How to Handle an Unprofessional Uber Driver

Uber has softly rolled out of a new feature, Uber Eats, which allows people to order food through the ridesharing service. Currently, the feature is available in a limited number of places including Barcelona, Chicago, Austin, Toronto, Los Angeles and New York City, reported Tech Crunch.

This news and the fact that you can go anywhere you’d like without having to pay a fortune for a ride might mean that Uber is one of the greatest things to happen to this country. Still, it never hurts to prep for the worst. And because Uber is so simple to use, a bad experience pretty much boils down to one factor: the driver.

The good, bad and ugly

But before turning in some poor sap because he didn’t offer you a bottle of water, it’s important to define some boundaries for what a good or poor experience looks like in a world where you can lament about your burger for being medium and not well-done on public websites for all to see.

A good Uber driver is someone who demonstrates good customer service skills.  Danny Meyer, owner of Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack, certainly has his customer service chops.

“The language used by employees can make or break a customer service experience.”

As Forbes magazine pointed out, Meyer successfully created a welcoming, friendly culture across his many endeavors by sticking to a strict hospitality quotient when scouting talent. These requirements include optimistic warmth, intelligence, work ethic, empathy, integrity, and self-awareness. Someone who demonstrates all or several of these characteristics might fall under the category of a good Uber driver.

Conversely, poor customer service isn’t as neatly defined as Myer methodology. However, it can still be identified, albeit a few gray areas that are subjective and based around personal preferences and interpretations.

According to a separate Forbes piece, poor customer service manifests in a number of ways. For example, failing to look and speak like a professional might put someone in this category. Moreover, the language used by employees can make or break a customer service experience. Someone who doesn’t use a professional and polite diction might come off as rude to some customers, even if the Uber ride goes swimmingly.

In the moment

What makes handling an unprofessional Uber driver different from say dealing with a rude cashier is that you’re in a car. It might be challenging to immediately leave the situation if you’re driving on the highway. Still, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with an awful person just to arrive at your destination on time.

When you’re faced with an unruly driver, you have a few choices. A minor offense on the customer service spectrum would be if the driver is noticeably trying to pad the ride. Some drivers, especially in cities like New York, might take alternative, longer routes to earn a few extra bucks. Handle this situation with poise by using your personal mobile device for directions and relaying your preferred route to the driver.

A middle of the road offense entails a driver who uses foul language or says something that makes you feel uncomfortable. It is acceptable to ignore the driver or request that the ride be in silence. However, a confrontation with the driver, among other severe issues – such as someone who has illegal substances in the vehicle – fully warrants a premature stop. When you feel as though you’re in harm’s way, your first obligation is to yourself. Ask the driver to pull over, pay the fare and call a different service.

How to file a complaint

Once an Uber ride is over, the passenger is prompted to rate the driver from one to five stars, with one being the poorest experience. Comments about the ride can be typed into a box. Then, the information is sent to Uber and the drivers see the feedback in the coming weeks or months. Use this feature if your ride was mildly unenjoyable or unprofessional. However, contact the company if you had a downright awful journey.

As stated by Uber, passengers may contact the company with any concerns. has several categories for complaints, including “I was charged incorrectly.”  In several cases, you can email Uber and explain your situation. You might receive a refund or at least an apology. If nothing else, at least you got away from your unprofessional driver. That’s a victory in and of itself.

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