Being an Uber driver itself presents a number of advantages over taxicabs notably the more tidy cars, passenger’s ability to rate drivers, and the minimal need to tell directions given the nature of how this service operates.
But drivers shouldn’t really think those above are advantage as the competition is trying its best to win customers. For instance, the Hong Kong government plans to introduce three premium taxi operating franchises, each to run 150 to 200 taxis, with a view to improving the standard of local taxi services. With about 18,000 cabs carrying about 1 million rides a day, ridesharing has some serious competition. So becoming a better Uber driver not only earns high ratings, it also boosts the image of the ridesharing app, especially that it has faced a number of obstacles operating in Hong Kong.
1. Be a customer before becoming a driver.
Experiencing life as a passenger can be quite eye-opening once a driver puts himself in the situation. As a passenger, you get to relive the experience before, during and after an Uber ride. You can experience how long a wait can be, you know how cleanliness of your car compares when you’re on board, and you can also ask the driver relevant questions like if they enjoy being Uber service provider, what time is most profitable and more. Such ride should be able to provide enough nugget of knowledge to improve service and/or make more money as an Uber driver.
2. Have snacks and water handy.
As a driver, you’d like to have food and drinks handy in the car instead of looking for the nearest convenience shop or burger joint for a break. More than just helping yourself, it’s not a bad idea to offer drinks or snacks to passengers especially on a long drive. This helps you get that coveted 5-star rating which means a lot to some riders.
We have not experienced many Uber drivers engage us to a conversation let alone offer us refreshments, but if you do so, it’s a change in scenery and sign of goodwill that in a city where very few people open doors for you or wait for you to enter the lift, an Uber driver does his part to make Hong Kong more liveable.
3. Have your music in-tune with your passengers.
Instead of playing music, taxi drivers in transit may choose the dispatch system in hopes to get their next passengers or local Chinese music an expat may not be familiar with. For Uber drivers, whose dispatch system depends on their location, willingness and availability, caring for the current passenger should be the focus. Careful driver, smiling as you check them in the backseat if they’re doing okay or remind them to strap the seat belt.
In addition, the ambiance should be suitable for the passengers. Not just the cleanliness inside the car, but also what tunes you play in the car stereo. It’s polite to ask if they prefer to listen to music and what’s their choice. If they don’t mind, Spotify has plenty of playlist suitable to be played while in the middle of traffic or breezing through the express lane.
4. Be ready to help.
Uber drivers frequenting the airport should expect more passengers coming from a flight and have brought with them luggage so an extra pair of hands should help. We emphasize this since some taxi drivers in the past not only wait behind the wheels while their passengers gesture at them to open the trunk to place their bags, these bags are also charged (according to law).
For Uber drivers to take advantage of such lousy attitudes among very few taxi drivers with grumpy attitude is to serve passengers with a smile, offering to help them many ways.
Not all passengers are desirable. There are those who feel entitled and think and assume the Uber driver is their chauffeur (you can deal with them in the ratings anyway). Nevertheless, as a driver of a ride-sharing service is expected to act in a professional manner. We hope these few tips are already being practiced. If not, we hope it’s not a big change to adopt, Mr Driver.