Updated: December 2, 2021 11:39:03 am
In a global first, Uber and WhatsApp announced a new partnership in India, wherein customers will be able to book a cab using the ride-share service’s official WhatsApp chatbot. The feature has been built on the WhatsApp Business Platform.
Uber is rolling this out on a pilot basis in Lucknow first. It will then expand the feature to other Indian cities soon. Customers will be able to book Uber cars, Uber Moto (motorcycles) and autos with the feature.
It is interesting to see Uber tie-up with WhatsApp for cab bookings. The Meta-owned messaging app is the most popular in the country with over 400 million users. The integration will free users from having to download the Uber app in order to book a cab as the facility rolls out to more cities in India.
Customers will be to carry out all activities via the WhatsApp chatbot from registration to booking the cab to trip receipt. At the moment, this option for booking a ride via WhatsApp will only be available in English. It will be expanded to other Indian languages soon, though Uber has not given an exact timeline.
The service is available to both new and existing users who registered with only a phone number on Uber.
When a user books the ride via WhatsApp, they will get the same safety features and insurance protections as those who book trips via the Uber app directly, according to the company. Just as the app shows the name of the drive, license plate of the car, the same will continue when one decides to book via WhatsApp.
Users will also be able to track the location of the driver en route to the pickup point and be able to speak to the driver anonymously using a masked number, the company said.
If the user selects the “emergency” option while on the trip which was booked on WhatsApp, they will receive an inbound call from Uber’s customer support team. Uber riders will also have access to its safety line number to call, if needed, until 30 mins after the trip ends, the company said.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for all Indians to take an Uber trip, and to do that we need to meet them on platforms they are comfortable with. Our partnership with WhatsApp does just that, giving riders a new way to get a ride through a simple, familiar, and trusted channel,” Nandini Maheshwari, Sr Director, Business Development, Uber APAC said in a press statement.
“The WhatsApp Business Platform has been an important lever for businesses that want to build a direct connect with their consumers. The Uber experience on WhatsApp is simple, familiar, and relatable for users and has the potential to accelerate adoption of Uber with a new category of riders in India,” Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India said.
Here’s how the users will be able to book an Uber using WhatsApp
WhatsApp users will be able to book an Uber ride using three ways.
First, they can message Uber’s business account number.
Two, they can scan a QR code.
Three they can click a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat.
Uber has not specified that WhatsApp number just yet. Customers who start the chat with Uber on WhatsApp will then be asked to provide pickup and drop-off locations. Users will receive the driver’s expected time of arrival along with fare via WhatsApp itself.
Meanwhile, Uber says drivers on the platform will see no change in their experience with rides booked via WhatsApp.
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