How Brisbane’s top Uber driver made $2000 in tips
For Brisbane's top-tipped Uber driver Susan Bell, what started out as a hobby fast became an "obsession".
Her journey into the world of Uber driving began when she was looking for a distraction and trying to combat loneliness after the death of her husband.
"I've been driving for 22 months. I had worked in real estate managing sales teams for 25 years and I woke up one morning and thought 'I am done today' and went to the office and resigned that morning," she said
Encouraged by her children, she took up Uber driving after buying a new car on a whim. Initially, it was a hobby and she enjoyed getting out and about around Brisbane.
"I enjoyed the interaction with people and the flexibility that Uber offered and started driving most days. It soon became, according to my son, my "obsession". I can't imagine life without Uber."
So far, the five-star driver has raked in more than $2000 in tips.
Ms Bell said she enjoyed getting to know her passengers and said good listening skills were essential.
"I feel people give me tips for good service and great conversations that I have with my riders," she said.
"Sometimes I feel like a hairdresser or therapist when I'm chatting with passengers. Some people really open up and the conversations can get quite intense.
"I always start off asking how the passengers are feeling and where they're off to and then it all flows from there."
Developing a rapport with her customers and making them feel comfortable was a priority.
"My passengers always leave laughing, happy and feeling understood, which might be why I get tips," she said.
"I just love having a chat and hearing other people's stories. There is so much you can learn from listening and being open to conversations with strangers."
Ms Bell also goes the extra mile when it comes to helping her more vulnerable customers
"If I'm picking up an elderly passenger I will always open the door and make sure they're comfortable. If they have any grocery bags I help them carry them to the door."
There are more than 74,000 Uber drivers across Australia.
Ms Bell covers all of Brisbane and has also had jobs on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast as well as Redland, Logan and Ipswich.
In order to boost their chances of getting a tip, she suggested Uber drivers offer customers a warm and welcoming greeting, be respectful of music choice and turn music off if they are on the phone or working on their laptop.
Amanda Gilmore, Uber's Head of Driver in Australia and New Zealand, was pleased to see drivers being recognised "for going above and beyond" in customer service.
"When the global pandemic hit, we naturally saw a drop in trips, with most of Australia in lockdown," she said.
"Making sure drivers knew we had their backs was our number one priority."
Ms Gilmore said Uber provided drivers with hundreds of thousands of free sanitisers and disinfectant, as well as education for drivers and riders about how to travel safely.
Providing support and peace for mind for drivers and passengers was the most important thing Uber could do, she said.
"As we move into 2021, Uber will continue working closely with drivers to offer more support and benefits to ensure their experience is a rewarding one."
Originally published as How Brisbane's top Uber driver made $2000 in tips