Ride-hailing platform, Grab has announced a new feature called GrabChat, an instant messaging platform embedded within the mobile app, allowing users to communicate with their drivers.
According to the Singapore-based company, the on-going beta testing amongst select drivers and passengers in Malaysia and Singapore has helped saved drivers 85,000 and passengers 45,000 SMSes respectively.
In addition, Grab said drivers and passengers on GrabChat beta are seeing a significant reduction in ride cancellations by aiding the pickup process. With GrabChat, drivers can communicate their estimated arrival times without leaving the app screen, while passengers are able to receive more responsive feedback and share their exact locations.
“GrabChat makes it easier and quicker for passengers and drivers to commence their rides by allowing seamless communication between them without leaving the Grab app or incurring mobile charges. Our latest feature solves a commonly encountered gap where communication between drivers and passengers helps to commence a ride by locating one another or informing an estimated arrival time. We’re seeing an increase in passengers using Grab beyond one country and the availability of GrabChat will help drivers without international calling capability communicate with foreign mobile numbers,” said Tan Hooi Ling, Co-founder of Grab.
“This new feature is the outcome of us listening and understanding the needs and wants of our customers. It is a simple, fast, convenient and most importantly a safer instant messaging platform to ease communications between passengers and drivers without the worry of communication breakdowns, international roaming call charges and being distracted while driving. Grab was birthed in Malaysia to address the need of providing safe transport option for all Malaysians while improving the welfare of our drivers, therefore we are proud to take the lead with the launch of GrabChat in the region,” said Jaygan Fu, Country Head of Grab Malaysia.
Fu also went on to add that Grab will develop additional features for GrabChat. “We already have plans to introduce new features and more hyperlocal functions to make it even easier for local passengers and regional travellers to communicate with local drivers,” explained Fu.
GrabChat is currently applicable for GrabCar and GrabTaxi services and will be made available in phases on Android and iOS devices in the coming weeks.
The Grab service is available in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. The app allow users to book for taxis (GrabTaxi), private car services (GrabCar), motorcycle taxis (GrabBike), social carpooling (GrabHitch) and last mile delivery (GrabExpress).