Competitive Advantage

Happy Friday Everyone. It hasn’t stopped raining in Connecticut, but the weekend is here!

I have been spending a lot of my time trying to convince drivers that we are not professional drivers, but instead service providers. A lot of of people battle me on this, because they joined Uber to be their own boss as a driver. There is some money just driving from Point A to Point B, but most of us cannot live off of just that. Tips are a big part of our income and in order to earn tips you have to create more value for your customer. The sooner we accept that our only competitive advantage is through service, the sooner we can earn more tips.

Every business has three elements: Your Product, How you deliver the product and service.

The product in our case is driving someone from Point A to Point B. If you pick someone up and drop them off at their destination, you have fulfilled on the product. Our customers pay a fare for this specifically.

The delivery is two things, the Uber app and your vehicle. It is the Uber app, because that is how your customer can request the product and how it is “delivered” to them. You have no control over the Uber app, so there is no room for competitive advantage.

Delivery is also the literal delivery of the customer to their destination in your vehicle. Here you have some room to differentiate yourself from other Uber drivers. You can drive a new car, trick the car out, really go all out. But, do you think the customer will actually pay more for this? Yes, Uber Black and XL drivers earn more, but short of having one of those vehicles you cannot earn more. Do you think your customers will tip you more because you have a brand new car? I don’t think so. The car just needs to meet expectations.

So that leaves you with customer service. This is how you communicate with your customer. Your tone. Do you message them when you are running late? How does your car smell? Is it clean? Do you offer them anything? How do you make the experience from getting from Point A to Point B, in your car, desirable enough that they will give you more in tips?

This requires you to evaluate every customer that gets in your car for what they value, and then take action to create that value for them.

Service is the only competitive advantage you have over other drivers, and if you focus on service, you will earn more. If you don’t, you will be unhappy, earn less and likely move onto something else. The choice is yours.