Grab is now launching a new feature, GrabChat, which is essentially an instant messaging platform embedded within the app. Malaysia will be the first to oversee its release, making this ride-hailing app the first in SouthEast Asia to provide instant messaging within their app itself.
The in-app messaging platform is specifically designed to help improve the passengers’ ride experience for quicker pickup rates while maintaining safety for drivers.
“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. 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.
How it works is firstly, after you’ve confirmed your booking with a Grab driver, you’ll be able to see the GrabChat icon appear on the screen. You can then click on the icon to select any of the responses provided in the template or customise your response. Once you’ve chosen a selected answer, you can then click send to initiate the conversation.
According to the beta test that Grab is still in the process of conducting, GrabChat has helped to save 85,000 SMSes from drivers and 45,000 SMSes from passengers respectively. The beta also saw a significant reduction in ride cancellations by aiding the pickup process.
GrabChat helps drivers communicate their estimated arrival times without leaving the app screen, while passengers are able to receive feedback faster and share their exact locations.
There are four commonly used template messages for drivers and five for passengers that are integrated into GrabChat for the convenience of both parties.
According to the Grab newsletter sent out to users, “We’re big on ensuring your privacy too, so all your conversations will be deleted once the journey is complete.”
“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,” said Jaygan Fu, Country Head of Grab Malaysia.
Fu also adds that Grab plans to develop further features to be added into GrabChat based on feedback and usage. This new feature will also be expanding into other services such as GrabHitch for a more uniformed experience across the Grab app.
“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.
Feature Image Credit: Compiled from Grab