Technology: Uber tries to reassure customers that it takes safety seriously, following NYTimes book exerpt - PressFrom - US
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TechnologyUber tries to reassure customers that it takes safety seriously, following NYTimes book exerpt

00:30  25 august  2019
00:30  25 august  2019 Source:   techcrunch.com

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After months in which Uber drivers have been accused of attacking passengers, the on-demand car service has created a PSA to reassure customers that Opening with a testimonial from a pregnant loyal customer , Anne, the clip goes on to detail the various safety precautions the company takes

UBER , the popular car-service app that allows you to hail a cab from your smartphone, shows your assigned car as a moving dot on a map as it makes its way toward you. It ’s reassuring , especially as you wait on a rainy street corner.

It's hard at times not to feel sorry for CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, given all that he inherited when he became the ride-share giant's top boss back in April 2017.

Among his many to-do items: take public a money-losing company whose private-market valuation had already soared past what many thought it was worth, clean-up the organization's win-at-all-costs image, and win over employees who clearly remained loyal to Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick, an inimitable figure who Khosrowshahi was hired to replace.

Uber has more than 100 million users, but is still losing money

Uber has more than 100 million users, but is still losing money Uber might seem ubiquitous, but the ridesharing company is still growing, it reported in its quarterly earnings. In July, more than 100 million people took Ubers or used the company's services. That's the first time it hit that monthly milestone. Trips rose 35 percent in Q2 compared with the previous year, up to 1.67 billion. Revenue is up as well. At $3.17 billion, it rose 14 percent year-over-year, though it was lower than the expected figure of $3.36 billion and growth is slowed overall. UberEats certainly boosted the bottom line, as it helped bring in new customers. The number of people Uber delivered food to over the quarter rose by 140 percent from Q2 2018.

NYTimes .com no longer supports Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. Telecommunications experts say that customer confidence is particularly crucial in the lucrative segments where WorldCom and its rivals manage parts of customers ' data and voice See where The New York Times will take you.

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber has for years engaged in a worldwide program to deceive the authorities in markets where its low-cost ride-hailing service was resisted by law enforcement or, in some instances, had been banned.

Things are undoubtedly about to get worse, given the fast-upcoming publication of a tell-all book about Uber authored by New York Times reporter Mike Isaac. In just one excerpt published yesterday by the newspaper, Isaac outlines how Uber misled customers into paying $1 more per ride by telling them Uber would use the proceeds to fund an "industry-leading background check process, regular motor vehicle checks, driver safety education, development of safety features in the app, and insurance."

The campaign was hugely successful, according to Isaac, who reports that it brought in nearly half a billion dollars for Uber. Alas, according to employees who worked on the project, the fee was devised primarily to add $1 of pure margin to each trip.

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SAN FRANCISCO — It ’s Travis Kalanick versus the world, and recently the world seems to be winning. Mr. Kalanick, who is brash and aggressive even by the standards of Silicon Valley, created Uber four years ago to blow up the traditional taxi business.

Om Malik, a former tech journalist turned venture capitalist, published a tongue-in-cheek tweet yesterday after reading the excerpt, writing, "Apology from @dkhos coming any minute -- we are different now."

Malik was close. Instead of an apology, Uber today sent riders an email titled, somewhat ominously, "Your phone number stays hidden in the app." The friendly reminders continues on to tell customers that their "phone number stays hidden when you call or text your driver through the app," that "pickup and dropoff locations are not visible in a driver’s trip history," and that "for additional privacy, if you don’t want to share your exact address, request a ride to or from the nearest cross streets instead."

The email was clearly meant to reassure riders, some of whom might be absorbing negative press about Uber and wondering if it cares about them at all. But not everyone follows Uber as closely as industry watchers in Silicon Valley, and either way, what the email mostly accomplishes is to remind customers that riding in an Uber involves life-and-death risk.

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LONDON — Uber suffered another setback in its biggest market outside the United States after a British As part of its push to win over customers and drivers concerned about Uber ’s reputation, the company Opponents of Uber argue that it is able to undercut rivals on price largely because of its

SAN FRANCISCO — Travis Kalanick, the chief executive of Uber , visited Apple’s headquarters in early 2015 to meet with Timothy D. Cook, who runs the iPhone maker. It was a session that Mr. Kalanick was dreading.

Stressing that the company is "committed to safety" is the debating equivalent of a so-called negative pregnant, wherein a denial implies its affirmative opposite. It's Uber shooting itself in the foot.

Uber tries to reassure customers that it takes safety seriously, following NYTimes book exerpt© Provided by Oath Inc. Uber

It would have been more effective for Uber to email riders that when it talks about safety, it really does mean business -- and not the kind where it swindles its own customers for pure monetary gain.

Either way, the affair underscores the tricky terrain Uber is left to navigate right now. Though campaigns like Uber's so-called "safe rides fee" was orchestrated under the leadership of Kalanick -- who did whatever it took to scale the company -- it's Khosrowshahi's problem now.

So is the fact that the company's shares have been sinking since its IPO in early May; that Uber's cost-cutting measures will be scrutinized at every turn (outsiders especially relished the company's decision to save on employees' work anniversaries by cutting out helium balloons in favor of stickers); and that Uber appears to be losing the battle, city by city, against labor activists who want to push up the minimum wage paid to drivers.

And those are just three of many daunting challenges that Khosrowshahi has been tasked with figuring out  (think food delivery, self-driving technologies, foreign and domestic opponents). No doubt Isaac's book will highlight plenty of others.

How Uber handles the inevitable wave of bad publicity that comes with it remains to be seen. We don't expect Khosrowshahi to come out swinging; that's not his style. But we also hope the company doesn't take to emailing riders directly. It's great if Uber is taking customer safety more seriously than it might have under Kalanick's leadership, but reaching out to tell riders how to remain safe from their Uber drivers isn't the way to do it, especially without acknowledging in any way why it's suddenly so eager to have the conversation.

Uber's RideCheck safety feature goes live across the US.
When Uber laid out a roadmap for safety features last year, one of the things it promised is RideCheck -- a feature that can help drivers and passengers get help in case of a crash or any other accident. Now, the ridesharing giant has released RideCheck for all drivers and riders in the US, and it's also planning to roll the feature out in other countries in the future. That means Uber can now proactively send users a notification asking them if everything is OK in case it determines that their ride has been stopped for a while. The passenger or driver can then check the notification and bring up a panel that gives them instant access to the app's emergency button to call 911.

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