Sometimes, you will pick up an angry passenger. Either they woke up angry, or something happened that made them angry. Another driver could be canceled, so when you arrive, the passenger has been waiting a long time.
When someone is angry, will they likely target their anger at you? They don’t know you. There won’t be any real repercussions if they treat you poorly. You’re just an Uber driver.
However, one thing they can do to you that can impact your ability to earn revenue is give you a low driver rating. Uber and Lyft will deactivate you if you consistently get low driver ratings.
Therefore, properly dealing with the angry passenger is in your best interest, so you still earn a 5 rating.
This article will share strategies to disarm angry passengers and turn them into your greatest fans.
The best advice I ever got about anger is that the angry person is not angry at you; they are angry about something that happened to them earlier.
I learned not to take someone else’s anger personally. I don’t have to respond to it with my anger. That will only fuel the situation.
Instead, you can take a few beneficial actions to help someone cool down and get back to enjoying their life.
How Uber and Lyft Generate and Evaluate Your Ratings
Both Uber and Lyft make it easy to see your ratings. Here are my current ratings taken directly from the apps.
As you can see, Uber’s rating is based on the last 500 rides. Lyft is based on the previous 100.
Both companies reserve the right to deactivate you if your ratings significantly decline.
This is from Uber’s website. Uber speaks of a local average rating as the warning pivot point.
I don’t know what that number is. It is rather vague, as are many things Uber. I have seen other websites indicate that 4.6 is the deactivation level.
If you get below 4.8, I will start to worry and take steps to improve your performance.
This is from the Lyft website. They hint that 4.8 is a warning sign to get help.
Let’s investigate what you can do with angry passengers to ensure you get those five ratings.
Best Ways to Rebound Your Rating From an Angry Passenger
1. Listen To Your Passenger
I start each passenger interaction with, “Hi, how are you doing today?” If my passenger is angry, they will most likely start talking about what happened.
The best thing you can do is listen. Let your passenger know you are listening by asking follow-up questions. “Oh yeah, can you tell me what happened next?” Let your passenger get it all out.
Being on their side and interested in their story will win you big points.
2. Show Empathy
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It allows you to express that you understand what your passenger is saying.
You know why they are angry. It makes sense. In doing so, you let your passengers know it is OK for them to be angry. They have every right to be angry, given the story they are telling you.
Showing empathy turns you from a mere listener to someone on your passenger’s side.
Now, you are a friend rather than someone who is the target of anger.
3. Remain Calm And Professional
Sometimes, the first two strategies don’t work. Your passenger is angry, and nothing you do will change that.
The worst thing you can do is get triggered by your passenger and react with your anger. Now you have become another enemy, another reason for your passenger to be angry.
Instead, keep your breathing deep and consistent. Focus on driving. Focus on holding a calm space for your passenger. Be a professional.
Behave like this happens all the time, and it’s not a big deal. Once an angry passenger realizes you won’t take the bait, they usually sit quietly for the rest of the ride.
4. Did You Do Something Wrong? Admit It.
With nearly 30,000 rides under my belt, you better believe I have made some wrong turns. My wrong turns add minutes to my passengers’ rides.
At the beginning of my career, I acted like nothing happened, even though my passenger and I knew what happened.
The better strategy is to say, “Oh jeez, I apologize, I made a wrong turn there. I’ll get off at the next exit and turn around. We’ll be back on track very quickly.”
Nobody is perfect. By acknowledging you made a mistake, you are admitting to being human. If your passenger gets angry, they have a right to be angry.
All you can do is admit to it and apologize. Then, remain professional and calm.
5. Change Up The Environment
If someone is angry or feels out of control, I can do a few things to change the environment. This is a technique I learned from Tony Robbins.
When any of my kids were upset, I would ask them to start hopping on one foot and sing a song with me. Instead of being upset, they had to focus on the task I had assigned them.
They would forget what they were upset about, and then we could stop hopping on one foot. For the angry passenger, I play some calm music louder than usual and open the windows to allow for more audible air sounds.
This seems to disarm the angry passenger while allowing me peace from their angry assault.
6. Gut It Out
Sometimes, there is nothing I can do but gut it out. I look at my GPS and see how much longer I have to put up with the BS.
I drive. I smile. I get my job done. And then I arrive. “Thank God,” I think to myself. “Go and have a great day!”
No matter how I feel about a passenger, I try to leave them with an uplifting farewell.
I want them to feel positive at the end, so when they are reminded to rate me, they remember me as a positive rather than a negative.
Not all passengers express the energy of unicorns and rainbows. Some passengers are downright nasty.
Sometimes, I drive around an unpleasant passenger and ask myself, “Is this what I am giving up my weekend for?”
Fortunately, those passengers are few and far between. 99% of them are excellent. For that, I am grateful. This article has shared some solid strategies for those unctuous passengers.
We have to play the game, so we keep our rating excellent and high. Once in a while, a minor miracle may happen where your angry passenger turns into one of your best rides.
You listen and empathize, and your passenger lets it all go, and you are the one who brought about their peace. It is an honorable goal to have. When it occurs, you realize the power of your position as a rideshare driver.
Take care and be safe out there.