Rating Uber’s Driver Support: Here’s What We Found

Back in July Uber announced, as part of its “180 Days of Change”, that it was going to improve its driver support system in a bid to decrease driver turnover.  So, Ridester thought now would be a good time to check in and see how they’ve done and give them a rating!

From what we’ve seen from drivers in online groups and forums, drivers we know personally as well as in our own experience, while Uber has made making the initial contact with them easier, the actual quality of support has not improved at all.

In fact, after doing some digging around we’ve discovered some interesting information about who is actually handling driver support for Uber.

But first, let’s look at what drivers are saying online to get an idea about how unimpressed they’ve been with the promised improvements.

In a comment that resonated with many drivers, this driver says he spoke with three different support people trying to solve a simple issue about the annual background check.

He says:

I spoke with three different Uber support people today, try to solve a simple issue (quick answer in regards to the annual background check).

  • none of them knew the answer.
  • All of them barely spoke English with really thick foreign accents
  • Two of them didn’t understand my question. I had to explain over and over.
  • Due to their confusion they kept on putting me on hold. Then come back and read some dumb paragraph from the website which had nothing to do with my question.

Just horrible.

Another driver said:

Uber’s Online support is next to useless.  I deal with them only if I actually have to.  If it’s anything the Hub can deal with, I go there first.

That pretty much sums up most of the sentiment we’ve seen from a lot of drivers.  We heard comments like this over and over again.

More comments from two more drivers that reflect much of the driver sentiment we’ve seen:

Uber support doesn’t even know how to open attachments now.  SMH (*Shaking My Head*).

And in response to that, another driver said:

That’s because most Uber support is an automated response.  Welcome to the world of artificial unintelligence.

In the end, after reading a huge number of comments from drivers about Uber’s driver support – we didn’t find a single driver who had anything complimentary to say about the support they received. 

One driver was able to provide us with screenshots of an infuriating conversation he had with Uber Driver Support that typifies many of the driver complaints we see.

This driver had tried to upload his new insurance documents to Uber but when he did, he received a message back from Uber saying he had uploaded an “incorrect document”.  He had no idea what they were talking about because he had in fact uploaded the correct document.  He has driven with Uber for four years and he knew what the correct insurance document was.

So, he contacted them through one of their five contact methods and this is what happened.  He initially received this response from Uber:

Thank you for reaching out.

I reviewed your documents, and your Insurance Certificate could not be approved due to the document being incorrect.

Sign in to view your Partner Dashboard to try uploading the document again:

  1. Select Vehicles from the menu
  2. Click Update next to each missing document and select the correct document to upload
  3. Enter the expiration date for each document
  4. Click Save to submit documents for review

We aim to review most documents within 2 hours from the time they are uploaded.

Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

The driver wrote back and said:

Can you please tell me what’s not correct about it?  This same exact document has been approved by Lyft and Juno.  I’m attaching it here so you can look at it.  Thank you.

In this next part of the exchange, this driver seems to confirm the driver above who said Uber doesn’t know how to open attachments.  Notice he said in his response above that he was attaching the document.  And look at Uber’s response below and notice how they don’t give any acknowledgement to receiving the document by attachment.  It’s the same basic response they sent before.  This is the response he got from Uber:

Thanks for reaching out.

The Insurance Certificate could not be approved because this is not the correct document type that we requested.

In order to complete the sign-up process, please log into your Partner Dashboard or log into the Driver app. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the document upload process.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

In this response, the Uber representative (or AI computer) could have helped out a bunch if he (it) had not simply said, “this is not the correct document type that we requested”, but if he (it) had said, “You sent a PDF file but we can only accept an image .jpg or .gif file.”  Or, if he (it) had said, “You sent your comprehensive insurance document but we need your liability coverage document.”

If he (it) had simply explained exactly what they needed and how it was different from what was sent, this problem could have be resolved immediately.

But as things were, the driver knew he was sending the correct document.  He just didn’t know why Uber wasn’t accepting it.  In the first response from Uber they said the document he sent was “incorrect”.  What does that mean, though – ‘incorrect’?  It sounds like he sent the wrong document.  But in their next response they said the document is not the “correct document type”.  Document “type” could refer to two different things though.  It could mean it was the wrong type of document – meaning not the correct insurance document.  Or it could mean it was sent as a computer file type that Uber doesn’t accept.  The driver told us he was confused on this and wasn’t sure which one they meant.

If the response had simply specified which of those two things were the problem, this support request could have been resolved very quickly, I suspect.  It is becoming apparent already in this exchange that the responses are either written by humans who have a very loose grasp on the English language and are therefore not able to understand that there are two meanings to the word “type” in this context, so they have no idea that by responding the way they did they would cause much confusion for the driver.

Or, these responses are written by a computer.  Those are the only two things that could possibly generate this type of response.  Our guess is that the responses were sent by a human but copied from a computer program that told them what response to insert.  

So, the driver wrote back, again seeking clarification:

“Can you please tell me what is the correct document exactly… by name?  What is the exact name of the document you’re looking for?  Every other car company has accepted this document that I’m sending you.  So I really need your help to tell me what’s wrong with it.”

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And Uber responds:

Thanks for writing in.

We reviewed your documents, and the Insurance Certificate could not be approved because of Wrong Document.

Sign in to view your Partner Dashboard to try uploading the document again:

  1. Select Vehicles from the menu
  2. Click Update next to each missing document and select the correct document to upload
  3. Enter the expiration date for each document
  4. Click Save to submit documents for review

We aim to review most documents within 2 hours from the time they are uploaded.  If you have any concern please let u sknow.

Now the driver is getting the distinct feeling that he’s getting the run-around!  He’s also beginning to wonder if there’s a human at the other end.  In frustration he tries again and writes:

“I’m asking you PLEASE to tell me what document EXACTLY you need!”

In Uber’s next response – the driver sees a hopeful sign of life!  The next response still comes no closer to answering his question, but at least it’s different from the previous responses!

Thanks for writing in.

In order to have your account active, please provide the Insurance document to be uploaded.

Looking forward to your response.

The driver was excited to get a different response, but then disappointed as soon as he realized it was really no response at all.  It got no closer to resolving his issue than the other ones had.  Again, it gave no specifics.  It didn’t specify the “Insurance document” that they wanted.  The driver knew though.  It was a document they called “Certificate of Insurance” which is what the document is called in the city where this driver lives.  And that’s what he had been uploading over and over again.  And it’s the same document he had uploaded every year for the past four years.

Then, our driver friend hit up on a brilliant idea.  Sensing that possibly these were being answered by a computer he knew that companies that use automated voicemail systems program the systems so that if a caller sounds angry or says a curse word, the systems are programmed to send you to a human operator.  So, he guessed that possibly if he said the word, “human” in his response, it might automatically trigger the computer to send the message to a human if it had not already been answered by one.  And if it had been answered by one, it might automatically trigger the message to be sent up the ladder a level or two to a supervisor.

So, he wrote this back:

“PLEASE FORWARD THIS INQUIRY TO A HUMAN BEING… WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH.”

Right after this, he got a response that did indeed seem to be from a human and one who was intelligent enough to actually read and comprehend his question.  Here’s the message he got back:

I’m sorry to hear about the trouble here.

Allow me to explain what happened here.  I’ve reviewed the Insurance Certificate that is currently uploaded to your account, and it appears that your photo was uploaded instead of your insurance document.  That’s why the insurance document was rejected.

No worries, I can confirm that we received the Insurance Certificate that you attached to this thread and uploaded it to your account.  We will notify you as soon as they have been approved.

Our driver assures us that he never uploaded his photo so he was completely confused as to why they would have said that.  But they did confirm they received the correct document and he sat back with a sigh of relief fully expected his document to be approved soon.  He was hopeful as he noticed this message also acknowledged the attachment he had sent.  Maybe it was going to work this time!

A few hours later he got his last response from Uber.  This is what it said:

We reviewed your documents, and the Insurance Certificate could not be approved.  This document was not approved due to being the wrong document.  Please upload a copy of the original insurance certificate.

Sign in to view your Partner Dashboard to try uploading the document again:

  1. Select Vehicles from the menu
  2. Click Update next to each missing document and select the correct document to upload
  3. Enter the expiration date for each document
  4. Click Save to submit documents for review

We aim to review most documents within 2 hours from the time they are uploaded.

In other words, he was back to Square One!  As before, there was no specific indication as to what was wrong with the document other than it being called the “wrong document”!

So, one last time our driver tries to contact them – through a different method.  He fills out a form on Uber’s support site and asks the question again as clearly as humanly possible.

A few hours later he gets this response:

I can confirm that you’ve successfully uploaded your documents.  Please bear with us while we review your updated documents.  We will notify you as soon as they have been approved.  We aim to review most documents within 2 hours from the time they are uploaded.

And that was the last he heard.  They never got back to him after that.  He could have written back and continued pursuing it but he couldn’t take it anymore.  He asked himself what was the point?  He gave up.

He has been with Uber for 3 years.  He has a 4.91 rating from passengers.  He’s the kind of driver Uber should work to keep around.  But he told us they had made themselves so impossible to talk to that he no longer had any interest in working with them.  He knew he could go into their Greenlight Hub and talk to somebody in person and get it straightened out.  But he wondered why he should bother.  Lyft and Juno, he says, keep him plenty busy.  He doesn’t rule out ever driving for Uber again, but he says they are going to lose him for at least several months – and maybe longer.  Maybe permanently.

It is truly amazing that Uber can’t figure out an effective way to respond to drivers.  It seems after a company gets to a certain size that they no longer retain the ability to actually deal with their customers.  (And yes, drivers are actually customers too).

How We Rate Them

There are three things we’re looking at as we rate Uber’s changes to its driver support system:

  1. Ease of Contacting driver support
  2. Speed of response
  3. Effectiveness of Response

On ease of contacting driver support, Uber has added several methods for contacting them which has made it somewhat easier for drivers.  The big change here is that they’ve added phone support.  In testing phone support however, we found long wait times and not terribly effective agents.  They’re able to talk to you but if your issue is anything more complicated than the most basic questions, they’re not usually able to find a solution on the first call.  So, we’re giving them 3 Stars on Ease of Contact.  It’s easy to contact them but once you do they’re not terribly helpful.

On speed of response, most drivers agree that Uber has greatly improved in this area, so we’re going to give them 5 Stars on this.

On Effectiveness of Response – this is where we wish there was something less than zero stars that we could give them!  From our own personal experience and from hearing the stories of many other drivers, they deserve a -100 on this.  So we’re going to have to give them 1 Star here.

Overall, if you average our three ratings together you would come up with an over all 3-star rating.  However, Effectiveness of Response is so important and since they’ve done such an abysmally poor job on training their people to actually answer questions and solve problems, we’re going to give them an overall rating of 2 Stars – which I have a feeling most drivers would say that’s two stars too many!  We understand.

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This post was last modified on January 15, 2018, 5:01 pm

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