For the past few years, people had only three ways of communicating with their Uber drivers; SMS texting, in-app chat, and traditional cell call. It created hassle and inconvenience, especially when you have to wait for the responses via chat. And, let’s admit it, sometimes it takes a lot of time before a reply could reach us.
However, last October 2018, Uber initially announced through a conference in San Francisco that it added a fourth method of communication; customers can now contact an Uber driver via a new in-app VoIP feature.
This is a win-win situation for everyone. Imagine how an Uber driver manages to navigate busy traffic and check on the map for directions while juggling a personal smartphone. It’s going to be a long and uncomfortable journey for anyone, however, taking the cell phone out of the picture is a victory.
Before the introduction of VoIP for Uber, the company offers three ways for drivers and riders to communicate: SMS text messages, in-app chats and public switched telephone networks.
According to an article published by Inquisitr, Uber became interested in VoIP as it expanded globally and found out that in many countries data calling is cheaper than cellular calls. For people who are traveling abroad, communicating with a driver using an internet connection is significantly less expensive than spending money on roaming calls.
Today, Gagan Mac, the product manager for Communications at Uber, happily announced the full transition of the company to VoIP, expressing that data calling is now much cheaper than voice calling in certain markets. They had been trialing this feature since June of last year and are now confident enough to roll this out worldwide. This is another indication of Uber’s commitment as a global transportation entity.
Currently, Uber used VoIP free call which is made over the internet. It makes sense that the company would introduce this type of communication method since it offers advantages to riders, where they can have seamless communication with the driver that has been assigned to his or her trip. Using VoIP, customers or drivers don’t have to share their private phone numbers while making all the correspondence.
Moreover, transitioning to VoIP could also help the company reach those areas with weaker cellular services, where the connection between riders and customers are demanding.
According to some, the switch could be seen as a way for Uber to address the negative accusations about passenger safety in 2018. Reports during that period indicated a staggering 103 Uber drivers in the US who had been accused of sexual assault or abuse to some of their passengers. The new VoIP feature somehow does not address the issue, but it could be a small step in the direction of taking passengers’ privacy and safety more seriously.
As Uber grows and widens its reach, the company wants to be able to offer a service that allows clear and transparent communication but in a manner that is easy and accessible for its customers.