An interesting story about the use of everyday items to increase the pleasurable experience of a rideshare moment. This is the story of John Ince that created the "Treasure Chest" that improved his ride-share driving life experience beyond his expectations.
Most ride-share drivers work for income not pleasure, but this is a big mistake. When you gain pleasure from what you are doing, then you are not really working. For instance, worrying about the ratings is an issue that sits at the back of every driver's mind. All the negative aspects of driving are always blamed on the driver even if they are not involved in any way, other then sitting behind the wheel at the time.
What many drivers tend to forget are the good times and constantly repeat in monotone the bad experiences they had. No one will suddenly state "Hey, I had a really great ride…" uneventful, but "Hey, I had three drunks puck all over their pet dog in my car last night" will catch everyone's attention.
So what John Ince did was create an expectation recorder that provided him with feedback as well ask provided the passenger with a personal participation factor.
The Treasure Chest
John had a fake treasure chest at home, and he took it and cut a slit in the top, closed the chest with no padlock and offered riders a pen and pad to write down what they felt about the ride, or just place a note they felt like sharing. This interaction with the passenger produced a number of interesting results, one of which was the engaging discussion what the passenger about leaving a comment. The second being the comments themselves, which would always bring a smile to Johns' face and of course the ratings for some reason would go up after the installation of the chest. This interactive sharing of a note, a free act, that the driver could enjoy would, in fact, add to the general experience and also give John an indication fo how he was performing too.
Passengers were also allowed to open the chest and read random notes, which always led to laughter and an engaging conversation.
Some of the notes
Here are examples of what some of the notes included:
Connie wrote with a little heart "I just had a drink with the cutest boy," sure, its got nothing to do with the drive, but it did let the passenger share her feelings.
Anonymous with smiley "John, you took us exactly to where we were going", a meaningless comment but full of complement, of course he would take them to where they were going, that what they paid him for, but that didn't mean they couldn't make it seem like a selfless act of kindness.
Anonymous "This guy saved us!! Best Uber ever, stranded and finally found WiFI at the Pelican Inn." A nice example of a compliment and of course most probably got a good rating too.
Anonymous "Happiness can be found anywhere; you just have to be open to it." A lovely little note.
There are many such notes that offer little proverbs, and John claims that the treasure chest was the best thing he ever put in his car.
Now we are not suggesting that everyone copies him, but it does go to show that by engaging with the passenger, talking about whatever they are interested in, providing a kind and comfortable service will always produce good results.
May notes turned out to be pictures, doodles and on some occasions one or two words including some sexually connotated suggestions.
Many passengers would ask him what to write and always suggested: "whatever you want, whatever is on your mind, whatever might interest you or bother you, just put down anything you feel."
By introducing the treasure chest John introduced a great icebreaker, apart from the Hi, I just want to make sure the direction is correct" The driver has no way of starting a conversation without the passenger's support. Sometimes asking what kind of music they want I am met by a grunt. Unless passengers start the conversation, many rides can be silent. While this can be good for some drivers, most want to gauge how their passengers feel, because the ratings are based on passenger satisfaction.
One major thing to know is, look at the passenger and decide what they are, if they are busy looking, then sometimes its best to leave them alone, but most of the passengers are interested in some social interaction during their ride.
John also noted that eventually, he became a minor celebrity in the ride-share scene, where passengers would get in and suddenly exclaim "Hey this is the famous treasure chest guy," now that is always a good sign of marketing success.
To sum up
The treasure chest is a great way to get people to open up, break the ice and also get notes that might reflect on how the passenger thought of the ride. By allowing passengers the right to read the notes, John created a perfect interactive entertainment method and would prompt passengers to add their notes to the collection. Also, but engaging the passengers in the treasure chests contents, John created the perfect ice-breaking technique, lifted the passenger's spirits and effectively increased the overall ride performance rating.
Some cards can be so raucous that when you get a bunch of the student or male passengers, John will direct them to a particular card, and that would set off a chain reaction fo laughter and generate banter around the content, always leading to way to improve on it and write more notes.
Personal observation, It is also a good incentive to tips, having the tip box places next to the treasure chest might elicit more tipping, we have yet to find out if this works.