Obviously, there are only two ways that Uber can directly affect customers experience, and that is in price and features. The driving is in the hands of the driver, and Uber cannot deal with any negative issues until after the fact.
Let’s take a look at these two factors.
Pricing: nothing has changed here, they are still cheaper than taxies but a bit pricier than their competition Lyft. In fact, when prime time or surges are a known factor, many customers will opt for a Lyft ride since it is significantly cheaper than Uber.
App: The Uber app is starting to fill up with new features, in many cases it helps but in general it can be confusing. More features don’t lead to better service, in fact when you add more features you should improve the GUI so that the user does not get confused or lost in the ever-expanding number of options to click on.
In general, the Uber app is easy to operate and booking a ride is quick and effortless. Customers also get to see more information about their driver, which adds to more security in the customer’s decision-making process.
Uber offers customers an ETA at booking, which is a great feature and helps many to make decisions based on their tight schedules.
Now let’s look at the driver feature, yes for this article we are all features.
Someone wrote in a forum that Uber is a business focused gig, unlike Lyft which goes for a more friendly “next door” approach. This means that Uber drivers are more professional in their approach and tend to drive you from point a to point b. Lyft drivers are more friendly and open. Actually, this is a lot of BS, since many drivers work for both companies and they don’t have split personalities or transformer cars.
Shrinking Globally, Expanding Locally
Uber is attracting more customer due to re-branding and marketing. Part of the new image is an upgrade app with more features. The app itself is not attracting more customers, the re-branding and new image are what is attracting customers. Add to this the fact that the drivers are less militant than before, and that Uber is now concentrating on home rather than abroad. All these add up to a bigger and better Uber.
Did you know that SoftBank, who owns 17% of Uber is the reason why Uber has shut down most of its Asian sites and is now concentrating on the US?
Well, that’s a fact, and the immediate impact is saving Uber billions in operational and marketing expenses. With these savings and ma more streamlined system, Uber can now concentrate on home-based customers.
The app in the US has undergone a number of changes, and there is a combined front headed by Dara Khosrowshahi, the not so new CEO who is bringing order into a much chaotic company.
Upgrading the app and increasing driver satisfaction go hand in hand, one without the other will not lead to expansion. The drivers were targeted at the same time as the app so that changes would be instant and simultaneous. This has led to an increase in customer satisfaction that is also fed by the “less negative” news online and positive feedback from drivers.
The app continues to undergo changes, where drivers are now part of the decision-making process so that no change goes untouched and unchallenged before being implemented. Customers still know that Uber is more expensive in surges, but they are still cheaper than a taxi.
Essentially, there are two customers types the smart and the loyal. The smart customer is loyal to him/herself; this customer will always seek the better deal, so will remain with Uber so long as it satisfies requirements. The loyal customer does not care for the price, they stay with Uber for the quality and the familiarity, so long as the quality remains.
Since Uber is continuing to improve its services, the loyal customer baseline remains, and increases as quality improves. The smart customer will continue to use Uber so long as its cheaper for specific rides.
The final factor, which was not mentioned till now, is saturation. Uber is 70% of the market with full penetration and saturation, this means that you will always find an Uber driver when Lyft drivers are scarce, and less likely to find a Lyft driver when Uber drivers are scarce. One is a precursor to the other. As such, Uber still maintains an advantage due to market saturation, which is improved by the upgraded app features and driver satisfaction.
Aman Bhangoo is the co-founder of Uber Drivers – Ridesharing Forum who helps rideshare drivers and riders to find answers to their most pressing questions. With over 4 years of experience, Aman brings a vast amount of knowledge, style, and skills to help fellow drivers. He has given over 18,000 rides with Uber and more than 6,800 rides with Lyft.