Rideshare Guy here, and today I have a video all about the big texting versus calling debate among drivers. Now, I am not talking about texting your wife or texting your girlfriend. We are talking about Uber, Lyft passengers here. One of the things that I always recommend to new drivers is take a ride as a passenger. The reason why I recommend that is because you are going to learn a lot. You will see what good drivers do well and you will see what bad drivers do poorly.
Passengers hate being called
Now, one of the things I first discovered as a passenger on Uber and Lyft actually was that I hate being called. I don’t know if this is my personal preference or what, but a lot of passengers that I’ve talked to and a lot of drivers that have talked to passengers have told me the same thing. A lot of passengers who tend to be younger, they tend to be text savvy, that generation doesn’t like to talk on the phone. I often joke that sometimes when my friends text me, it would have been a lot faster, we go back and forth to text so much, it would have been a lot faster to just call each other. But that is how this generation is. They prefer text overwhelmingly. And younger generation, even high school, college is even worse. They primarily text. They don’t even probably have an answering machine or know how to set their voicemail.
I think that some of the times my friends have actually called me, hung up if I didn’t answer, and then texted a message. That should give you an example of how badly some people don’t like to receive phone calls. As drivers this matters because you really want to reserve those phone calls for times that matter. And I think even on the Lyft app itself, it actually asks you when you try to call a passenger, it says, “Are you sure you want to call this passenger?” And the reason it’s asking that is because they know that it is annoying for passengers to get that call. Passengers complain about getting called and they may give you a lower rating for calling if it’s not urgent or it if it’s not a necessary situation.
Send pre-prepared texts to passengers when you head their way
Here are the times when I like the text versus call. As soon as I get a ride request, I like to text the passenger. I have a saved text that says basically, “Hey, this is your driver Harry. I am on the way.” If you guys are on iPhone, you can use the shortcuts and set it as AA or AB, or whatever you want. And then when you type that two or three letter string, it will go right ahead and auto fill out your entire text. That is a cool little trick. And then if you’re on Android, you can obviously use the copy and paste feature, and you have a clipboards, and all the other cool little apps that basically will help you to copy and paste messages so you can send quick text, and you can even have a few different variations that way, too.
If you want to make it a little bit more customized, say, “Hey, I will be there in five minutes.” Maybe a little further, you have a different text that says, “I will be there in 10 to 15 minutes.” These are all little tips and tricks to make it feel like you are personalizing the experience for this passenger, even though you are doing it is in as efficient a manner as possible. When I arrive, let’s say I am on route after I send that initial text. I am on route now, when I arrive, I actually generally don’t send text because the app will notify these passengers, “Hey, your Uber driver is almost here.” And then when you are there, it notifies the passenger that you have arrived, that the driver has arrived, which is just another reason why it is important to take a ride as a passenger, so you can see what types of notifications you get from the Uber and Lyft passenger side of the app because they are changing.
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I haven’t taken a ride in a couple of weeks as a passenger, so it might be different. So, the next time I go out and check, I am going to very carefully monitor and see what type of notifications I am getting, whether it is Uber or Lyft, or even Postmates too. It all matters. Because if they are getting notification and then you text them to say that you are there, they already know that. A notification comes in very similarly to a text. So, for most people a text when you arrive is just redundant.
Send a text if you’ve been waiting for a few minutes
I will text, however, one to two minutes after I’ve arrived. If they still haven’t come out or if they haven’t texted or called me, it is looking like they are not going to come out. Maybe it’s a Friday, Saturday night, maybe you’ve been waiting a long time for a lot of time for a lot of passengers and you are getting all antsy, go ahead, send that text, and say, “Hey, this is your driver Harry. I am outside waiting for you.” Now, you don’t want to be too forceful, “Hey, get out here.” We also don’t want to say it like, “Hey, take your time,” because you are not getting paid at this point. I know Uber slogan we like to joke, “It’s your personal driver, but I am not chauffeur.” I like the Lyft aspect more, “I’m your friend with a car, and I would never keep my friend waiting.”
Cancel at five minutes sharp, or wait?
And so, that is what you really want to think about. You are not here to serve these people. You are here to provide them a safe, affordable ride, but at the same time you are not there to wait on their beck and call. If you go out and you are almost waiting and serving, it almost gets them in the habit of saying, “Hey, it’s okay to keep my driver waiting.” At four minutes, that is when I’ll actually call. S five minutes you actually can cancel as a no show and get the $5 or $10 cancellation fee, depending on your market. I like to give them a little heads up at four minutes. I will give them a call. Be super friendly about it and say, “Hey, I have been down here for a few minutes. Are you guys out? Are you headed out? Are you on the way?” And if they say, “We will be a few more minutes.” Then at that point it is your call whether you want to wait or say, “Okay, cool. Just maybe cancel this ride and re-request when you are ready.”
At five minutes, if you don’t to wait, you can cancel the ride and tell them to re-request. But I value my time and I know…I think all drivers out there should value their time too. And I think if you are on the five, six-minute borderline, I think that is okay. But me personally, I am not going to do it as soon as I hit five minutes. I treat every situation differently, but I think that is going to be a call that you guys are going to have to make.
When calling the passenger is the right move
The only other situation where I will call is if I can’t find the passenger. And if I know that I am not going to be able to find the passenger, for example at the end of a game or at the end of a big concert, or anytime where it is likely or I know that I am going to have trouble finding the passenger, that is when you want to give a call.
At the six-minute mark you can also just go ahead and you know that you can cancel the ride at that point. That’s what I have to say about texting versus calling. I know to wrap it up and in summary, me personally, as a passenger, I don’t like to being called. Unless there is a situation that really warrants it, I would try to avoid calling the passengers because most of the conversations that you can get can be done by text. Say, “Hey, I am out front,” or whatever you need to tell them.
Texts are just much more unobtrusive. So, I’d love to hear what you guys think about the texting versus calling debate. Feel free to leave a comment, like, subscribe to the channel. And if you have any questions, you want to see me make videos or do podcasts or articles about a topic in the future, feel free to shoot me an email. All right. Take care, guys.
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