Customer Contact Week:Expert Insights from VP at Uber

Troy Stevenson joined Uber in 2016 and he is the VP & Global Head of Community Operations at Uber.

Previously, Troy led functions related to customer experience, support, insights and strategy at eBay and Charles Schwab. He began his career with the Boston Consulting Group, where he spent six years in BCG’s Chicago and New Zealand offices. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from Northwestern University.

In this speaker spotlight feature, Troy shares his responsibilities at Uber, sheds light on the importance of understanding their customers and explains the why behind their massive global effort to become a customer-centric organization rather than a transactional-focused one.

Q: Tell us a little bit more about your role at Uber?

A: I lead our Global Community Operations (“CommOps”) function at Uber. We are the organization responsible for supporting all Uber customers (Riders, Driver Partners, Delivery Partners, Uber Eats Users, Shippers, etc.) across the 70+ countries in which Uber operates. We do this via a network of tens of thousands of employee-agents and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partners, spread across dozens of operations centers and over 600 Greenlight partner support locations. Our teams are responsible for customer support, partner onboarding, community safety, sales and enablement operations. It’s been an exhilarating journey as we’ve grown this team from zero to massive over the past four years!

Q: Why is it important to evolve a very transactional experience to a community-building experience?

A: CommOps is the eyes, ears, voice and heart of Uber to the communities that we serve. We engage in around a million interactions with customers everyday. Historically, these interactions have been transactional in nature (e.g., reviewing fares, fixing problems, providing basic information), versus taking the opportunity to build stronger relationships as part of these interactions. And that’s something we’ve been working hard to change. As we solve more pain-points upstream, automate simple contacts and enable more self-service, the customer contacts that remain are more complex and nuanced. So we’re leaning hard into ensuring we not only solve the customer’s problem, but also learn more about their needs, uncover root cause issues and take the time to earn trust an ensure the customer has a positive experience with Uber. Our industry is becoming increasingly competitive, and therefore creating connections with our users becomes a true point of differentiation for Uber.

Q: Uber is a global company and as an organization, really understanding your customers, their culture and the nature of the way a specific city or country works is crucial to the safety of your customers. What are some steps that Uber is taking to accomplish this?

A: We have three primary approaches to this:

  • Quantitative: We constantly monitor our support tickets to pinpoint anomalies and trends that can alert us to potential systems outages, bugs and market-specific issues. That lets us quickly inform the business when something is amiss.
  • Qualitative: We have people embedded with local business teams that are the eyes and ears for business leaders. They are regularly reviewing customer support interactions, talking with agents, tracking social media, etc. And they aim to provide ongoing, tangible and actionable voice-of-customer flavor and insights to the business.
  • In-Person: We host millions of current and prospective driver-partners in our Greenlight Network every year. Those interactions are a critical way to build community, strengthen relationships and create a positive brand experience.

Q: What are some of the challenges related to building and supporting an organization that has experienced such explosive growth?

A: When Uber first started, we didn’t have a dedicated customer support department. Rather, every employee at Uber answered customer emails as part of their job. Fast forward to today, and we’ve got one of the world’s largest customers support functions, with tens of thousands of people serving customers globally. Most companies grow to that type of scale over decades, but CommOps did so in a very short amount of time. As a result, we've had to build some of the core foundations (e.g., systems, tools, processes, etc.) while also responding to exponential growth; we've been building the foundation and laying the tracks, and more and more trains continue to rumble down them at increasing volume and speed. It has been quite the adventure!

Q: What are you most excited to share with our CCW Vegas attendees?

A: I’m excited to talk about our evolution of how we’ve grown our CommOps functions so fast and so globally, and the challenges this entailed in terms of people, culture, systems and capabilities. And I’m looking forward to talking about this moment in time, and how we are transforming this massive global organization. We’re at this exciting inflection point. We’ve mostly focused on transaction, and now we’re looking to be a key lever in Uber’s efforts to deepen, broaden and strengthen relationships with riders, partners, delivery customers, shippers, bikers, scooter riders -- and who knows what’s next – in our journey to redefine urban mobility in every corner of the world

Speaker Feature Fun Fact: "I live in Los Gatos, California, with my wife, two teenagers and dog, Buster. I enjoy coaching my kids’ sports teams, traveling and biking."

Join us in Las Vegas!

PEOPLE STAGE: Transform Culture by Building Relationships Over One-Off Transactions

Wednesday, June 26th I 4:00 PM

PANEL DISCUSSION: Optimize the Human Factor in Agent and Customer Engagement

Wednesday, June 26th I 5:45 PM