The Back Seat Driver

They ask you to take a very specific route as soon as they get in the car.  Any traffic along the way will upset them, even if they do not need to be at their destination at any particular time.  Some will encourage the driver to illegally pass other vehicles in order to get ahead by 30 seconds.

Pros: These people are typically ready before you get there, and are quick to get out of the car. Typically a couple, but if it is a group of people, they will generally keep to themselves.

Cons: The Back Seat Driver will be frantically looking out the windows, sitting on the edge of the seat, and leaning into the front of the car to get a better view of the road and make sure you aren’t “taking them for a ride”. Despite his/her knowledge of the route, keep GPS open so you can offer alternate routes to speed up the trip.

The Train Catcher

Informs you that they need to catch a train that leaves in 15 minutes, but the station is 16 minutes away.  This is actually very common.  They will ask the driver to step on it in order to make the train.  Very rarely does someone give themselves extra time to get to a station.

Pros: Will be ready on time, get in your car quickly, and get out quickly. I you don’t dilly dally, they will appreciate you. If you fumble with getting the GPS up, make a wrong turn or don’t make that yellow light, your review and tip will suffer.

Cons: Their unreasonable request is not their fault, it is your fault. At least in their eyes. But that’s ok. Be honest with your ETA and give options if it looks like they are going to miss the train.

“I’ll get you there as quickly as possible”

“I can drive you to the next stop the train makes”

This one comes from someone in our little community here, Holly H.

When I head out to drive I make it my daily mission to be a bright spot in their day, and not a vacuum that sucks the joy from their life.

Last week I was picking up a rider at Phx Sky Harbor airport. The pickup was at terminal 2. I arrived and sent a quick “I am here” text. No one came. I texted one more time “I am at the front of the line”. Still no response, so I called. No answer.

A minute later my phone rang and the sweetest elderly lady was on the other end. They were at terminal 4 and not where I was at terminal 2. Rather than get angry and cancel their ride, I assured her I would be right there.

When I got there I spotted them right away and noticed they had a ton of luggage, so I helped them with their bags. We were on our way which was a nice 40 minute drive.

We chatted the entire way about their kids, grandchildren, and life. They were so kind and delightful.

When we got to the hotel they shook my hand and told me how much they enjoyed the conversation and that it was an amazing ride.

That made my day and I know i left a wonderful impression, which started their trip out properly. That’s always my mission.

Child Car Seats?

Eli writes:

"One of the things I hate is when I pull up to the pick up spot and my rider has an infant. I do not feel comfortable having the baby on someone's lap, so I refuse the ride and everyone's time is wasted. I have considered getting a baby seat, but I really do not have the money."

This is a touchy subject for sure. You can shell out a few bucks so that you are prepared for these types of rides, or just decide ahead of time that you will refuse these. Child seats are costly, and might take a while for you to create a return on the investment. If you do puchse one, make sure to set it up with a big smile on your face and to make a big deal about it -- that it is an additional service you offer because you are the best. You are more likely to get their appreciation and most importantly, more tips.

Either way, make sure you err on the side of your state or country's laws, as well as the safety of your passengers. 

I love Quiet Rides

"I know a lot of my driver friends love to talk to their passengers during the drive, and while I don't mind a little conversation, I love the rides where the passenger is doing their own thing and doesn't want to talk. It gives me the opportunity to focus on driving, listen to some music and relax. I don't feel like I am 'on' and is a nice retreat from the heavy conversation rides. 

People say I am crazy, "Conversation makes the ride go by faster." I don't, I find forced conversation more awkward than silence. I find a lot of passengers like the silence and low music."

Rachel L. - Waterbury CT

 

Drunk Customers are Annoying, Right?

We love drunk customers, and here's why. 

  • They are better off in your car than their own, right? Every drunk customer you drive is one less chance of a drunk driving catastrophe. You are doing a great service, and getting paid for it.
  • You can be their biggest ally when they are in need. Poor planning can cause someone to be stranded, and you can be their hero.
  • They're fun (sometimes). Customers that are just buzzed or slightly drunk have great stories, are engaging and are just looking to get home. Play them some music, and make sure the temperature is comfortable, and let them drive the conversation. Beware of the aggressive drunks or those that might be overly drunk. When in doubt, don't do the drive.
  • Drive nicely and they often tip well. Being intoxicated means they are hyper-sensitive to your driving. When on the highway, limit your lane changes. When in towns, ease on and off the brake and gas. 
  • You might just save their lives, and that is a good feeling.

So how can you save their lives? Let me share with you this story from a driver friend. 

"I was into my first month as an Uber driver and was going to start wrapping up my night. I just got a request from a bar in West Hartford and started heading over there. 

As I pulled up I saw my passengers coming out of the bar. It was two guys helping a very drunk, slightly passing out girl into my car. I asked how she was and what was going on and they said they were friends and just wanted to help her get home. I initially thought, wow, great friends! I asked them to put her in the window seat in case she gets sick and gave them a bag as well. 

On the 10 minute drive I kept overhearing the guys whispering, and I caught 1 out of every 5 words. What I was hearing did not make me feel comfortable about the situation, and it sounded like they weren't actually the friends they made themselves out to be. 

This all proved to be true when we arrived to the destination and it wasn't her home as they had said several times, but one of the guys apartments. As they were walking away, I heard some more banter between the two guys which made it clear what they wanted to do. 

I immediately called the police, waited for them to arrive and pointed out the apartment. I don't know what came of the situation, but I felt like I was the girls only ally and had to do something. I hope I read the situation wrong, but if not, I feel good that I may have saved her life."

You have a story to share, we would love to hear it.

 

 

A tale of two drives

Every driver knows that your customer will compare you to the very last ride they had, the best ride and the worst ride. You never want to overtake their worst experience. If you plan ahead and work at it, you might be their best experience. 

Consider these two stories from the same rider. Where do you think they rank up with your level of service?

Experience 1:

My friends and I were going into Boston for the day and we decided to take an Uber to the local T station. The driver texted me saying that they had arrived at my place. My friends and I, being excited to go to Boston immediately left the room to go to the car. When we see the car, we get in and say "hey, how ya doin?" The Uber Driver grunted and didn't really respond. About halfway through the 8 minute ride to the train station, he asks "So where are you going again...?" I was dumbfounded that this guy had the address and location right in front of him and he didn't even bother to look. It blows my mind how someone could be so un-engaged with a customer. 

Experience 2:

One exceptional ride I received was in college. The gentleman picked us up right where we requested so we didn’t have to walk far in the dark. Some of the roads were closed down but he knew exactly where to go which was very convenient and appreciated. The most exceptional part of the ride was when my friend and I got in the car, these other people, started yelling at us in a language we did not understand, however our Uber driver did. He told the guys to leave us alone and to back off because we were with him. They promptly left. He explained they were saying very rude things and he did not want us to feel unsafe. For him to stand up for us and to make sure our safety was the priority was extremely exceptional and we were very thankful and still remember it well.

The little things

You never know what little things you do will have an impact on your customers life and their experience. The first driver probably didn't think that asking where his customers were going was a big deal. The customer did, because he thought it showed lack of awareness, engagement and care.

The second driver recognized that his customers were feeling uncomfortable and took action to create value for them, by chasing off the rude bystanders and letting them know that safety was hi biggest priority. 

What little things can you do today to make a difference in your customers life?