Thursday, June 25, 2020

You Can Now Book Uber via SMS

For years, I have witnessed my parents slowly accept smartphones into their lives (one of them was more open to the idea than the other, but I’m not going to name any names). Ten years ago, the mere thought of learning how to use a smartphone made them clutch to their trusty flip-phones. As their stubbornness started to reside, they accepted that perhaps smartphones could make their lives easier…with some training from an honorary “Geek Squad” member (that would be yours truly).

Fast forward to today, and they have become more addicted to their phones than me.🙄  But just because they’ve now fully embraced mobile, doesn’t mean they love every aspect that comes with it. For the few times we’ve needed to call an Uber, my parents have grumbled at the idea of downloading yet another native mobile app onto their phones (I’ve taught them well about the benefits of a Progressive Web App platform). And they’re not the only ones who feel like this…Uber listened to the complaints of the baby boomers and implemented a new feature to increase the number of older adults using their ride-hailing services.

We’re Almost There…

Baby boomers and technology have come a long way. In 2000, 14 percent of people 65 and older used the internet; now 73 percent are. Today, 67 percent of baby boomers own a smartphone. So older adults are no strangers to owning technology…the issue lies in utilizing it properly. In a study conducted by Pew Research Center, low digital literacy rates played a crucial barrier in older adults adopting new technology services (like Uber). So older adults aren’t opposed to subscribing to new technologies that make their lives easier, they just need a little help to get there.

Do You Kids Ever Talk to Each Other Anymore?

I’ll admit, if I’m ordering food and the website doesn’t have mobile ordering, I will switch to its competitor (even if I like their food less) just so I don’t have to place a call to order my food. I know that’s crazy…I am fully capable of placing a phone call to order food, but I’m an impatient person. I don’t want to be placed on hold or misheard over the phone. But do you know who does prefer to make phone calls? Older adults. That’s why Uber implemented a new-phone-booking feature that enables users to call for a ride, rather than needing to download an app.

Kickin’ it Old School

Users will be able to call 1-833-USE-UBER to talk to a live operator to schedule rides as well as provide payment information over the phone. 40 percent of older adults 50+ are not confident in their privacy online, so providing a different avenue to give payment is a great idea to attract these new users. And once the payment information is provided, it’s stored for future uses. Users will need to have an SMS phone in order to receive texts regarding information about their ride, like the driver’s ETA, license plate number, receipts, etc.

The Ride or Die Generation  

Baby boomers are the most brand-loyal generation with 75 percent reporting they will continue to purchase a product or service once they find one they like. Another characteristic of older adults is they are increasingly concerned with independent living. So 1-833-USE-UBER seems like a home run for the company to capture additional members of this loyal generation, that currently only has around 13 percent using a ride-hailing service. Uber is currently testing this new service out in Arizona and while primarily targeted to an older audience, the new feature is available to all.

Tweet us @Lumavate if you or someone you know have tried this new service offered by Uber! 🚙