Hx beats UX

The thinking that got me to Hx: The Human Experience started with UX, the tech world’s acronym for user experience.

Given that they are unleashing their apps on a population of diverse technical aptitude, it’s important that ‘users’ (their word) are able to use the apps without frustration. Of course, this goes just part of the way to giving people a great experience.

Most of the time everything works fine, except for when something has gone wrong, or when one needs a bit of extra assistance. Apart from the fact that it’s almost impossible to pick up the phone to someone, it is at this point that the whole thing becomes very tech-like.

I could outline the following example without mentioning names, but what the hell, it probably is relevant to the story. A few nights ago, at 20:01, I ordered burgers from one of my favourite burger joints, using Uber Eats. I specifically checked the likely delivery time, which was indicated as 20-30 minutes. Perfect.

Just before delivery was due, the predicted delivery time shifted out by five minutes, and then again. Thanks to the tracking facility, I could see that the order was not yet on its way.

At roughly 20:50, I engaged the help facility via the app, and was quickly connected with someone on online chat. So, this was now half an hour beyond the earliest possible delivery time, and therefore close to double the delivery time initially predicted.

As far as UX is concerned, the app is easy to use, and well done to them for connecting me to help so quickly. That was where the positives ran out.

As it turned out, the order was despatched while I was busy with the chat. It eventually arrived something like an hour after I’d placed the order. The food was ice cold, which indicates that the restaurant had done their job, but that Uber’s scheduling function had failed (i.e. surely the system can work out how long it’s going to take for the delivery people to work their way through the orders in the system).

While on the subject of this system failure, I should mention that Uber’s built-in navigation doesn’t work nearly as well as apps like Waze. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that Uber’s navigation is designed to default to the longer route in order to juice the fares.

At no point during the chat did the ‘agent’ make any attempt at an apology (in these circumstances, even the words “I’m sorry” can get you a long way). Unfortunately, I didn’t screenshot the entire chat, but the script threw these beauties at me:

“I understand that this has not been a great experience, but please know that this is not a regular occurrence and I hope your next experience will be a better one.”

“Please know that we do take consumer feedback seriously and we are continually working to make the Uber Eats experience better.”

“We are constantly aiming to improve our service to you and your feedback will help us do so.”

All of this is fine, except that I wasn’t interested in the next time (if it ever happens). All that mattered to me was that a promise hadn’t been kept. And I was hungry.

My response to the trite scipt was: “actually you don’t care. I may as well be talking to a robot.”

To which the response was:
“Please know that I am a human and tried my best to assist you.”

Yes, strictly speaking, he checked on my food delivery and communicated that it was on its way. However, no service recovery was attempted. If anything, the wooden handling of the situation made it worse.

Hungry people are prone to emotional responses. It goes with the territory. Uber Eats should incorporate that reality in training their help desk, as well as the scripts they use.

Taking care of the human dimension involves being aware of things like this, so that they can be incorporated into the customer experience. It’s important for all businesses, and especially tech-based ones that have hardly any human interaction.

Hx: Human Experience is here to keep it human.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *