Business Lessons from Uber Drivers

On a recent business trip to Washington, DC to host my first SME Advisor® Global Mastermind Group, we had several first hand experiences using Uber, Lyft, and local taxis.

Here is what we learned from the drivers, and include some of their “quotes:”

  1. “Uber seems more concerned about increasing quantity, not quality.” We agree. Our best driver was in the worst vehicle, a tiny Nissan Versa that badly needed a wheel balancing and alignment. Question: is your business focused on quality or quantity?
  2. “I was the first driver to 10,000 rides in Baltimore.” This gentleman was a former sales person, now driving to supplement his income. He even offered to sing Sinatra during our trip. Question: do you offer options for your customers to enhance their experience in buying from you?
  3. Most drivers are connected to both Uber and Lyft, although they usually get the majority of their business from one company. Question: do you offer your customers choices?
  4. “The Uber app we use for navigation is crap. I use Google maps.” I also had to keep an eye on where we were going and told the driver we needed to exit right (according to the signs I was watching) instead of left (where he was heading by following his apps). Technology has taken over common sense and reading the signs. Question: do you offer your employees and customers access to great technology?
  5. We took one taxi after Air Canada delayed our return flights by six hours due to a mechanical issue, and they sent us from Dulles airport to Regan airport, half an hour away in 5:00 a.m. traffic. The taxi had a very bright screen blinding me with advertisements in the pre-dawn darkness. Question: are you making your customers uncomfortable?
  6. An Uber driver in a new Camry, the most common Uber vehicle in our experience, got very frustrated following a slow-moving vehicle through a mall parking lot. “Never follow an ‘x’ (race) or ‘y’ (race) driving a (certain brand of vehicle),” he said. My wife and I couldn’t believe what we just heard. We gave him a one out of five rating and a lack of professionalism comment. Hey Uber, your drivers need some basic training in being human! Question: are you training your employees on appropriate behaviour?
  7. One Lyft was originally six minutes away when we ordered. Then, the app showed the vehicle getting further and further away, soon showing it was 15 minutes away. We cancelled and ordered an Uber. Uber arrived in five minutes. Question: how can your customers make mid-order adjustments to meet their needs?
  8. The apps constantly communicated the driver’s location, vehicle info, and license number, so we knew who was coming and when to expect the ride. Question: how are you communicating real-time information with your customers?

Private companies have a huge advantage over public companies when it comes to customer service, quality control, and consistency, because we can observe operations and interact with customers in real time. How are you using these advantages to build your business wealth?

If you’d like assess your business performance, give me a call at 306-992-6177.

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