In October, Grab unveiled its Safer Everyday Tech Roadmap, which is composed of product enhancements that aim to eliminate preventable incidents, encourage safer user habits, and drive long-term changes in road behavior. Photo shows Brian Cu, country head for Grab Philippines, along with key members and participants during the Safer Everyday launch.
Grab/Released
Yearender: Growth becomes Grab
(Philstar.com) - January 4, 2019 - 3:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — To say that Grab had a busy year is an understatement.

Since launching in the Philippines in 2013, Grab steadily rose to become the leading online-to-offline mobile platform not just in the country but in Southeast Asia. From starting out as GrabTaxi to now offering multiple services like GrabCar, GrabBike, GrabShare, GrabExpress, GrabFood and many more in the works, the company rebranded itself to be simply known as Grab.

As Grab, it has become so much more than a ride-hailing app, providing convenient services to address everyday needs, particularly for logistics. 

However, the road to growth has been paved with considerable challenges especially in 2018.

Grab Philippines has recently announced a partnership with SM Group where members will be able to use GrabPay mobile wallets for the latter’s wide merchant and banking network in 2019. Grab/Released

This prompted Grab to not only become more creative with its product offerings but to also become more proactive as it dealt with regulatory issues, its acquisition of its former rival Uber, in Southeast Asia, while addressing the needs and concerns of its driver-partners and riders.

At a time when everything seems to be moving at such a fast pace—Grab has remained steadfast in achieving its goals and stayed resilient in overcoming seemingly endless bumps on the road.

“When we look at Grab as a whole, we’re trying to move to become an ‘everyday app’—which is distinct to what one’s everyday essentials are—and that means new verticals. Because we’re expanding our product universe, I believe a lot of new user growth will come from these new verticals. But the growth of Grab Philippines as a whole, in terms of its products being offered to a broader set of people, is still going to be very strong,” Brian Cu, country head for Grab Philippines, said during an exclusive interview with Philstar.com.

Better trips ahead

Early in the year, Grab launched its 100 Day Campaign to address pressing concerns, particularly after its acquisition of Uber.

As the company tried to seamlessly merge its operations, many questions were raised among partner drivers and everyday riders. Thus, it aimed to earn their trust by rolling out initiatives designed to improve driver behavior, provide better rider experience, and upgrade its customer support.

“One big thing we've learned is how to talk to our users in a better way—how to be more transparent, what level of transparency, what things we need to be transparent about. Our voice to the customer is something we'd like to improve on in 2019, how we can do that better,” Cu said.

For her part, Cindy Toh, country marketing head, said, “We are directly addressing rider complaints on booking cancellations, driver behavior and pricing, and will make our drivers undergo intensive transformation programs to make them models of road courtesy and public service,”

From there, Grab started offering Enhanced Driver Performance Incentives where top performing drivers are rewarded based on their number of rides, high rating, and good passenger feedback.

Brian Cu, country head for Grab Philippines, expresses the company's aim to become the "everyday app" to cater to people's essentials. Grab/Released

They then improved their Driver Code of Conduct, a set of updated rules and regulations that stipulates the tasks and traits of a responsible Grab driver-partner. They must agree and comply with the CoC to maintain access to the Grab app.

Grab also launched a Passenger Code of Conduct.

They then expanded their Grab Driver Academy, which now provides modules on road courtesy, customer service and data privacy, and social media handling. These are on top of the usual driver onboarding and rehabilitation training services.

To better motivate its driver partners, Grab has a Driver Rewards Program for Platinum, Gold, Silver and regular members. The program offers valuable perks such as discounted gas price, driver lounge access and maintenance discounts.

“Majority of our drivers go above and beyond to serve their passengers. They are our everyday heroes who work tirelessly to bring our passengers to their desired destinations. This is what inspires us. We hope that with these new improvements, our driver-partners will continue to be good and responsible members of the TNVS community and enablers of better journeys,” said Toh.

As for improving passenger experience, Grab has overhauled its app with a new and more intuitive interface for iOS and Android in July. With the new home screen, pick-up points can be easily set and passengers can easily select their preferred service. Grab Rewards are also categorized for easier selection and redemption of offers.

Grab has also improved its Help Center, encouraging passengers to report ride concerns, location issues—particularly pick-up and drop-off points.

To provide quicker resolution to customer concerns, the company scaled up its customer service team by partnering with a BPO also in July. Dedicated service lines for passengers, drivers and platinum users provides easier access to after-ride services.

Last but not the least, the 100 Day Campaign launched a new in-app SOS button that connects passengers to 911 and sends SMS to three registered phone numbers in case of emergencies.

“We know that this is not easy. While we cannot change everything overnight, we can assure that the Grab experience will only get better. We thank our passengers and driver-partners for joining us in this journey,” Toh explained.

Through the successful 100 Day Campaign, Grab was able to strengthen its culture of transparency and collaboration to create resolutions.

Improvements didn’t end there.

Raising transport safety standards

In October, Grab unveiled its Safer Everyday Tech Roadmap, which is composed of product enhancements that aim to eliminate preventable incidents, encourage safer user habits, and drive long-term changes in road behavior.

“The Safer Everyday Tech Roadmap is an extension of Grab’s current efforts in Southeast Asia, where we are the only major player to invest in foundations like a 24/7 customer support center, number masking, and stringent driver background checks and verification,” Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling said.

“Our campaign on safety includes offline: background checks on drivers, better training centers, to online: stricter sign-ups, safer platforms. We're also looking to revamp our insurance for better coverage on accidents, not just death. And we will continue to do driver trainings, which focus on safety and first-aid,” Cu added.

As a result, Grab’s incident rates have decreased by 40 percent over the last year since Q3 2017.

By partnering with government agencies across Southeast Asia, Grab is able to better address each country’s top transport safety concerns as it doubles its investment in safety measures in 2019.

In the Philippines, Grab will specifically tackle accident and crime prevention in TNVS.

By working with the Philippine National Police, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Drug Enforcement Agency, together they will work on crime and accident prevention in the transport industry while training more drivers to be able to provide assistance as emergency first responders for accidents on the road.

Customer-centric additions

As it continues to come up with new services to provide everyday convenience to its members, Grab has launched GrabFood in the Philippines, while partnering with the SM Group for GrabPay.

“Payments is an integral part of the whole retail kingdom—financial technology. So we're helping bring in the fintech to the SM universe, starting off with the malls—on retail payments, then later on rewards, then potentially on lending, on buyers and merchants. So there's a whole lot of stuff we're looking at that we’re planning to do with SM,” Cu said.

As it continues to come up with new services to provide everyday convenience to its members, Grab has launched GrabFood, which is now the fastest-growing delivery service in Southeast Asia with the largest geographic presence. Grab/Released

GrabFood is the fastest-growing delivery service in Southeast Asia with the largest geographic presence. Since its launch in the country, GrabFood has already expanded its services reach to 10 cities in Metro Manila particularly, Bonifacio Global City, Makati, Ortigas, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Manila, Taguig and Pasay.

The service is currently being beta-tested in Cebu City and Mandaue as its user growth has increased by 10x over the past three months.

Currently, GrabFood has the widest restaurant selection in the Philippines with 4,000 locally based restaurants already onboard.

From GrabFood to GrabPay, the company has recently announced a partnership with SM Group where members will be able to use GrabPay mobile wallets for the latter’s wide merchant and banking network in 2019.

Positioning itself as the Everyday Wallet for the Everyday App, Grab welcomes this exciting opportunity with the SM Group in support of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ vision of transitioning 20 percent of all transactions into cashless by 2020.

“The way Grab is used is different, because we have a value proposition that we bring to the table that's unique versus other payment providers. Payments is always about convenience, and what other product layers we can place on top of payments like insurance, microinvesments, lending, rebates and points. On top of that, we make sure to continue looking for strategic partnerships that bring value to the users, like the one we have with SM,” Cu said.

And as a way of saying “thank you” to its members, Grab Philippines offered a valuable service this December through its Grab Christmas Express campaign.

By offering free bus and jeepney rides in key locations in Metro Manila, the company was able to help commuters enjoy the usually stressful holiday season through convenient, safe and free rides.

From a challenging start to ending the year strong, Grab is looking forward to even more improvements and goals achieved in 2019 as it gets #BetterEveryday. — With Gerald Dizon

GRAB GRAB PHILIPPINES
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