The rise of the new economy has given rise not just to new industries but also to new business models. E-commerce led the wave of what has today become the positioning of choice for many an entrepreneur – the ‘integrator’. With technology playing a substantial role in ‘integrating’ various pieces of the model, several challenges got addressed. The same technology in turn, however, laid out a fresh set of issues that need to be resolved.
For Uber, these challenges centre around seemingly infrastructural but essentially human factors. It has overcome the ignominy that (an) errant driver(s) caused in its early days in India, but its problems are far from over. Here are six reasons why #Uber could fail in India:
Reason 1: Technology issue – Hi-speed Internet, the keystone of Uber’s business model, is not yet the norm even in metros in India.
Reason 2: Trust issue – Drivers don’t trust the navigation feature on their Uber devices, and so, bother customers endlessly for directions, making pick-ups a nuisance.
Reason 3: Agency issue – Drivers, at will, turn off their device, misleading customers as to their actual location. Worse, they can refuse calls and become incommunicado because calls to and from customers are routed through Uber.
Reason 4: Temporal issue – Drivers don’t respect the time estimate for arrival provided to customers. Hence, 5 minutes become 15, 10 become 25. Detours are rampant, sometimes for a snack break, at other times for a brief nap.
Reason 5: Cultural issue – We Indians have an oral culture. We don’t like to talk to an email ID (support@Uber), especially one that doesn’t respond. As a customer, your only recourse to grievance redressal is to force-fit your complaint into the standard set of issues listed on Uber’s website, after which you will promptly receive a stock email from Uber in, no doubt, a personalised tone.
Reason 6: Holier-Than-Thou issue – Uber charges customers for rides cancelled by drivers, at will. That too without any notice. A case of taking the customer for granted, methinks.
A fancy name and a fancy app don’t a business model make; respect the customers – recognise their uniqueness – and their business is yours to take.