You’ve arrived at your passenger’s destination, said polite farewells, and perhaps already accepted your next customer’s ride request. While your focus has shifted to the new rider’s ping, your previous ride is not yet over — leaving possibly the most important part until now: the customer’s appropriation of your driver ratings.
Uber Driver Ratings: Why they Matter
Using customer ratings of drivers is an extremely important system for companies like Uber and Lyft to ensure quality control. Should your driver ratings dip too low with Uber, you may find yourself at risk of deactivation.
This means looking for work with other rideshare companies or finding a new line of work entirely. As the company puts it, “deactivating the accounts of the drivers who provide consistently poor experiences ensures that Uber continues to be known for quality.”
The Effect of a Bad Rating
As a driver, you should see yourself as the chief executive of your own small business on wheels. You’re in a competitive field, as all the other drivers are after the same market and available customer-base as you. Any town or city you operate in will have its own deactivation threshold. That means your average driver rating will be compared to those drivers around you. The threshold may not be as low as you think, either.
After completion of a ride, users (who should also be known as customers) rate your services on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. There is also a comment box for messages or reviews pertaining to the ride. This is a pretty delicate system when you consider that users may not give much thought to those post-ride reviews.
It’s even more delicate when you consider how critical the difference between 4 stars and 5 stars is. Putting on our social-psychology lens reminds us that people give 4 stars for things they find perfectly acceptable. Customers reserve the illustrious 5-star rating for something above and beyond. It’s a natural and modest notion, one that alludes to the phrase ‘nobody’s perfect.’ Except in this case, you should really try to be.
To the two Uber who gave me a 4 star rating, I thought we were cool…
— Franky Baby (@fonvery) September 25, 2017
How to Improve Your Rating
There are many good ways to ensure higher ratings that are relatively easy to implement. Offering bottled water, gum, a phone charger, or other sensible amenities are all options. These are great ways to make the rider more comfortable than they would otherwise be. There’s that whole above and beyond thing we were talking about.
Be Polite and Respectful
According to Uber, the second most frequent complaint about drivers is a poor attitude or disrespectfulness. You don’t need to put on a show, but the more courteous driver will get the more courteous rating and feedback.
To that effort, keep the car clean. Odors, puddles, trash, and debris should be left outside the car where they can have no negative impact on a rider’s experience. No need to wear a three-piece suit, but consider your clothing choices. Save your particularly smelly t-shirts or inappropriate graphics for off-hours when you aren’t running your business.
Drive Safe and Smart
Not only is it crucial to obey the laws of traffic from a legal standpoint, but drivers will receive poor ratings for driving recklessly or illegally. If you disobey these laws, prominent rideshare companies may quickly and permanently remove you from their app.
Interestingly enough, the single most frequent rider complaint is about choosing a bad route to the destination or generally lacking knowledge of the area. Find a navigation app you like and use it effectively while getting the lay of the land. This is an appropriate time to also insist that every driver utilizes a mount for their phone. A quick way to get a poor rating is to drive while fiddling with the phone in your lap, all while your customer panics and sweats uncontrollably.
One skill that is important to hone as a driver is an ability to read the passenger. Forcing a rider to talk or listen when they may prefer a quiet ride home is another way to hurt your rating. Ignoring a passenger who attempts to be friendly will have the same result. A rider in your car is the same as a customer in your store — their experience is dependent on how you run your business.
Last but certainly not least, make sure you pick up the correct rider. This is not a joke. This happens all the time, and it leads to very poor driver ratings. Riders will often still be charged in situations where a driver blew them off or picked up the wrong person, even if by sincere accident. This will likely always result in a poor rating and a complaint.
Driver ratings have given companies like Lyft and Uber a way to ensure high-quality services to their users. While it’s true that standards are very high, rideshare driving is an attractive and competitive field for people across the entire country. The more you put into the quality of your business, the more you will get out of it.
When in doubt, take a test ride as a passenger. Explore a rider’s perspective by being a customer in another driver’s car. Consider what made the experience better or worse and apply that to your business.
Have any tips for fellow drivers on how to improve their driver ratings? Let us know in the comments below!