One of the most frequent questions I ask my Uber drivers is, “Do you like working for Uber”? This question stems from general curiosity, and I typically receive varied responses. However, little did I know that Uber was facing numerous scandals within the past year regarding its driver experience. In the face of its recent mistakes, Uber Technologies Incorporated introduced an inside-out process reengineering initiative that will improve the experience of the driver, which will in turn improve the experience of the customer and the overall image of the company.
In late July of 2017, Travis Kalanick, the co-founder and Chief Executive of the company, resigned. More information on the resignation can be read here: http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-uber-travis-kalanick-resignation-20170620-story.html. In summary, Kalanick permitted a “corrosive culture that allowed bad behavior and sexual harassment to go unchecked for years”.  This reflected negatively on the culture of Uber, especially when Kalanick got into an altercation with a worker about pay. Consumers rationalized that if the co-founder of the company did not care about the opinions of the drivers, then why should they support such a system.
Uber needed to change its processes to improve customer satisfaction and regain trust, so they launched the 180 Days of Change in May of 2017. The process change includes an in-app option to tip drivers as a way to demonstrate that executives listen to and care about their drivers. The new tipping option also allows for more customer involvement throughout the process. Secondly, tolls are now incorporated into the driver fare and higher returns are given on longer rides and late cancellations. Most significantly, Uber has also decided to pay its drivers for waiting for a customer now. As an attempt to improve labor efficiency, drivers who have been waiting longer than two (2) minutes now are directly paid $5. So this $5 replaces any money on another possible ride while waiting for the current passenger. Please see photo below for a summary of all of the changes implemented, and more changes continue to arise.
Just as Uber began to make strides with its driver experience through the 180 Days of Change, another issue surfaced. Another case of sexual harassment, except this time with a customer. In November of 2017, a female and a male passenger entered a fake Uber vehicle at 3:20a.m. At some point within the ride, the male rider was forced out of the vehicle and the female rider was raped. Article Link: https://global.factiva.com/redir/default.aspx?P=sa&an=WP00000020171121edbl00029&cat=a&ep=ASE. Uber apologized for the incident, and issued a list of safety tips to its customers including confirming the driver’s name, vehicle, license plate number, and photo with the information given in the app. Although safety tips are helpful, they cannot warrant the safety of a customer. Safety is an issue many customers still face today, and Uber is still trying to figure out ways to help improve this process. Uber Technologies realizes that process improvement and reengineering is key in improving its productivity, public image, and beating out its competitors. Without success in these components, Uber will easily lose its customers to Lyft.
 Pierson, David, Paresh Dave, and Tracey Lien. “With resignation, Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick finally found a battle he wasn’t willing to fight.” Los Angeles Times. Accessed January 30, 2018. http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-uber-travis-kalanick-resignation-20170620-story.html