I was working during US hours about five weeks ago to sync up internally with the teams supporting the business. Given that I expected to finish what I was doing in the wee hours of the morning I decided to use Grab instead of asking the family driver to wait for me since he also needed to rest. About 4 a.m. I booked my Grab.
The driver came to pick me up and the first thing I asked him was if he was well rested enough to take me home. I needed him to be alert and sound. He said “I’ve worked almost 24 hours today, but that’s fine because I had an hour or two of nap time somewhere in Quezon City early this afternoon.” I reacted with disbelief and aired my concern; he said he needed to make the money and that he would take the entire day after to rest.
And so off I went to tinker with my phone, check my emails and send messages to my husband. For a moment I thought it was all fine and dandy until suddenly what I heard next was a loud thud and when I checked on the driver he apparently fell asleep behind the wheel so much so that we bumped into those plastic orange cones you would see on EDSA in Pasay. I ended up almost getting to the front passenger seat because of the impact since the backseat flipped. It was a good thing that the heavy cones were behind the plastic ones and we missed hitting them.
The following day I reported this to the customer service of Grab and after repeated follow-up emails all I got was that (a) an internal investigation will happen and that (b) any decision made by Grab will happen with no further advise to the customer.
Given the almost 1.6 million workforce supporting the BPO industry in the country it is imperative that there are more insights that must be had to ensure that the riders arrive home safe and sound. Understanding the need to profit when the demand is high, there also has to be a policy in place for ride-hailing platforms to know that to serve this segment, their drivers must observe proper rules and regulations. With more than half of the population connected online and all of us being data-driven, these insights can be very well captured and, in turn, provided as data points in coming up with the algorithm to match the right driver with the right passenger, especially when it is required at 4:00 in the morning.
In a similar fashion, this also helps to signify that the business process outsourcing industry now needs to think of ways by which operators can transition or add on to their current service offerings to become more data-driven providers. An article published in 2015 by Express Computer talks about how both the BPOs and the customers sit on gold mines of data, which can then be extracted and analyzed to deliver critical information and generate strategic insights. This paves the way for the evolution of the contact centers. The market needs it and the market calls for it.
In the grander scheme of things, it will be of tremendous value to understand and appreciate how our very own customer service officers can actually become business analysts, given the changes in a very dynamic environment. So many other factors come to play here but with the right mindset, approach and technology, it can be done.
I am now back to normal working hours. Hopefully, when I get myself in the same situation when I need a transport service, I’d find a driver who has had enough sleep and observes the proper number of working hours, or in the worst case, the cones are nowhere in sight.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is an executive at a multinational business process outsourcing company. She is likewise co-founder of Caucus, Inc. and deputy director of Global Chamber Manila. Her advocacies include data privacy, financial literacy, and nation-building. The author may be reached at email@example.com or, to the more cautious now, at firstname.lastname@example.org