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Grab unveils 100-day plan to improve on all fronts

Just like a husband who has been caught fooling around

Here are the pillars of Grab's 100-day plan. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Ride-sharing provider Grab has had a difficult few weeks recently, and to address some of the issues confronting it—such as vehicle availability and customer support—the company unveiled a new “100-Day Plan” to the public during an event held in Makati today. The core points of said plan are aimed at improving driver behavior and welfare, as well as offering a better experience for passengers and higher-quality customer service.

Following a recent crackdown on erring drivers based on a rising number of customer complaints about too many canceled rides, Grab this time around is not only updating its Driver Code of Conduct but is also introducing new performance incentives for the men and women behind the wheel. Just like the loyalty points program already available to passengers, drivers will now also be able to collect their own rewards based on their performance. The same Regular, Silver, Gold and Platinum tier system that should be familiar to Grab riders will be used. Driver perks include such things as discounted gas, access to a drivers lounge, and cheaper vehicle maintenance.

Like politicians begging to be reelected, Grab officers promise to implement reforms. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

On top of that, Grab is also expanding its driver academy, where the people who help to keep this city moving learn everything about road courtesy, customer service and other aspects of their job, next to the usual onboarding procedures and the code of conduct that all drivers must comply with and adhere to in order to have access to the app. To make things easier for passengers, the firm has carried out some improvements to its iOS and Android applications, including a new app interface that Grab says will be cleaner and more intuitive to use. The iOS version should be fully available now, while the Android rollout will be finished by July. A new in-app SOS button will be available from June 4 onward; when activated, it automatically connects the rider to 911 and sends a text message to three registered phone numbers.

Grab wants drivers and passengers to stop standing up each other, you guys. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

One big area of concern for many passengers was customer service, and the company seems to have realized that there was indeed room for improvement. A new partnership with a local BPO that will go live by July is aimed at offering quicker resolutions for customer queries, while easier access to the dedicated phone lines for riders, drivers and platinum members is also being promised. Passengers can also report mapping issues and improve pick-up point accuracy by filing inaccuracies via the help section of the app now.

The recent removal of the P2-per-minute hidden charge and the increased gas prices have resulted in Grab drivers seeing their income reduced by around 15% recently, according to the company, and steps are also being taken to address this. Next to a P300-an-hour guarantee by the firm, Grab is also petitioning the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to change the pricing model with a view to augmenting the drivers’ income.

Grab is doing its absolute best to avoid going down the path of the defunct Uber. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

As a final step, the transport disruptor from Singapore also unveiled a new Passenger Code of Conduct that customers must observe. This will include a new “Passenger No Show” feature that drivers can use to cancel a ride if a customer doesn’t show up within seven minutes of the car arriving at the pick-up location. A cancellation fee like Uber used to charge is also being looked at and is likely to be rolled out in the near future.

Grab is promising to give updates on its 100-day plan on the 30th, 60th and 100th day of the campaign to keep everyone in the loop regarding what has been and what is being done. Key targets include a driver cancellation rate of 4% or less, and a customer service response time of six hours or better—promises we are keen to follow up on. In the meantime, passengers and drivers can use the hashtag #BetterGrabPH to help the company milk this PR campaign for all it is worth tell the company what they want to see changed.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.