By Mary Jane P. Tadili
Although tech giant Uber is no longer operating its ride-hailing app in the Philippines, it has not completely left the country and has, in fact, expanded its local presence with the opening of its second Center of Excellence (COE) in Clark, Pampanga.
Uber’s first COE facility opened in Manila in 2015 in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, and now employs over 1,000 team members.
Troy Stevenson, global head of community operations at Uber, said the Philippines is already home to the company’s largest COE globally, and opening its Clark facility reaffirms Uber’s commitment to the Philippines, and the Asia Pacific region, through this significant investment.
The new Clark COE, while technically located in Skytech IT Park in Mabalacat, Pampanga, is named after the closest port of entry following a tradition in Uber offices around the world and provides an easy landmark reference for their worldwide operations.
With an initial investment of $1.5 million, the Clark COE is designed to provide specialized support for critical incidents that require immediate attention, employing teams of solution-oriented, trusted advisors to support millions of customers across the Asia Pacific region, and around the world.
The hub will provide support via multiple channels – email, phone, video chat and social media to ensure seamless experience before, during and after the ride.
The 2,919-square meter facility, which will be operational on the third week of April, will initially employ 165 customer service specialists who will provide round-the-clock support to the Uber community. Top company executives hope to employ 400 agents by the end of this year.
Wen-Szu Lin, director of community operations for Asia Pacific at Uber, said it was an easy decision to deepen the company’s investment in the Philippines and open a second COE in Clark to complement its existing Manila team.
“We’re pleased to be able to create new economic opportunities for talented professionals with the goal to more than double the team in Clark by the end of the year, while expanding our global support services from this strategic location,” the official said.
Lin said the work being done in Manila will be replicated in Clark. The goal is for the two sites to support each other.
The two COEs will specifically provide 80% core support solutions and 20% scaled global solutions for 223 cities across United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It will provide support for escalated and critical support related to safety for Uber customers worldwide.
The COEs are more like feedback centers where employees deal with complex issues and see patterns and trends in over a million interactions a day to get a sense of what services are working and what are those to be fixed and harnessed customer insights to improve and develop customer support services.
Ricco Gamboa, Clark COE program leader, said they chose Pampanga as the site of the second COE because it is a dynamic metro on the rise with a huge potential.
Gamboa pointed out Pampanga also has a huge pool of local talents with different educational backgrounds that can provide an edge to the COE as a cutting-edge global facility.
“We feel that we’re giving a great option for folks in northern Philippines not to leave their families to work in Manila. Uber is giving them an option to work that pays well and where they can expand their career,” he added.
Uber said it has evolved from a ride-sharing application to global mobility platform that offers 24 unique service types from riders to food couriers and logistics.