Your Uber driver is one minute away.
It was to be my first Uber in 2020, and therefore, my first during COVID. I had a mask in hand as I waited for my driver to arrive. A car that looked like it hadn’t been washed for years entered my driveway. As I opened the back door, I saw a discarded Coke bottle on the seat. Despite the heat, there was no air conditioning. “It is broken, Ash,” I was told.”
As I sweated in the backseat, the driver chatted away on his phone. The whole experience was terrible. Hot, smelly, uncomfortable. And it didn’t need to be at all. All my Uber driver needed to do was follow the lessons provided by Thamer Alkhammat. And it is not just Uber drivers who should heed his advice. Fellow marketers, creators, writers, we can all follow suit and follow Thamer.
Who the hell is Thamer?
He is the Most Tipped Uber Driver in my home country of Australia, a country that doesn’t have a tipping culture. And this is how you can utilize his advice.
1. Create Bespoke Material
“I don’t play the radio, I create my own playlists with relaxing music for them to listen to.”
When I log onto my favorite websites each morning, I skim through much of the content — 80% to 90% of the material is the same. I’ve read it many times. I’m sure you have.
Successful writers spawn imitators who then produce more imitators, and everyone seems to regurgitate the same material. It’s the Circle of Writing Life.
When an original writer comes along, I rejoice in their words. They usually provide entertainment, enlightenment, and education. The three E’s, as I call them, which is what content should be about.
Create something unique for your audience. It will stand out amongst the clones.
The 5-star uber tip: Don’t imitate, innovate.
2. Provide the Right Environment
“I always have essential oils going in my car, my favourite scents are strawberry and jasmine, and these help customers relax and enjoy the ride.”
Thamer has really got it going on. My Uber smelled like three-day-old McDonald’s. The smells of Thamer’s day spa would have been far more preferable.
How can you create essential oils with your words? Easy — words are powerful and can set the mood. Start with an engaging introduction that brings your readers into your world and makes them a part of it. Less I and more you.
Keep them with you as you tell a story. Use science-backed research, humor, or emotion when appropriate — don’t just drop them in. Your customers are coming for a ride with you; make it enjoyable.
The 5-star uber tip: Set the mood early for your readers and ensure it’s an enjoyable journey.
3. Understand Your Customer Demographics and Preferences
“During the first 30 seconds of every trip, I will smile and ask them a few questions to get to know them and to figure out what kind of personality they have.
“If they’re chatty and friendly I will then keep asking them questions while offering them water, mints, lollies, phone chargers, or whatever else they might need. If I see they’re tired and would prefer to be left alone then I will do so.
“I will put on some quiet music and let them be. This is a skill you can only acquire with practice and by doing many trips.
“As soon as someone gets into my car I can figure out pretty quickly what kind of person they are and will then drive with that in mind.”
This. If you ignore every other point here, I’ll be sad, but I’ll be annoyed if you ignore this point.
Whatever website or publication you write for, there will be statistics available. Study them. Who is your audience? What are their interests? What are their preferences?
The first thing is to ensure you are writing for the type of publication suited to your topic and tone of voice. Bring your own creativity and originality (your bespoke playlist) but ensure it is the correct fit.
Thamer drives with the type of client in mind. You should write with the type of reader in mind.
The 5-star uber tip: Write for the reader demographic for the publication you are writing in. Always write with the reader in mind.
4. Surprise and Delight Your Clients
“This is random, but I always carry spare notebooks and pens, in case someone heading to the city for a work meeting has forgotten theirs and needs one, or perhaps someone wants to write up a quick grocery list before they get to the shops, all these small touches really add up and make such a big difference to your service.”
Thamer, you goddamn genius. Mints and bottled water are de rigor in Ubers. Well, not all Ubers, as I have pointed out. But here is a chance to go beyond what is expected. Anticipate the needs of your clients and be prepared.
Simple things like links to sources so the reader can easily follow up. Small tips or micro-actions they easily implement. Provide them with a takeaway so they feel their time has been well invested.
The 5-star uber tip: Treat every sentence with respect and ensure it adds to the article. When you’re done with your draft, ask, ‘how can I add even more value?’
5. Put Yourself Into Your Offering
“(I) always offer mints and Turkish lollies — Turkish lollies are a hit with many of my passengers.”
Thamel has a Turkish background. So, in addition to providing the standard mints, he provides candy from his home country. This personalizes the experience even more. His clients come to know more of his background. Perhaps this sparks conversation. Or introduces them to a new treat they have never tried before.
Writers should do the same. Give some of yourself to the readers. Bring in an anecdote. Offer how you’ve been affected by or implemented the topic you are writing about.
While the reader is still the focus of any article, let them get to know you through your writing.
The 5-star uber tip: Allow the reader to get a sense of your background, experience, or personality through your prose.
How I Use Thamer’s Advice
For this article, I followed Thamer’s advice. Let me recap (or as they say in the writing business, let me show, not tell).
I chose an unusual source to provide some tips. No ‘this is what Stephen King does to write.’ You’ve read writing tips from Ernest Hemingway and JK Rowling and many more. But none from an Uber driver. I’ll bet my house on it. (The bet is non-binding).
The people who read this publication aren’t looking for formal instruction but practical, relatable advice that is easy to implement. Advice that is applicable across various platforms and channels. I have written with this audience in mind.
I have written for this publication for quite some time. Looking at other published articles that are performing well in addition to my own, I have seen of late a trend toward articles on writing performing well. Many of the readers are writers or marketers themselves and like tips and advice.
Not only are five easy-to-implement tips listed, but now I’m taking you through how I have implemented them in this very article. Tell me you aren’t delighted!
The introduction was written casually and brought in a personal experience that I hope you can relate to easily. I mentioned that I’m an Aussie. This hopefully creates a little connection between my dear reader (yes, that is you) and me.
And that brings us to the end of this short journey. I hope you enjoyed my service and if you liked it, please rate me five stars.