Uber has launched a new phone hotline service, allowing customers to book a cab the old-fashioned way — by talking to someone.
The new service launched earlier this week and comes less than a year after it launched a similar service in the US.
Uber Australia and New Zealand managing director Dom Taylor said the company identified some older Australians were not using the service because they were not confident in navigating its app.
“It’s a bit of a back-to-the-future moment for us,” he told the AFR.
“There are groups within the community that are less open to using apps for a number of reasons, and we can still use our core product to help them move around.”
The new 13-UBER service, available between 5am and 8pm, will allow users to book a ride over the phone, or set up an Uber account for the first time.
Users must have a mobile phone to receive a text message with ride details and will receive a second text message when their driver arrives at their pick-up location.
Taylor said that YouGov research showed that 93 per cent of 65-and-over Australians felt more confident booking services over the phone.
“We have seen in the US it is a source of new riders coming to the platform who are less comfortable with apps,” he said.
“We know that older Aussies have a lot of appointments and that they are a very social group of people who are still going out for dinners and to the movies.”
How this changes Uber’s marketing, for which Special manages the creative and GroupM-owned EssenceMediacom handles the APAC media, remains to be seen.
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