The first step in determining what your biggest weakness is, in terms of being a professional driver, is to take a good look in the mirror. Dress professionally, as if you were going to a meeting with someone for a business casual lunch.
Here’s a list of a few common issues that other drivers may encounter:
- being polite/rude to passengers
- having knowledge of the area, and using the best route available
- interacting with passengers in general (e.g., being funny, breaking the ice, making people feel comfortable, not talking too much, etc.)
- car aesthetics and maintenance
- being punctual
- not overcharging the customer
- dealing with issues that issues that may come up while on trip (e.g., changing destination location, picking up somebody different for you customer, having access to phone chargers, etc.)
And on, and on it goes….
Typically, I would get angry and upset when someone left three of fewer stars following a trip (this prompts the customer to cite the reason for giving a low rating, and the subsequent feedback is then delivered to the driver). This led me to leave poor ratings for the next few people I dropped off!
The best way to deal with feedback is to accept it, and quickly move on. Do not take feedback from Uber customers as personal attack against you!
People love to complain. It’s just human nature to b*tch about things that you don’t agree with. The Uber app (and Lyft) have figured out a creative way for people to do just that without having to engage in confrontation with the person their b*tching about.
Fortunately, it’s just as easy to improve. Each ride is a fresh new start with your image, professionalism, and manners (unless you’re driving someone whom you may already know). Every time you get pinged, it’s a chance to practice being the kind of professional driver you want to appear to be. For new driver-partners, this is especially true and important. Let yourself roll with the punches, and you’ll be seeing your ratings soar in no time.
You may even get people who want to use you again in the future outside the Uber app. That’s why it’s also important to carry around business cards with your name, personal contact info, and logo if you have one. From my personal experience, people love sharing their business cards with me, and it’s perfect having one of my own for them in a pinch.
From the hundreds of business cards I’ve doled out over the past year, I’ve received maybe only one or two follow-ups from people interested in using me again. These folks are just as interested in finding a good deal as anybody else, and if you can provide them with one “off the books” it could mean big money!
Learning how to accept and receive feedback is a big way of upping your rideshare game.
Are you unsure of how to break the awkward drive silence?
Try rehearsing a joke in front of the mirror, always be mindful of weather patterns, and the latest breaking news, ask passengers if they like your music often. These little tricks will help you hone your craft as you continue becoming one of the smoothest drivers on the road.
Other times, it’s better to keep the flow going by just being quiet.
Typically, i like to fire off a few questions initially while they settle into the trip. After feeling them out, I’ll let the passenger dictate how frequent conversation takes place. Otherwise, you get the dreaded “what’d u say?” if trying to talk over the radio! :/
What’s the policy with picking up at the airport?
It’s easy for cops to spot rideshare drivers at the airport based upon how they interact with their passengers. Picking up a stranger whom you’ve never met before will inevitably be different from seeing someone you love for the first time in awhile. Be mindful of cuing off the police when/if you go to snag someone at the airport.
If you do get stopped, don’t panic. Typically either of the big tech companies (i.e., Lyft or Uber) will cover all costs associated with court fines/fees. However, it’s still a hassle having to stand before a judge and get a tongue lashing. You should expect them to put you in touch with a local attorney whose likely been through the same process dozens of times. That’s basically it. Your appointed representative will talk to the prosecutor before court is in session, and will knock the big scary fine down to something of a misdemeanor. Some drivers have repeatedly gone to court over the same violation from airport police.
How do i deal with passengers learning how to use the app?
There’s sometimes some friction between people in your car (see this video of a rideshare driver getting attacked by his pax); however, it can be a rewarding experience as well. My favorite trips are the first time users that have never come into contact with the Uber system before. They’re so amazed by the entire process, particularly how simple it is to operate.
On the flip side of this coin, I often still get pax who fail to successfully operate the app. These are also enjoyable occassions for me, mainly because I get the chance to teach them a little life lesson. For example, I had a pax pick-up request in Newark who put the pin location across from New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).
After I arrived, she called me with a description of the person whom I was to drive (i.e., the trip was ordered for someone other than the pax app user). Typically, this kind of thing happens all the time; however, her pin was nowhere near the actual pick-up location. She cancelled the trip after I informed her it would be another 10 min. to driver to where her friend’s address was, and was automatically charged for the minimum fee.
Similarly, there are other opportunities for learning while on an Uber ride. For example, entering the appropriate drop-off destination into the app. Pax occasionally fail to ensure the destination location is actually where they want to go.
I will always ask them to double check their destination input; however, I also use my knowledge of the area to navigate to their destination if I’m familiar with where or what it is.
If it’s not where they had anticipated ending up, we continue driving until we get to the appropriate destination (while the fare is running all awhile of course). Although this could mean a higher pay-out, it could also mean getting a lower score come time for the pax to rate you. Try to keep it quick, even if it’s a long trip.