UberEATS Launches in Atlanta

Dear Uber,

I like your company – it’s convenient, it’s fast, and it’s fairly inexpensive. It’s a good deal for you, your consumers, and your drivers.  Everyone wins.ubereats_banner

You have been doing a lot of expansion here lately. I was able to experience UberPOOL when I was in Los Angeles this summer, and just last week, you launched UberEATS in the place I call home: Atlanta. I’ve been thinking about testing out this new Uber service, but I first turned to the place where I can quickly find honest customer feedback – Twitter.

With operations in hundreds of cities throughout the world and every continent except Antarctica,  it seems only logical that you would decide to expand outside of the taxi-based service that made the company so popular. Originally launched as UberFRESH in Santa Monica in April 2014, this new service provides lunch during a three hour timespan with a prix fixe menu that offers a different selection each day. Apparently the venture went so well in Santa Monica that you decided to expand it to other cities, including Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and even Toronto and Barcelona.

The most recent addition to this list has been Atlanta, where UberEATS (the name switched in April 2015) was launched on Thursday, September 10, 2015. Since that time, a fair number of users have taken to Twitter to express both joy and frustration. Since the launch, I have monitored and analyzed a sample collection of tweets about #UberEATS and your expansion to Atlanta. The Twitter activity on the hashtag was monitored starting on Wednesday, September 9th when the launch announcement was made through the following week. This examination has resulted in a balanced picture of the overall reaction in Atlanta to UberEATS.

On September 9, 2015, Twitter exploded with the information about the launch with over sixty tweets about the event. Activity on the feed #uberEATS combined with keyword “Atlanta” remained high on Thursday, September 10 with twenty tweets, but then fell off throughout the week, as evidenced in Graph One. I believe that some of this can be attributed to the fact that the service does not run on Saturdays and Sundays, and the launch happened on Thursday, giving it only two active days prior to the weekend.

Graph One
Graph One

Overall, this number was much lower than I personally expected, as I assumed that Atlanta would be excited for the launch. However, the number of tweets or lack thereof was not my biggest concern here, but rather the fact that 82 of the 94 tweets within the week were promotional tweets, as evidenced by Graph Two.

Tone of #Uber Eats Atlanta
Graph Two

Perhaps the largest concern here is not the fact that they were promotional tweets – we want journalists, bloggers, and even loyal customers spreading the news about our launch – but rather that they seemed to be sent by Uber drivers.  Furthermore, it was clearly a stock tweet, as I discovered a list of seventeen tweets in a row with the exact same text.

Uber DriversThose customers who did have something to say – either positive or negative – seemed to take to Twitter without the hashtag. Searching “Uber EATS Atlanta” showed a different set of tweets – this time without the repeated promotional material. Of the seventeen sent this week, most were positive, while a few were simply curious about the service, as demonstrated by the Graph

Three.

Graph Three
Graph Three

The positive tweets, much like the one seen here, were the ones that I was most interested in looking at personally. I wanted to be sure that other people liked the service and the food prior to spending $12 on lunch for myself.

Based on this feedback, I would definitely consider it for those times that I am swamped at the office but still need some lunch. I also like that the account favorited the tweet, showing that you care about consumers and want to interact with them.

Even the one “negative” tweet received a response from @Uber_Support, which I think is very important for keeping the customer happy. Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 9.59.21 AMWhile you could not provide an immediate solution to the issue, I appreciate the fact that someone was willing to acknowledge the situation and be willing to follow up on the request. Listening to the consumer and responding appropriately will only make the company better as you look to expand into other cities and countries.

After examining the tweets related to the launch of UberEATS in Atlanta, I have two main recommendations for Uber that I suggest you implement prior to launching the service in other major cities.

1.) Promotional tweets should show creativity and be unique.  Nothing good comes from asking your employees to simply copy and paste the same tweet over and over. More could be accomplished by encouraging them to craft their own creative tweets and then providing a small prize – perhaps free UberEATS for a week – for the most unique or retweeted tweets.  This would cost very little for the company, but would give consumers more information with regard to what UberEATS will offer their city.  People want to retweet things that make them laugh or provide quality information, but will simply skim or even skip the same tweet that they have seen multiple times within the day. Use your drivers wisely and encourage them to be themselves in their tweets.

2.) Allow time for build-up prior to the launch.  The day that Uber announced that you were launching in Atlanta, the number of tweets was three times that of any other day.  Perhaps announcing the launch a week or even two weeks prior to the start date will allow people to get excited about it and anticipate the launch date.  This will also allow for more promotional time on behalf of the company, your drivers, the media, and the general public.  Ideally, the launch date should be the highest traffic day on social media – give people time to learn about the new service so that they can be excited enough to try it.  Only allowing one day between the announcement and the launch was not enough time to make it as successful as it could have and should have been.

This monitoring report was prepared for my COM 5100 course.  Additional research would need to be done if this were a full report. I am specifically interested in how the Atlanta launch has compared to that of other cities and how the amount of time between announcement and launch determined how popular the service was. I would also be interested in comparing tweets about UberEATS with those of other services such as GrubHub and Zifty.

Update: One of the “inquisitive” tweets mentioned above asked why the service was not available in Buckhead – as it was originally launched only in downtown and Midtown.  Uber listened to the consumers, and today (Monday, September 21) launched the service in Buckhead. Way to monitor your consumer feedback, Uber!

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.03.47 AM

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