Uber has announced that customers will soon be able to order a cab over the messaging app WhatsApp, making it easier to get about town. Uber and Meta, the firm that runs WhatsApp, have teamed up to offer ride-booking services to the messaging app.
This is a first for both businesses, which are trying to extend their services and, as a result, their user base in India. Uber and Meta are both based in California. Uber bookings through WhatsApp will be available in Lucknow first, with more destinations to be added in the “near future,” according to the company.
Through the Uber chatbot, customers will be able to book a ride using their WhatsApp accounts. The chatbot will ask for information such as the user’s account details, their destination, pick-up location, and other data through text messages.
Before the booking process can begin, users will need to have a discussion with the chatbot on the website. Customers may book their next Uber trip in one of three ways: by sending a message to Uber’s business account on WhatsApp, by scanning a QR code, or by clicking a link that opens a WhatsApp conversation on their mobile device.
The company stated that, after booking a trip, the customer will receive all of the necessary information, including the driver’s identity, car licence plate number, and location en way to the pickup spot, via a WhatsApp message. There will also be a display of the upfront fare information as well as the driver’s expected time of arrival (ETA). Uber’s safety features, as well as its insurance protection coverage, will be available for bookings made using WhatsApp.
Nandini Maheshwari, senior director of business development at Uber, explained that the company’s goal is to make it as simple as possible for all Indians to take an Uber journey. “To achieve that, we need to meet them on platforms that they are familiar with,” she added.
The integration of cab booking services into WhatsApp’s messaging platform comes shortly after the company launched an in-app grocery shopping feature in India earlier this year in partnership with JioMart, an online hyperlocal service from Reliance Jio, which was launched in partnership with JioMart earlier this year. The collaborations take use of WhatsApp’s massive user base in India, which has more than half a billion users and is the largest in the world, according to the company.
In a statement, Uber stated that the ride-booking service on WhatsApp would initially be accessible only in the English language, but the firm plans to expand it to other Indian languages in the future. This would mean that, in addition to receiving replies from the chatbot, you would have to compose your messages in English as well. It is still unclear what specific specifics, such as the exact keywords that will be required to be entered in order to book your rides, will be provided. Anyway, simple phrases like “ride book” should elicit the most helpful replies from the chatbot, regardless of their complexity.