Gett the cab-hailing app which has been gaining popularity in recent years changed many lives for the better with its launch. It offered Israelis the ability to conveniently call a cab with the push of button, knowing that there was someone behind the scenes responsible for maintaining the standards of the drivers and the vehicles, as well as deal with customer dissatisfaction.
Gett brought order to a relatively unregulated market, but in recent months the volume of criticism has been increasing, with a marked rise in the number of complaints on the company's Facebook page.
"Every month we kick out between 100-150 of the lowest-ranked drivers in the fleet," said Gett CEO Mark Oun. "It is expensive, but if you translate it to their harm to the system it's much worse."
The top executive claimed the only way to improve Gett's service was to rank the drivers. "Each marking of one star or two stars leads to a checkup. We even call the customers after the examination for example, if we receive 100 one-star marks, we look at the circumstances and the 30% that were justified will receive a phone call."
"Globes": What do you do if you happen on an unfriendly cab?
"You can call the service center during or after the ride. The center works 24/7 and almost 100% of the calls are handled within a short period," said Oun. "I promise on my honor it is impossible for a driver to make a mistake twice."
Of the Facebook complaints, Oun said that "it is a service channel, like the phone. Each inquiry is thoroughly followed-up."
He said: "Our representatives carefully examine each low score and we try to determine whether there was legitimacy to the complaint. If a cab is late because of a traffic jam, it may not be a pleasant experience, but it does not necessitate a follow-up.
"For low marks we open a service file, and if a driver decides to smoke in the vehicle, he's out of the fleet. He receives a warning the first time but the second time he's gone."
The company was founded in 2010 and its services extend to Israel, UK, US, and Russia.
Oun claimed that "40% of our rides are rated (between one star to five stars). As to our measures of whether service was good or bad, we only look at the ratings. We live in a world in which customers score service providers the national average is 4.82 out of 5."
G: What can you do to receive an immediate reply?
"During the ride there is a button that connects the customer with the call center," said Oun. "In a week we will also offer the ability to send an email during the ride, but each and every avenue works. My recommendation for everyone is to rate your driver we deal with 100% of the cases with low marks, it is the best feedback we can receive. One and two star marks dealt with at the highest echelon that is my personal promise."
G: How do you maintain the standards?
"We have some 6,700 drivers today, compared with 4,700 last August. We have recruiters on the ground, people who provide technical instruction, visually inspect the vehicle, the licenses, and other necessary documents. If the driver is suitable, he passes a briefing of up to an hour and a half on the operations and service," said Oun. "We explain to him how to treat a private customer, a business customer, a credit card transaction. We give clear directives over the service and then the driver must pass a test."
G: What about drivers that don't meet your standards?
"The final say over whether a driver who is already in the system stays or goes is with the customers," stressed Oun. "Highly-rated drivers receive incentives; those who promote the company's visions are promoted. We also hold a gathering for outstanding drivers, which I personally host each month. We hand out prizes and recognition letters.
"On the ground we have more than a few centers across Israel. In each city there is a specific employee who keeps an eye on the drivers in real time, and he takes a close look at all the drivers once a month the interior, the exterior, the app's feedback. Once a year we also meet all the drivers. It happened last years and it'll be held again next month when we hand out the holiday presents.
"On the other hand, customers who act inappropriately and hurt the drivers or damage the service are also kicked out. There are more than a few inebriated young adults who make a fuss in the cabs we take them out of circulation. We must protect our clients and our drivers," explained Oun.
"More and more parents are sending their kids to afterschool classes with Gett without escort and I think that's the best measure of our service, when a parent trusts a company with their child."
Another problem faced by the firm is the phenomenon of fake Gett cabs. "We received complaints that the Gett logo was on the taxi but that the cabs were not part of our fleet," said Oun. "Each such incident must be investigated thoroughly. If you pulled a cab over on the street, ask that they connect the ride to the app."
Oun says that there are drivers formerly affiliated with the Gett service who have simply not taken off the insignia. "In the past we had drivers that put the Gett logo on their vehicles that is why you should order only through the app. We find these types and deal with them, but the Ministry of Transport does not provide us with information on the drivers. If you want to complain, you need the license plate number not the taxi ID. I, personally, have zero tolerance for the offending drivers."
G: How do you explain the rise in complaints?
"I don't see a rise in the number of complaints," Oun shot back. "You must consider that the complaints are a function of the number of users. The company has over 35,000 rides per day on the national level, if you see two or three or 10 complaints out of 35,000 rides, that is an excellent ratio. My promise each complaint will be handled. We are the only ones to actually enforce discipline and carry out visual inspections.
"During the first rain, everyone will suddenly complain that drivers are smoking in the cabs it repeats itself. The reason is that drivers roll up their windows in the rain. The drivers don't actually smoke in the vehicle, only outside, but you can smell it when you close the windows. Two weeks before, we instruct our drivers and punish those who smoke. There are more than 200 staffers whose duties revolve around such tasks."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 24, 2015
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