Ever wanted to communicate with your Grab driver or customer, without having the need to spend money to call them? Well, now you can, with Grab’s latest instant messaging feature that is available now in Singapore and across Southeast Asia (SEA)!
The GrabChat feature, the first of its kind in SEA, was first introduced about a week ago in Malaysia, but is now available in countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
Say Bye Bye To SMS And Call Charges
According to Grab’s press release, the service, announced on 24 October, is an in-app feature that allows for easier communication between drivers and their commuters.
Grab’s co-founder Tan Hooi Ling, explains that this new function will let drivers and commuters communicate, without having to leave the app or incur mobile charges due to calling or texting.
“Many drivers rely on calls and text messages before pickups to help locate passengers, share an estimated arrival time and inform them that they have arrived. Furthermore, we’re seeing a steady increase in passengers using Grab beyond their home country and the availability of GrabChat will help drivers without international calling capability communicate with foreign mobile numbers,” she says.
A beta test conducted among selected drivers and passengers in Malaysia and Singapore revealed that the usage of GrabChat saved over 100 thousand SMSes in just a week.
It also saw a drop in the number of cancelled rides as well.
Once a booking is made through Grab, the GrabChat icon will appear at the bottom right of the screen.
To text your driver or commuter, users simply have to click the icon, which will then lead them to a screen that shows a template response like “I am here already” or ” “Are you nearby?”.
GrabChat users are also able to craft their own messages if they don’t want to use the template responses.
The new feature will also include auto translation of messages for languages such as English, Bahasa Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as basic Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese. This is so that it does not create a language barrier between drivers and riders, especially when using it in a different country.
“We have a well-developed product roadmap to launch new features and more hyperlocal functions to ease communications for local passengers and regional travellers with our driver-partners,” says Tan.
GrabChat will also feature localisation of template messages for every country, based on the analysis of commonly typed messages in those countries.
This is essentially useful for travellers, as Grab discloses that more passengers are using Grab for rides during their travel around Asia.
Plus, let’s face it – how many of us are actually fluent in so many languages right?
The GrabChat feature is currently only available for GrabCar and GrabTaxi, but the ride-hailing platform has plans to expand their feature to include more of their services like GrabBike, GrabHitch, GrabExpress and GrabFood.
Feature image credit: sophlim’s Instagram