The #DeleteUber fiasco from this weekend may be even worse for the company than people originally assumed. According to Mike Isaac of the New York Times, the delete-spree was so bad for Uber that they had to automate their account deletion process for the first time ever. For a company that has been a around for years and an industry leader for most of their time in business, it seems impossible that before now employees processed every “delete my account” request manually, but it’s true.
As many people learned over the weekend, when you delete the Uber app it doesn’t actually delete your account. To do that you need to submit an official request through the company’s website and then a real live person will get back to you with a confirmation and a follow up response form. But after the now-apparent exodus, that process is officially transitioned to a fully automated system in which there is no manual followup and after a password entry and security check, the account is immediately closed instead of any delay. Not a great sign for customer satisfaction.
For those not in the loop, Uber miscommunicated their intent in a big moment and paid the negative press price. After New York taxi drivers announced they were supporting protesters at JFK on Saturday, Uber tweeted that all they were doing was to stop surge pricing, which gave the impression that they were breaking the strike and trying to capitalize on cabbie’s social awareness, even though they attest that was not their intent. Combined with the widely-circulated fact that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was an advisor by Trump’s economic council, and #DeleteUber was officially underway and quickly took on a life of its on throughout social media.
As Mike Isaac tells it, this is an unprecedented policy change from Uber and not in a good way.
Uber is declining to confirm exactly how many angry ride share fans deleted Uber and either recommitted to the subway and taxis or went with a competitor like Lyft. Based on this switch, the answer is probably a lot more than Uber finds acceptable. There may not be many people who re-download the app, but if they do and want to delete it again the process will be a lot more straightforward than last time.