What’s The Best Way To Handle Angry Passengers?

What if I told you there was one thing you could do that would immediately boost your Uber driver rating?

Ratings are a topic that I get e-mailed about a lot, and for obvious reasons.  I’ve detailed many times how the rating system isn’t fair for drivers since we’re required to maintain a 4.6 rating or above but passengers have no such requirement.

It doesn’t help that we don’t get any real feedback on what we’re doing wrong either.  I get e-mails all the time from new drivers in danger of being deactivated and they have no idea why.

That sucks.

What's The Best Way To Handle Angry Passengers?
What’s The Best Way To Handle Angry Passengers?

I’ve tried to cover a lot of the typical situations that cause low ratings and how to handle them in the past, but one thing I’ve realized is that even though every situation is unique, they all have a similar solution.

A few weeks ago, RSG reader Gerry shared a story with me from the professional public speaker, Lance Miller.  Here’s Lance’s story:

Sunday, I flew into LAX from Vancouver and notified Uber for my ride home. Ten minutes later my driver, Mario, picked me up in his Chevy Impala. “Thank you!” I stated as we took off, “It is so nice to have Uber pick me up and take me home!”

Mario said, “You’re the first nice person I have had today. Everyone has been yelling at me because they have to bring their bags up to the Upper Departure Level for Uber to pick them up. I tried to explain that LAX won’t let Uber pick up in the Lower Arrival area, I have been fighting with people the entire day, all they do is yell at me!”

This is a situation we’ve all faced as Uber drivers at one time or another.  In fact, you may have faced this exact scenario at the airport yourself recently.  Or maybe you had a group of passengers try to bring six people into your UberX vehicle.  Or maybe you had someone try to bring an open beer can into your car for the fiftieth time!

These are all real situations that happen to us all the time, and while it might seem obvious to experienced drivers how to handle these situations, Uber still doesn’t provide much in the way of training for these types of real life scenarios.

But the way you handle these situations matters because it could affect your wallet AND your rating.  If you cancel on every passenger who tries to bring alcohol into your car, you’re now losing money since you had to drive to that passenger for free and now have to wait for another fare.

If you chastise a passenger for bringing alcohol into the car, they’re probably not gonna leave you the most favorable rating.

So how do you talk to an angry person?

After 40 years in management handling all types of employees and personnel, 35 years in sales handling all types of customers and 25 years as a public speaker addressing many hot/controversial topics and audiences, there is one simple method I have found that works almost every time.

You get “angry” with the same thing the person is angry with.

An angry person is asserting their ultimate rightness about how they have been ultimately wronged. They are SO RIGHT that they are justified in getting angry about it. The last thing they want to hear is how they are WRONG by being angry! But make them RIGHT and you will be best friends!

I explained this to Mario and said, “Just say, ‘Yea, that really makes me mad too! I wish I could pick you up down stairs in arrivals, it is stupid you have to drag you bags upstairs after a long trip.”

Mario called me today and told me he loves handling his angry passengers now!

So the next time someone gets angry with you, enjoy it! Get angry right with them and make a new friend!

So what do you guys think of Lance’s advice on how to handle angry passengers?  Is this something you think would work?  I’ve already been trying it, and I have to say it’s worked really well for me.

I don’t know Lance personally, but it seems like he gives great advice.  If you’d like to learn more about him, head over to his website.

-Harry @ RSG