Olacabs, a bad User Experience

Olacabs
Olacabs (source : Olacabs)

India is on a 48 hour stand-still with the ‘India Bandh’ called by the All Trade Union. They are protesting against privatization, outsourcing, violation of labour laws, price rise and several other burning issues of the country, trade unions of banking, insurance, public sector undertakings, transporters and unorganized sectors.

Nope, I’m going to write about the India Bandh (general strike) but more of a personal experience with Olacabs – an Indian Startup with over $8M in Series A fund.

Olacabs Lied

With our new office setup in Indiranagar, Bangalore, everyday is an excitement being in the office – working, playing and being with the team. Yesterday, with the Bandh announced, I was looking for alternatives to my usual travel medium, the Auto rickshaw aka the Tuk-Tuk.

As luck would have it, Twitter was abuzz with tweets that Olacabs will take special measure to have their cabs available to help the general public, with an added advantage of slashing their fares to that of the auto-rickshaw. All the problem solved! Moreover, I’ve been looking forward to trying their iOS app, use it and write a nice review about them (what an irony). I was hoping that Olacabs will be the Uber of India.

Today Morning, with all hopes and enthusiasm, I got up and was ready for office. I even confirmed a candidate for an Interview for one of our job openings. I fired up the Ola App, and ‘booked’ a cab. Olacabs confirmed by Booking and was assigned a ‘CRN’ Number – 1765782 and the cab will pick me at 10am.

Got dressed, bags shouldered but by 10:10am, with no sign of Olacabs, I called up their Customer Support. The voice on the other end wailed “Ola” multiple times and I even got to know that Ola means ‘Hello’ in Spanish. A ‘Subhalakshmi’ picked up the phone after about 3 minutes and she was pretty blunt, wasn’t really listening to me or she could not understand what I was asking. I had to ask her if she really speaks English. I asked for something and she blurted out something else. Of course, I got the fact that my cab was cancelled and they were ‘no longer servicing in my area.’

Well, looks like Olacabs did something without proper planning and their PR Stunt is just that – a PR Stunt. Yes, I’ll try them again, give them another chance but today was such a bad User Experience that I won’t expect much from them. They are just another service company with a Spanish name and like every other taxi company, will not try to provide a good user experience and differentiate from the lot.

UPDATE

  • Aug 30, 2013: Uber launches in India. Sign-up and get Rs. 600 off your first ride.
  • Uma Shankar

    It has happened with me as well. I tried their android app and then when I spoke to driver, he said he cannot come and he is not even on duty today. So much for their automation!! So I spoke to CelCabs and they got me a cab in 15 minutes. After that Ola customer care calls me that they can arrange me a cab in 20 minutes. But my impression was gone. They may be hi-tech, but if it doesn't solves my need, whats the point... This was when there wasn't any strike either.

    • Sheetal

      I booked a cab from Sakinaka to Kandivali for 23:00hrs. Driver Gopal(Mob:9702719624) called @ 21:45hrs to confirmed, i requested him that i vl call him in next 10 minutes, so i called him in 10mins but he did not bother to answer my call, and then my husband tried calling him, then he answered the call, and when asking him to reach the destination. He said that they have cancelled the booking and on top of that he was using abusive language like " jo ukhadneka hai ukhad lo, jisko complaint karna hai karo". after this we complaint the same to their customer care, they did not even bother to get back to us, so spoke to their Team Lead Ajinkya, but even he was useless, not even bother to get back and also he was not able to give the satisfactory answer. These people are just here to cheat the customer. I would suggest people not to travel by OLA Cabs, as they are very unprofessional, specially the drivers and even the customer service is pathetic. They don't know the meaning of Customer Service first of all

  • You are wrong. Based on your experience, I will say that Ola is indeed the Uber of India.

    http://pandodaily.com/2012/10/31/assholes-shrug/

    (I encourage you to read the full series on Uber by Paul Carr)

  • Brajeshwar, we regret the inconvenience caused here to you. This is definitely not the kind of experience we would like to be known for. The decision to run at auto fares was taken to do our bit to the city and ensure that emergency needs are met. We on-roaded additional 30% capacities for these 2 days to give it all we have. We served 2 times the customer volume, we generally do and are happy about our contribution. What left us touched was that a good number of these users were women, senior citizens- first time users who probably needed us most this day.

    It goes without saying that our capacities are at the moment, way lower than what the public transport systems can accomodate but our very purpose of existence is to be the default mode of transport for you - reliable, easy and efficient. However, what went a little against us in this specific instance were cases where customers were holding back cabs longer than we expected them to ride, given the lack of other available/convenient modes of transport- which we obviously couldn't deny.

    All of this said and done, we are making good for every customer we were unable to serve in these two days in our own way. This way, we are still left content that we could do our bit to everyone who reached out to us.

    Also, we see that delay today was because the driver couldn't locate the pick-up point in time. We understand this has left a bad taste and we'd like to fix this for you. Rest assured that the app is worth a re-install and you'd love to ride with us in future. We're doing all it takes to make your default choice of personal transport, an awesome experience for you, everytime.

    • Santosh M

      I
      have booked the below cab for 12:30 PM for my grand father and mom to catch a
      train by 2 PM I have to call customer care by 12:10 PM as i did not get details
      about the cab i received a message within 5 minutes after my call i tried to
      reach the driver but he never answered my call. I called back customer care and
      was kept on hold for 15 minutes and it was 12:45 PM by this time. I rushed with
      them to the main road to hire an auto for rupees RS 450 we were able to reach
      station by 2:30 PM and we missed the train i have to stand in the long line in
      railway station to get another ticket and run behind the railway TTE to get
      them seats for journey.

      I
      had to spend more than 1000 rupees in this process to get the tickets confirmed
      and for the cancelled tickets and for the extra fare i paid for the auto along
      with all the inconvenience caused to me and my family members.

      Meanwhile
      no one really bothered to check if i got a cab and if i reached my destination.

      I really feel your company was the reason for my worst experience ever i had with a cab service.

      I am not going to use OLA CABS again and i recommended most of my friends not to use it.

  • Baskarjee

    I have watched you for very long ... Rather than spending your time about complaining about someone, something all the time ... why don't u do something useful? This is the reason why you are not growing up ... Maybe there is a problem with your parenting or early childhood or the way you grew up ... don't be offended ... why don't u consult a good psychiatrist to get rid of this complaining disease dude?

    • Hi baskerjee@gmail.com from Chennai,

      No, I don't delete comments which are not spam. Yours was not spam and I can see that it's there. Of course, if you're one of those spammer, Disqus (my site's commenting system) will flag you and might delete you. So, use a different address than the one you used for your spamming routine.

      Thanks for following/stalking me and reminding me of my childhood. And yes, I'll find the right psychiatrist and get myself checked. 😉

    • santosh

      i think you are the one in need of psychiatrist go find one soon 🙂

  • baskerjee

    so,u deleted my comment ... hee ... hee

  • Thanks. when i come india. i will contact.

  • Thejesh GN

    I have been using taxiforsure for a long time. They don't have a fancy app yet. But they always turn up. I have booked them (all online, web) for about 15 time now. They always turned up at least 10 mins early. Try them.

    • Actually Merucab works for me most of the time. I still have the OlaCabs App on my device and I'm willing to give them a fair try.

  • Gaurav

    I always hire Olacabs radio taxis in Bangalore and got sms on time and cabs also came on time. But on band day Olacabs got lot of advance booking and calls so that cab cancellation was happened.

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  • ravish

    someone booked cab using my details but how to cancel bcs i dont show cancel option

    Confirmed CRN 12807762