In my line of work, I am always thinking about how to deliver great service to my clients. Wealth management is a tricky business because you are objectively managing a client's funds while helping them navigate tricky life situations with serious financial ramifications. I sometimes joke that I'm a Financial Psychologist. For this reason I am always thrilled to see a company that gets service right.
I am a frequent cab user. I don't have a car and Seattle's public transportation leaves much to be desired in terms of safety and sanitation. That said, Seattle cabs also leave much to be desired. I'm used to cabs on the east coast that pull over if you stand on a corner looking confused for a few seconds. Unless it's a weekend night and you're downtown, you actually have to call Seattle cabs to pick you up. If that weren't bad enough, the dispatchers are often rude, the cabs are late, the drivers can rarely make change and grumble when you hand over a credit card.
This is why I was thrilled when a friend introduced me to Ubercab last week. It's an amazing iPhone app that allows you to order a town car and track it as it picks you up. The app is linked to your credit card so you don't have to worry about having cash on hand. This just covers the basics...as an added bonus, the drivers are also friendly and the cars are clean and stocked with water and mints.
While this is all very impressive, what made me a loyal Uber fan was how they handled a recent mistake. I took an Uber on Wednesday to SEA/TAC on my way to visit my mom back East. So far my trips have been local and I was used to paying the $12 town rate. I imagined that the cost of and Ubercab would be $50, or a few dollars more than a yellow cab. Imagine my surprise when I saw the bill was $100! I blamed myself for not asking beforehand but figured it was just the cost of traveling in luxury. When I returned to Seattle on Sunday I saw that town cars we charging between $40-50 to get into Seattle. Now I felt slighted and vowed to call the company to complain on Monday morning.
I woke up around 7am on Monday and already had an emailed apology from Uber. They realized that they double charged me, refunded me the extra $50 and gave me a $10 credit for a future ride. I checked my card statement that morning and saw that the refund had already been credited. Amazing! I didn't have to do anything.
To me, Uber exemplifies good service. Their back office operations are tight enough that they can realize and rectify their mistakes quickly. For any business, this is the most important thing. A lot of people think of customer service as being about smiles, pleases and thank yous, but for me it starts with efficient operations. With respect to Uber, the water and mints are just bonuses to a firm that is doing things right!
To find out more: Uber