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Will I ever trust Uber again?

Posted: April 19th, 2024 | Posted in Uncategorized |

I had just finished a speaking event in Brisbane. Adrenaline had been pumping for days in the lead up and now it was all over. The celebration dinner was done and it was time to head back to my hotel. 

I realised that it was time to refocus and get organised for my early trip to the airport the next morning to fly back to Sydney.

I hopped onto the Uber app and reserved a ride for 6:30am which would get me to the airport in time for my 8am flight.

I received the confirmation notice that my driver Mike would be there at 6:30 but would only stay until 6:35. Ubers way of letting me know not to be late otherwise my ride would be cancelled and I’d be charged the fair.

The alarm went off at 6pm. I checked my phone and all looked good – no notifications from Uber letter me know that plans had changed. I arrived in the foyer at 6:25, dropped off my keys and checked the app to see how far away Mike was.

As I logged into the app I got a notification that my trip was completed and I had been invoiced. I was so confused as the pick up time was still a few minutes away.

I clicked on the past ride to see if I could contact Mike to find out if he was still coming, however there was no way of reaching him. I tried to contact Uber but their “help” is only a preprogrammed bot that does not have an option for “ride marked as complete before even started” or “driver never arrived”.

I clicked some random “other” option and hit submit. Clearly no help was readily at hand.

It was now 6:35am – the time when Mike would be allowed to leave if I wasn’t there. But what happens if Mike never even arrived? I had no way of contacting him or Uber and I had a plane to catch.

I immediately called 13Cabs and got an automated booking service that had my cab booked in under a minute. Could it be this easy? Would someone actually arrive? My phone pinged.

“Yusuf driving cab xxx is arriving. Thanks for choosing 13cabs.”

10 minutes later I was in the taxi heading to the airport and would not miss my flight – no thanks to Uber.

After checking in and grabbing a much needed coffee, my phone pinged again. It was Uber informing me that there was a misunderstanding of the time and that I hadn’t been charged more than the quoted amount. What? Why was I charged at all?

Apparent Mike had arrived at 6:17am, waited 5mins and then drove off to his next job and charged me for a trip that was never taken. 

I’m sorry – what? 

The booking was clearly for 6:30am and as you can see from the trip – I clearly didn’t get it to the airport and Uber still thinks it’s ok to charge me?

News flash Uber – that’s not OK.

From a branding perspective here’s the problem for Uber.

1. My trust in Uber has been broken.

Will I feel secure using their reserve feature in the future? No, of course not because when I needed it most, the service failed.

2. Poor communication channels.

There was no way for me to contact the driver – or any human for that matter. The automated bot didn’t have a solution that could solve my problem at that very moment. Not being able to speak to a human made my experience frustrating not to mention my concern about missing my flight.

3. Not taking responsibility.

After lodging my dispute about the invoice, Uber acknowledged a timing issue but did not offer to refund the amount, instead stating that I wasn’t charged an additional cancellation fee which has left a bad taste in my mouth.

4. Wasting my time.

Now I have to spend my time chasing this refund adding more frustration and discontent.

What would have been a better experience?

1. The Uber driver could have waited until the actual pick up time.

That’s it! Be there when you say you will be there. Wait until the agreed time is up.

I decided to book the Uber ride as it was $20 cheaper than the taxi ride taken from the airport 3 days earlier. My lesson learnt – pay peanuts, get monkeys!

Note to self: remove Uber app from phone.

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Optus hell no!

Posted: November 8th, 2023 | Posted in Uncategorized | No comments

You could literally hear a collective groan this morning as Australian’s across the country who are on the Optus network, woke to find that their morning procrastascroll ritual was halted in it’s track.

It appears that the Optus ‘Yes’ slogan – which was designed to represent the voice of the customer – is starting to turn into a resounding ‘no’! The Optus woes hit their zenith in September 2022 when they suffered one of the largest cyber-attacks resulting in nearly 10million past and present customers’ data being leaked.

By October, reported that 10 percent of Optus customers had decided to let their feelings over the data breach be known by walking away from Australia’s second biggest telco.

With today’s outage businesses, schools, hospitals and transport network communication came screeching to a halt. As someone who never carries cash, it came as quite a shock that I couldn’t buy my morning coffee as the EFTPOS machine didn’t work. Apart from no communication, we now we have a cranky, caffeine-deprived community. Not to mention the loss of income for so many small businesses, taxis and banking services. Then of course there are millions of us mere mortals who are without our trusty appendages. Heaven forbid that my teenagers won’t be able to keep up with their SnapChat streak – unless of course they all crowd into Macca’s for the free Wifi.

Seriously though, an outage that started in the wee hours of the morning and is still not fixed almost half a day later, is unheard of in our world of fast paced technology. Australia is a very small place when it comes to mistakes of this magnitude. More concerning is that it took Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin almost six hours to address the Optus crash, only to admit that they had still not identified the source of the problem. If this turns out to be another cyber-attack, how have they let this happen – again? Can Optus come back from what is being named as the biggest national phone outage ever?

While Telstra and Vodafone rub their hands with glee, knowing full well that this could be their early Christmas present, the question must be asked if this is the death knoll for Optus. Mistakes happen, we all get that, however, the way Optus handled both the data breach and now this outage has clearly left a bitter taste in customers mouths. Branding isn’t about the logo, pretty colours or fancy stores. The brand is about reputation, about how you make your customers feel and what they say about you when you aren’t in the room. You don’t have to be a genius to know that the brand damage from this outage will have long term repercussion for Optus No.

We’re taking bets on what percentage of customers Optus will lose with this massive faux pas.

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