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About That Grab Tweet, My Explanation & Apology | Ariff Shah

About That Grab Tweet, My Explanation & Apology


Was an instant tweet-famous recently due to my tweet about Grab’s service. Here’s my explanation, and apology. I hope those at Grab Malaysia will read this till the end.

Let’s start!

First tweet (read from below). I complained about the ride being uncomfortable. Yes, it was. At the time of booking, my expectation was that I might get something like old Vios or whatever in that class, still ok because I don’t really mind. Received the FLX and I didn’t cancel and rebook since I don’t really do that. My style is always to go with the flow.

Why not Grab 6-seater? Because at that point in time, my understanding about 6-seater is something like Exora or Avanza. I don’t need that as there were only the three of us (2 adults) with 1 large and 1 medium luggage. So it was unnecessary. I later found out that the Grab 6-seater is currently considered also as Economy option, that’s why you can get Alza on this route.

Why not Premium? Why should I? I don’t have that particular status or image to maintain.

Since at this current moment, Grab is only providing two types of services; Economy and Premium, and by taking Economy I shouldn’t expect too much since it’s already cheap, I should say I am wrong in this manner for expecting too much and complaining. With that, please accept my humblest apologies.

Problem: No Middle Option, Here’s My Solution!

This is the part where I said I’d pay more to get the option for better cars. Grab has a lot of drivers now with a lot of different type of cars. They should properly monetize it and this should be the easiest option to monetize at this moment. This route is much easier to generate revenue than geting your sales people to sell ad packages to corporates.

The feature is simple. It is an extension of the readily available GrabCar Economy category, but with select model of cars. Cars can range from Pesona to City/Vios/Almera, simple enough to say, B-segment sedan. I believe you already have a lot of this. Call it Grab Select if you want.

Customer side. Customers have the option to tick/untick the Select option. Rates will adjust accordingly, say for KLIA route, perhaps RM85 – 90? Or RM75-85? For normal route, just put roughly 20% surcharge from GrabCar. It’s like going to McDonald’s and you order a meal, “Sir, you want to upgrade? Just add RM1”. Go ask McDonald’s how much % of revenue increased from just that simple option and how many people actually opt for that.

Driver side. Drivers with eligible cars will be able to choose to accept only Select customers. More revenue for them and Grab = more people will be happy. Advantage on the driver side is that less encounter with fussy customers who want to pay the minimum to get a premium service. When you deal with customers, the cheaper you go, the fussier people become.

More revenue. More revenue means more marketing activities can be done to increase market share and user base. Possibly more incentive for drivers.

Rational. With the recent Grab for Work program, corporate customers especially have the money to pay for services and they don’t opt for Economy most of the time. My company is also a GFW client. Corporate use is not always about saving money to the maximum but more towards serving necessity and saving time. Sure, we can cancel each time until get the car we prefer, but that’s a waste of time. Provide the option and charge us. The amount is still a small fraction of the company’s other expenses. Grab Premium availability is still low, thus causing long wait time to get a ride.

Not just Grab for Work customers, most normal users would appreciate this function. Some people are willing to pay more to skip queue (see next point) or have the option to get B-segment cars. At this moment, Grab is not doing much to maximize Revenue Per Customer. All they are doing now is to get more customers despite already winning the race against Uber in Malaysia.

Priority. Even better, with Grab Select function, customers can possibly have the same priority queue as Platinum users. Imagine this, during surge, customer choses Select to jump queue. Now, that’s a lot more revenue!

GrabRewards. Platinum status members will be able to use the Select function on GrabCar without the surcharge. This is as a token of appreciation for them. After all, they are your biggest spenders.

Solution for Low-Rating Problem due to car model. As all you have heard recently about the problem where people rate drivers according to car model they get. With this feature, Grab can ignore the rating (driver’s rating will not be affected) and provide a standard reply to customers such as, “Dear Customer, please use Select function is you would like to opt for better cars” or something in that line.

Grab Premium. Will this affect drivers on Grab Premium? Definitely not if Grab price the Select function correctly. There needs to be a considerable gap of fare between Select & Premium. Even if the gap is not huge, it will not cause a huge impact. It’s like this, customer on Premium will choose whatever they like according to their mood and function. Whatever happen to GrabcCar Economy won’t effect the way they spend.

GrabCar (6-seater). Problem with this category now is that it is not really a 6-seater. Some drivers without a proper 6-seater configured vehicle have to call customers first to confirm how many passengers available before picking them up. The category is misleading but to solve it without changing a lot of things, the Select function can be added as well. Some people, drivers especially won’t agree with me on this as they say that this is Economy. I don’t see Grab mentionong Economy in the app for 6-seater, it just say, specialty.  With Select function, people who don’t want Alza can avoid it by paying more.

Grab has to change its mentality from only serving frugal people on Economy to the very rich people that always wants to use Premium to serving the middle category customer as well who can afford to pay a bit more to get better value & comfort, when they need it. During your early years when introducing your service as cheap and economy, yes, serving those segment worked well to pull the crowd. Those days have passed. Now, especially since you want to go to the corporate customers, you need to provide more option because these people can pay and want to pay for that added feature.

Don’t tell me this is not possible. I’m sure with billions of funding, you can find the right people to develop the function into the app.

About That Low-Rating Issue

Still here? Good.

Issue is when people get an A-segment or local car, they would give a low rating, as low as 1 star. This affects the drivers badly as when driver’s rating fall below a certain treshold, incentives would not be paid. Incentive from Grab that is what makes drivers happy and would tremendously affect driver’s income since some routes actually runs at a loss on the driver’s side without the incentive.

The main problem here really is there’s no rating moderation by Grab. Really? Even my blog yang hidup segan mati tak mahu ni pun moderated, takkanlah big company with billions of funding tak moderate customers’ review against your drivers? It doesn’t make sense for drivers’ rating to be badly affected if the low rating received is not properly justified. What if the customer accidentally rate 1-star? With strict rating moderation, it gives the drivers chance to identify their problem (if any) and improve.

You see, Grab, your drivers are your partners. You make money from them so you really should take care of them. They are equally as important as your customers.

At this moment, it is just too easy to give any rating. Thus, people do it on the fly without thinking. To some, they think it’s funny to rate somebody 1-star. So first of all, Grab should make it hard for people to rate. Let’s change the rating interface to something like this:

5-star = Customers can leave comments / thoughts. Not compulsory.

4-star = Customers must answer the “What can we improve on” section. If they don’t answer, the sumbit button will not be active (grey color).
Comments / thoughts not compulsory.

3-star = Customers must answer the “What can we improve on” section. Comments / thoughts are compulsory (see the 0/160 characters remaining) and customers must explain with a minimum of 160 characters. If they don’t answer, the sumbit button will not be active (grey color).

At this stage, rating will be manually approved by Grab, so there should be a specific team going through all the ratings. Only when the rating is approved that it will affect driver’s rating. Drivers’ incentives will be paid according to their current rating and not put on hold for the certain trip just because Grab haven’t moderate customers’ rating.


2-star & 1-star = Customers must answer the “What can we improve on” section. Comments / thoughts are compulsory (see the 0/160 characters remaining) and customers must explain with a minimum of 160 characters. Customers need to also explain the issues they face which caused the rating. Lastly, customer have to agree to be contacted regarding the issue. Only if they provide all that and answer Yes to contact that they will be able to submit the rating.

Same as above, rating will be manually approved by Grab, so there should be a specific team going through all the ratings. Grab customer team will call the customer to verify and reconfirm before rating is approved. Only when the rating is approved that it will affect driver’s rating, but this time, rating is received along with credible complain. Still, drivers’ incentives will be paid according to their current rating and not put on hold for the certain trip just because Grab haven’t moderate customers’ rating for that particular trip.

With these mechanism in place, low rating will only be given by customers only when it is absolutely necessary and is a valid complain. 3-star rating is fair, but customers still need to provide a valid feedback and is moderated by Grab. It’s logical because if people are really angry/unsatisfied with the service, they will sit down and properly write in a bad review.

People are lazy. At most they will just give 4-star because it is easy or 5-star if they are happy.

I can only see one reason if Grab would not want to moderate customers’ rating, they just want to nullify drivers’ incentive to save money. Please don’t be that kind of company.


With all the hype I’m getting from my previous tweet, I hope this is heard by the management of Grab Malaysia. This comes from a customer who is paying for several accounts with Gold status. You can check with me for verification.

Again, I would like to apologize to anybody who were offended by the tweet, Grab drivers and possibly Saga owners. It was not intended to ‘menghina’, or whatever words other publications put into it.

If you are a driver and feel that my suggestions here is worth considering, by all means share this to your peers and voice it to Grab.

I will continue using Grab as usual, and to those who would like to deny service, that’s your right. As a business person, my only advice is you can hate your customer, but never hate their money. Personally, I feel that Grab is a fantastic service, it just needs improvements, fast!

[UPDATE] Well, it seems like Grab buat kerja.. This surfaced evening, 29 Oct.

I don’t ask much, just 1000 shares in Grab. No monetary value pre-IPO, so I will have to wait till the time comes. Let’s work together. Of course, there’s more where that came from.


  • nurinkhairi

    3 November, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    For somebody who prefers to support the dwindling economy of taxi drivers who had to ‘kais pagi mkn pagi’ due to the surfacing of the likes of grab and uber, I am impartial of what kind of car I am getting, though the better cars are always welcomed. For example, since I do a lot of business trips, Kuantan taxis have good quality cars while Kerteh and Subang Airport are not so..

  • Aqi Rock

    31 October, 2017 at 9:54 am

    now you got new option.. grab plus more comfortable and import car.. good luck for certain people like you and good luck for the drivers out there to make money.. thanks for bring this out 😁 alhamdulillah.. because of your tweet now grab make new option and pls make sure to be comfortable you request a grab plus

  • Uncle AhDave

    29 October, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    I think maybe (maybe only) that FLX that Ariff rode on was not on standard shock absorbers. Driver could have upgraded it to harder suspension so that it doesn’t “sag”.

  • Zahar

    29 October, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Thank god ariff shah, u know grab company berat sebelah..diorang byk menangkan customer. Problem paling kami x tahan bila customer book, but not show up sometimes up to 12 minutes waiting!! So kami cancel booking..then after that got suspend because cancellation rate tinggi. Then re-educate class kami bagitahu ap masalah dia, diorang senyap.. and yes cheap riders RM3,4,5 is rider from hell

  • Amin

    28 October, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I drive a Merc.
    But never bother bout what type of car when i book a Grab.
    As long as they can send me from point A to point B safely.
    Sometimes you have to be grateful i think.

    • Zalikha

      30 October, 2017 at 5:52 am

      I believe this is not the case of “being grateful”, this is the issue of what the customer wants, which is usually (in Malaysia) they want the best quality at the lowest price point possible, this is the common nature in the retail and customer service industry. It’s nice that you highlight the fact that you drive a merc and you have a low profile style, but not everyone is like you. Patronizing that very much positive attitude is not going to solve the case of customer not getting what they expect.

  • bob

    28 October, 2017 at 11:09 am

    sy bukan driver grab…sy biasa travel dan macam2 kereta sy naik…cuma sy x faham…naper flx dianggap x selesa? adakah flx tu ada masalah suspension? sy pernah bawa flx utk travel… kebanyakkan kereta grab adalah kategori ekonomi …kira ok dapat flx….sy biasa dapat myvi ajer…pasal masalah rating driver…mmg sy pun x setuju dengan grab…kerana driver x boleh menerima low rating yg dianggap menganggu insentif….bagi 3-4 star akan menganggu insentif driver walapun acceptable …hal ni perlu dikaji semula…

  • Akagidemon

    28 October, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Your words does hold water. As a saga grab driver I was slightly offended but after reading the rest of the tweets I understand the direction you were talking about.

    Coming and still is in the retail and customer service industry, I have learned that customers wants freedom of choice. People are willing to pay for this. You highlighted this point perfectly.

    When it comes to driver rating, Grab has never been transparent about it at all. If a driver has a history of 5 stars and suddenly he gets 1 star from maybe an honest mistake by a rider or someone who just being a hard arse, they will take that rating.

    Some parts where it’s lucrative have the worse kind of riders. What grab fails to do is to educated the riders. It says “rate your ride” but what does that terms means.

    Is it the fare, or the driver, or the car or the road conditions, the weather maybe. It doesn’t specify.

    Only 2 things that is in the driver’s control which is his own self and the car. he/she can be polite, trained to served the Queen of England and drives the cleanest most well maintained but if the traffic conditions, pot hole ridden roads and the fare makes the rider unhappy and the rider gives the driver a 1 star for things which the driver don’t have any control of, is this fair to the driver?

    Of course it is not but Grab doesn’t care to take into account these unctrollable variables.

    I agree with most of what you have written but to see grab even taking 1% of what you have written into reality is like waiting for pigs to fly.

  • Visvam Visva menon

    28 October, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Very thoughtful inputs. Especially the drivers rating suggestion. Pls continue to highlight issues like this.