Take Pride and Just Be Nice

In a world where some drivers offer water, gum and other amenities and other drivers try to overcompensate for their bad attitude and skills, there are just two simple things that will get you to earn more tips.

Take pride in what you do and just be nice

It seems so simple, but rarely thought about or followed.

Take Pride
The great thing about this advice is that it is so general but if you keep thinking about it throughout the day it will become very specific.

Customer just got out and left a stain? Take a photo and then clean it up. Don’t just leave it.

Car is filthy from driving through mud? Get it washed. Don’t just leave it.

Customer had a ton of bags? Get out and help them. Don’t just leave them.

Take pride in your work, and it will show. Your customers will appreciate it and will reward you for it. If you don’t believe that, then you are in the wrong industry.

Just Be Nice
Your customers are human just like you. They have good days, they have bad days, and they have horrific days. No sense in both people in the car being mean to each other. Just be nice, and be the only smile that person sees in their day. Besides the fact that being nice will lead to tips, it’s also the right thing to do.

But being nice goes well beyond just smiling, and speaking nicely. It is also being nice in your actions. Ask them what radio station they like, or what type of music they like. See if they are comfortable with the temperature. Ask “Is there anything I can do to make your ride more comfortable?” Try it and watch it work.

Its funny how people talk about all these amenities, and really all you need to do is take pride and be nice to deliver a great experience. Want to surprise a great customer and deliver a truly outstanding experience? Think about these 10 things that will surprise your customer.

The Shrpr Clip Show

Happy (almost) 4th of July!

I love this holiday because its not usually a holiday you are expected to be with family all day, and so it is the perfect excuse to get out there an earn.

In 90’s television fashion, when there is a holiday, there is a clip show to watch. These were usually throw away shows to give the writers and others time off to spend with their families. Some shows were good at it, others were terrible. Hope we can live up to it!

Here’s the top 5 Shrpr “clips” you should read again:

  1. The 5 Car Cleanliness Basics: These are good, easy ways to make sure you take those blinders off and really ‘see’ you car the way your customer does.

  2. Communicate Well and Get Your Drive off to the Right Start: Couple suggestions on how to communicate to your customer if you are going to be late to the pick up or if you arrive and they aren’t there. This will surprise them and lead to more tips.

  3. Handling Conflict: Here are 5 suggestions on how to handle conflict with your customer. Be safe out there.

  4. 8 Things You Should Have In Your Trunk: Every driver should invest in having these things in their trunk, and you will be glad you did.

  5. New Years Eve Driving Tips: While the 4th of July doesn’t compare to New Year’s Eve in terms of volume or rowdiness, there will be plenty of drinking going on, and those people will be calling you. Prepare yourself and you can have one of the most profitable nights of the year.

Good luck, be safe, and try to shut down early and enjoy this terrific holiday.

Avoid Common Scams

We often come from the light that customers just want good service and a safe ride, and for that they will reward you. It is a great outlook to have, because positivity breeds positivity, and that hopefully leads to a kinder interaction with your customer.

It would be naive to think that some customers are not trying to scam the system, just like there are drivers who try to scam the system. Here are the top scams we have come across:

  1. Wrong Passenger. This is the easiest to catch. Instead of saying “Hey are you Jimmy?”… say “Hey, I’m Mike, may I have your name?”. This works because the person whose phone called for the ride never leaves their location. Can say they were never picked up.

  2. Wrong Passenger 2. So my friend orders me an Uber. I know his name so I answer you correctly. You let me in and start the ride. My friend then calls you saying “Where are you?” to document that he isn’t in the vehicle. He will then contest the charge, meanwhile you just drove me for free. You should cancel the ride, ask the customer to get out in a safe place and then report the fraud.

  3. Street Hails. This happens in Uber pick up areas, where it is easy for a customer to see you are an Uber driver and are available. Maybe they say something like: “I lost my phone, but I’ll pay you cash…” As enticing as it is, its too risky for you. Recommend they take a cab instead. There are no protections for you if you pick up a hailed ride and in fact it is illegal.

  4. Wrong Pin Placement. If you arrive at the location and they aren’t there, they might have placed their pin in the wrong location to avoid surge pricing. If they call you and say “I’m actually at this address”, do not go to them. Either have them update the pin or wait the 5 minutes and cancel.

  5. Dumping Jobs: This usually happens with cabs, but we’ve seen it happen to rideshare as well. Bar has a very inebriated customer. Someone from the staff requests the Uber for them using the drunk persons account. As you pull up, someone from the staff comes out and says “The customer is on their way out.” This is the trap so you don’t see the drunk customer. The bar staff will ask if you will unlock the door. Seconds later they will help/carry/whatever the drunk person and put them in your car. Guess what? They are your problem now. Keep your doors locked, and do not unlock them until you see your customer, can identify them and realize they are not a stumbling drunk (or are).

  6. Anchors. An anchor is a person, bag or belonging that is intended to anchor you to a location. This happens most on airport runs where a person will toss a bag in your trunk and then disappear back into the house to finish up getting ready to leave or say their goodbyes. Generally I don’t have a problem with waiting a couple minutes, we’re all human. But there have been a couple times where it got over 5 minutes and I have had to approach the house to hustle them along.

  7. Roadside Assistance: Don’t be surprised if you get called for a pickup right on the highway. Cancel this immediately. They would like you to jump their car (you are liable) or use your jack to replace a tire (you are liable). If you want to be a good Samaritan, awesome. You can help them get AAA or some other roadside assistance.

Whats the most recent scam you encountered?

Customers Love Stories

Your customers love stories, and the easiest way to build a rapport with them, and secure that tip is to entertain them. It also humanizes the job you are doing and gives them a glimpse of your day to day. Most of us are bad story tellers, and a bad story comes off as annoying, lame, creepy, whatever. Here’s some tips on how to tell a great story:

  1. Don’t tell the story, describe it. When you give a play-by-play of the story, you are giving an outsiders view of what happened. Instead, describe what is happening as if you are living it again. Set up the scene from your eyes, share your emotions, smile when you should, frown when you should. By describing the story, your audience will feel like they are there and will be engrossed.

  2. Focus on the senses. Draw your audience in by helping them see, hear, smell, taste and touch the important parts of your story. This is another way to draw them in.

  3. Write it down and practice. Get all the key parts onto paper, and then practice telling the story. Do not memorize the story, or you will sound robotic and no emotion will come through. Remember, you are the expert of your story, so tell it from the heart.

So what should your stories be about? Think about the questions your customers ask you. Why not answer with an entertaining story. Stories can be 30 seconds long or 5 minutes long. If they are told right and entertaining, the time doesn’t matter.

Here’s some ideas:

  1. Your worst rideshare experience - Keep it light

  2. Your best rideshare experience - Help condition your customer what you think is a good rideshare experience

  3. An anecdote from your other job, or previous career

  4. A funny story about your kids, pets or family

Timing is key with all story telling. Let your customer drive the conversation and tell a story if there is an opening. If you jump into a story about your kids unprompted and as soon as your customer gets into the car, they will be wondering why you are telling this story.

Think, practice and then try it out. See how it works.

3 Things You Might Not Know

There are some written rules to being a rideshare driver, that aren’t well known or widely talked about. As always, follow your local, state and federal laws.

  1. Unaccompanied Minors: Never accept someone in your car who is under 18 years old, unless they are accompanied by someone over 18. Make no exceptions here. The risk is way too high. According to Uber, you should cancel the ride or ask for ID if you have any suspicions.

  2. No Babies: Unless you keep a baby seat in your car, or are willing to let your customer attach their seat, do not let your customer hold their baby during your ride. Even if they try to persuade you. In your car, you are responsible for your passengers, and in most states it is illegal to drive with a baby without a car seat. Uber is starting to pilot Uber Car Seat in NYC as a premium service, so that could be a future premium feature.

  3. Bait and Switch: This happens a lot late night. Drunk friend calls their very drunk friend an Uber, while they stay out and continue to party. You show up, they toss very drunk friend in your vehicle and away you go. Except, this puts you in real danger. Uber is tracking the callers phone, not the riders. Easy dispute (I wasn’t in the car). What if they throw up? Again, I wasn’t in the car, I don’t know that person. Make sure the person who called you is a rider, otherwise, cancel the ride. How about your drop them at their destination and they don’t make it home. All risks you do not want to be a part of. Really worried about their safety, call 911.

Bonus Tip: Did your drunk passenger pass out in your car. Don’t touch them to wake them up. Both Uber and Lyft prohibit this, and is an easy way to get suspended or deactivated. Find another way to wake them up such as a quick brake check in front of the destination.

What other rules do you follow that aren’t well known?

10 Items to Surprise Your Customer

Last week we talked about surprising service and several people in our community asked for specifics on what they should keep in their trunk and globebox.

Here’s 10 things you can use to surprise your customer (all for less than $50 total):

  1. Shout wipes: Cheap, portable and powerful.

  2. Purell wipes: Also cheap and portable. Customer comments that their hands are dirty? Toss a wipe at them.

  3. Mouth wash: For that guy or gal about to go on a date, you will be a lifesaver. Give out the mini, individually packaged ones. It will be a rare offer, but will truly surprise the person.

  4. Sunscreen: Keep a pump bottle in your trunk, that way if you ever need to offer it, they are putting it on outside your car.

  5. Mini Tissue Packs: Customer sniffling and leaking all over the place? Do yourself a favor and help keep that stuff off your car seats and toss them a tissue packet.

  6. Poncho: Rain is often not planned on, and if your customer forgot an umbrella, a cheap plastic poncho will do the trick.

  7. Local Business’ Cards: While you are picking up an UberEats order, network with the host or manager. Get their card. In town and waiting for a ping, stop into a local shop and get to know them. Now when a customer is looking for local advice, you actually have a card and a person to send them to. Customer’s love the hook up and like they are in the know. Plus, if you send enough business their way who knows what can happen.

  8. Pens: There are so many times a customer has needed a pen and I didn’t have one to give them. Rather than buy pens, pop into a local business that has pens for marketing purposes, and partner with them. “I’m a local Uber driver, and I have a lot of customers that could use a pen. I’d be happy to give your pen out for you.”

  9. Umbrella: You might think this one is crazy. “I’m not giving out a free umbrella.” You can purchase a cheap umbrella from Walmart for $3. Would you give this to any old customer? I wouldn’t, but if I just completed a 2hr drive and it is unexpectedly pouring in the destination city, this $3 investment might turn into a huge tip. It also might not. To me the $3 risk is worth the reward, when I could be getting a $20-$30 tip.

  10. Ear buds: This sounds crazy, but earbuds can be had for 50 cents a pop, and sometimes less. Its not often, but these cheap throwaways will be greatly appreciated by your customer if they are in a pinch and need ear phones.

So why did I not mention mints, gum, water, phone charger or the like? Those things are no longer surprising. They might be desired or even fallen to expected. The phone charger is certainly an expectation these days. In order to truly surprise someone, you need to identify what the customer values and then take action to create that value for them.

As always, its your car and your experience. I think it is worth a shot to try, but if you are not noticing an increase in tip as a result, then try something else.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

Surprising Service

A couple weeks ago we talked about the Desired level of service that your customer might not expect, but they desire. In general, if you deliver on something your customer desires, they will reward you for it in the form of tips and ratings.

Surprising level of service is my favorite level, because if you truly surprise your customer (in a good way), you can tell they are extremely grateful. You also have a good chance to get a big tip from surprising service. Surprising service is very difficult to accomplish because you have to know what your customer values in order to surprise them.

Here are some strategies that will help you surprise your customers:

  1. Read your customer. How are they dressed? Suit and tie, outdoor wear, traveling/tourists, are they putting something in the trunk? This is your first impression and will help you understand them and make decisions.

  2. Actively listen. Your customer will either outright tell you what they want, or will hint at it. Believe me, this happens in every ride, you just have to be listening for it. If your customer asks you a question, they are more likely to want to chat with you more. Customers love (appropriate) stories, tips on the local area, and feeling like they got a hook up.

  3. Keep an arsenal of amenities. So you read your customer and are actively listening. Once you get that one piece of valuable information you can act on, you need to be able to actually act on it. Round up a small sample of supplies and amenities that you keep in the trunk and glove box. You don’t need to spend a lot, and are only giving it to people as a surprise. This is all in the name of more tips, so the best idea is to keep a small quantity of a broad range of things. Keep the ones you want to offer right away in the glove box and keep the after ride things in a trunk organizer.

    Did you overhear the gal upset she spilled on her new blouse? “Hey, would you like a shout wipe?”

    Overhear them discussing potential dinner plans? Are you friends with the general manager at the local restaurant? Send them there, and tell them to let the manager know you sent them. Maybe you have their business cards all ready to give out.

    ”Shoot, did you bring sunscreen?” “Hey, I have some in the trunk you can use”.

Remember, a surprise is only valuable if it is in a good way. This is an important distinction. You can easily surprise your customer in a bad way, either they do not value what you offered (waste) or you surprised them in a horrifying way (bad service). It all requires you to either get to know your customer, or pick up on the silent cues they are offering you.

Earn Even More with Uber Eats

Last year we talked about three little things you can do to earn more with Uber Eats. It is worth it to check out that article again, but the main point was over communicate, and invest in warm bag. The communication is key, because you know your customers will be staring at the app until it says you are on your way to get the food, or it is on its way. The warm bag keeps the food warm, which generally isn’t your responsibility, but will only put the customer in a better mood to tip.

Three more things to earn even more with food delivery:

  1. Delivering to an apartment complex, hotel or other place where parking and roaming the halls will cut into your earnings? Encourage your customer to be ready to meet you by messaging them about 1-2 minutes before you arrive. Try something like this “Hi, this is Mike with UberEats. I’ll be there in 1-2 minutes with your hot food. Can you please meet me at the main door for delivery?”. I have noticed that customers have no problem waiting for you outside, we just have to help set the expectations for them.

  2. Utilize the partner support line when you run into trouble. This is usually trouble with a restaurant or customer, such as waiting too long for the order, or that customer you cannot reach to make the delivery. Uber eats “suggests” you give the restaurant 15 minutes. I would wait the 15 minutes as well, but would be extra sensitive the next time I got an order from that restaurant. Looking for the customer? Uber “suggests” you call the customer 2 times and wait up to 10 minutes. Be careful, because if Uber thinks you didn’t try hard enough, they will not give you the delivery fee. In both of these cases, you should call the partner support line and let them know. I do this right away, during the 10 minutes I am waiting for the customer. Get ahead of the problem.

  3. Value your experience, and time. That restaurant that is taking 15 extra minutes consistently? Start ignoring those requests. Customers with crazy delivery requirements “Take the elevator to the 11th floor, make a left, answer this riddle…”? Cancel. Not getting any bites in UberX, but Eats seems busy? Stack your orders. After you accept an order, be on the look out for additional orders you can stack onto your original one.

Want to try something different? You also have other options to fill your time in between rides, such as DoorDash and GrubHub where you can likely earn more than UberEats per hour. The give and take is that you can turn on and off UberEats whenever you want, whereas DoorDash and GrubHub you have specific hours you work. Check out both and see if either work for you.

#Quiet Mode

Uber just launched a new Enhanced Uber Black Experience, and one of the things that stuck out to us was the new “Quiet Mode”. As you would guess, Quiet Mode is a request from the customer to have a quiet experience on their ride. Let’s go through some of the new features, and what they mean for you. If you are an Uber Black driver, you should see these features today May 15. Otherwise, there is no reason to think some of these will not eventually show up for UberX rides as well.

One thing for sure, this makes it so much easier to determine exactly what the customer values. Now all your have to do is find the best way to deliver it to them. And wouldn’t you know it, we have been recommended a lot of these things.

From Uber’s Introduction:

  1. “Quiet Mode: if you need to respond to emails or are in the mood for a nap, make your trip a quieter one with just one tap. If you’re in the mood to chat, that’s an option too.”

    Great, your customer has indicated they do not want to talk to you and don’t want loud music. As soon as they get in the car say something like “Hey John, looks like you requested a quiet ride. I typically play soft music, but if you have any requests, please let me know at any time”

  2. “Help with Luggage: let your driver know an extra pair of hands is needed for your luggage.”

    Acknowledge the request by saying something like “Looks like you requested help with your luggage. What can I help you with?”

  3. “Temperature Control: communicate your optimal temperature before entering a vehicle.”

    We’re not exactly sure how this will look in the app, but as with the others, why not acknowledge it and say “Looks like you requested a Cold/Warm car, please let me know how the temperature feels to you.

Think of how these new requests will change the way you deliver service to your customers and how you want to make your offering unique. There are so many ways you can tailor “Quiet Mode” to be unique to you and provide a lot of value to the customer.

Uber Strike

Whether you took part in the Uber strike today or not, there is one thing for certain. Your customers will absolutely ask you about it for weeks to come. Here are some common questions we see are already being asked, and some you will get in the coming weeks. Now is the time to craft your answer to benefit you the most. Here’s how I am answering

Question 1: “Did you take part in the strike today (or last week, or whenever)?”
Answer: Pretty simple for you, yes or no. We do not think answering one way or another will matter.

Question 2: “Why did you/are other drivers striking?”
Answer: The answer is probably deeply personal to you, but it is probably best to keep it as generic as you can be. Something like “We/they want to make it clear to Uber and other rideshare companies that we want to be treated fairly.” Stay away from “Uber is screwing us.” or “I want their IPO to go as bad as possible”. Or if you are against the strike, you can say something like “I don’t agree with the strike, but I think they are striking because…”

Question 3: “Have you noticed any changes since the strike?” (This one will probably come in the coming weeks)
Possible Answer: It is tough to answer now, but something like this is timeless. “The strike was about getting a message across that we want to be treated fairly, and I think in that regard we succeeded.”

These are all possible questions you might get from your customer. Be as generic as possible, leave politics out of it and try not to bash Uber. All those are a bad look, and will likely make your customer uncomfortable.

What kind of questions are you getting about the strike?