As anyone who’s worked for themselves can tell you, there are a lot of benefits to ‘being your own boss’. And as a rideshare driver, you get to fulfill that dream. Drivers are free to set their own hours, work as hard as they want and take as long of a lunch break as they’d like!
Now obviously you won’t get paid during those times when you’re not working, but I personally love seeing a correlation between how hard I work and how much money I make. There aren’t a lot of good paying jobs that will let you scale up and scale down your hours according to your personal schedule. I actually dare you to try that with any other service industry job.
So there’s a lot of good to being a driver but as you are probably aware of (like with anything in life), there are definitely some downsides too. One of the biggest complaints I’ve had dating all the way back to when I first became a driver is the lack of communication between TNC’s and drivers. The only way to get in contact with Lyft and Uber is through e-mail and we all know that e-mail isn’t really meant for real-time communication.
What’s Up With E-mail Only Guys?
I know we’re living in this new high tech world but I only like to check my e-mail a few times a day. It isn’t efficient for me to check my e-mail every few minutes since I get so many (I actually turned off e-mail notifications on my phone recently and I love it!). If someone really needs to get a hold of me, I expect them to call or text me. And if they don’t have my number, there’s probably a reason for that 🙂
That being said, Uber and Lyft’s
preferred method only method of communication is still via e-mail. Now most issues can be handled just fine that way but there are a lot of times when speaking to someone is going to be more efficient and more re-assuring too. I understand why the TNC’s do this but I think it just creates another barrier between drivers and companies.
Lyft would be smart to add this feature since it would put a stop to their recent string of Uber-like business moves or at least give the option to chat, e-mail or voice call like so many other companies with great customer service do (ie Amex, Amazon, etc).
Related Article: Why The Downfall Of Lyft Is Imminent
How To Get Problems Solved
While I hope that Uber and Lyft add a phone line in the near future, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. Instead, I’m going to figure out the best way to get a hold of these guys and get my questions answered. In my experience, Uber’s response time (especially lately) has been pretty fantastic. I’ve also noticed that certain subjects/topics will get quicker responses. This means that they probably have an auto-filter set to detect certain keywords and those e-mails will get reviewed faster than others.
Things like ‘insurance’, ‘phone not working’, ‘accident’, etc are likely to set off these filters so if you can slyly interject one of these terms into your e-mail you should expect to get a faster response time. Uber has people working 24/7 and while they aren’t always the most helpful, there is a lot that they can do.
Never Give Up
Once you finally do get a hold of someone, you are now linked to that representative’s e-mail. Lyft and Uber use a ticket system and as long as your ticket is open, your e-mails will go directly into the customer service rep’s inbox. This system is very similar to the IT infrastructure set up at most big companies.
I have opened a lot of tickets with both Uber and Lyft and one thing I’ve noticed is that these CS reps aren’t the brightest kids on the block. Lyft and Uber both encourage their reps to use canned responses (time-saving technique) to answer a lot of questions.
I’ve found that whenever I ask multiple questions, I’ll only get an answer to one of them (and it will be a standard robo type response). If this happens to you, you’re going to have to keep on bugging them until you get all your questions answered.
Here’s a quick story for you guys about how I once refused to give up on money I thought I deserved:
A couple months ago, I gave a girl a ride all the way from LA to Orange County. At some point during the ride, my phone lost connectivity and the trip ended. I didn’t get (or maybe I didn’t notice) the text message that said I had lost connectivity until we were 5 minutes from the destination though. I guess I was busy driving 70 mph on the freeway so the last thing I would ever do is look down at my phone – but that’s another story.
I e-mailed Lyft as soon as I realized what had happened and I figured they’d be able to take care of it no problem. I gave them the starting and ending address and long story short, they refused to pay me out. The CS rep gave me every reason in the book why Lyft didn’t have to pay but there was no way I was going to let a $60-$70 ride go unpaid (obviously pre fare-cut days). I literally just kept e-mailing them over and over, dissecting everything they said, in the nicest way possible and I even sent a couple e-mails that said I would not rest until I am paid my fare share (see what I did there?).
A little over-dramatic I know, but this was a matter of principle! I think I ended up exchanging over 25 e-mails with this rep and she finally relented and gave me 4 free ride credits up to $25 each. $100 in tax free ride credits? Ok, I’ll take that.
So the moral of the story is if you’re a persistent SOB, the Lyft or Uber rep might just give in to your demands. Btw, I actually stole this idea from another driver who said she did the same thing and was eventually paid off so I know it’s worked for at least one other person.
Escalate To A Manager
This is a trick I picked up from dealing with credit card companies over the years (I guess I complain a lot!). Generally, when you call in to a customer service hotline, you will reach a first level CS rep. These reps are there to handle the every day, boring and mundane questions. So if you have a general question about the service or how something works, they are a great resource for that.
But if you need a pay statement adjusted or pretty much anything where big money is involved, these first level reps often don’t have the power to do that no matter how much you plead. What you need is a manager. I haven’t tried this with Lyft yet, but I have successfully done so with Uber. Another story:
For some reason, a second Uber iPhone showed up on my doorstep one day. I have absolutely no idea why or how it got there but it was there. This was also right around the time when Uber started charging $10/week for iPhones.
I had been traveling for a few weeks so I wasn’t driving which also meant that the $10/week fees weren’t showing up since I wasn’t generating new statements. Once I finally got back to driving though, I noticed all the double charges for the phones and realized what was going on. I immediately e-mailed Uber CS and a nice rep gave me the standard canned response about why they charge for data and after a few e-mails back and forth I realized that arguing with her was pointless.
I ended up requesting her manager speak with me and 3 days later, he finally e-mailed me and agreed to waive the fee for the second phone since it was clear that it had been sent by mistake.
I didn’t even have to plead my case with this manager (and I was definitely prepared to). After I made the request, he actually reached out to me and offered to waive the phone charge. So the moral of the story is don’t be afraid to escalate things to a manger. I think it helps to stay polite and courteous, even if the CS reps on the other end are dumber than a doorknob.
Contact Via Social Media
The last method that I’ve used with a TON of success in other industries is contacting Lyft and Uber via social media. If I have a really pressing or urgent question, I’ll e-mail and tweet them too. That way you can reach two different people and you’ll tend to get a much quicker response.
Related Article: The Best Customer Service Is Now On Twitter
A lot of big companies have realized the value of having a strong social media presence so they tend to put their best foot forward on places like Twitter and Facebook. They’re probably also looking to avoid bad publicity with stories like this. I’ve tweeted Lyft and Uber a couple times and had success a couple times with Lyft. They actually looked into a payment issue I was having once and tried to help me out when I was ‘mysteriously’ removed from the Facebook Lounge.
Hey @lyft, can you tell me why I no longer have access to the FB group lounge?
— Rideshare Guy (@TheRideShareGuy) October 15, 2014
So now that you guys are aware of all the ways to get in contact with Uber and Lyft’s customer service teams, do you have any pressing questions or issues that you need resolved? What have your interactions been like so far and do you have any tips/tricks to getting better service that you’d like to share with us?
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-The Rideshare Guy