How To Increase Your Driver Rating, No Matter What It Is

As each day passes by, you manage to get into your vehicle, accept a bunch of ride requests, and go back home. The money coming in is decent, and since you do not have any major issues with the gig, you keep at it.

Weeks go by, then months. Along the way, you somehow managed to get a few bad ratings here and there. Not overthinking it, you continue with your normal routine.

Then, one day you realize the paychecks are much smaller than they used to be. After doing a bit of research, you discover how low your driver rating is. How did it fall that far?

Is your vehicle clean? Does it smell nice? Are you friendly? Too forward? How about your driving; are you maintaining safe driving habits?

As you can see, there are a variety of reasons why your Uber driver rating might decline. There are many ways to improve your star rating.

Before we get into, we recommend you study up and understand how Uber and Lyft ratings are calculated. The major takeaways of the rating system are that Uber takes the average rating of your 500 most recent rides. Lyft takes the average of your 100 most recent rides. This means that it takes longer to change your average on Uber. And increasing your average is faster on Lyft. But be wary, it also means your rating can decrease faster with Lyft.

Continue reading to find working solutions that can help drivers increase their rating.

There are many different issues to take into consideration when answering this question. Today, we’re taking a look at the most common reasons why your Uber rating might be low and how you can fix it.


Know Your City

One of the biggest passenger complaints is against drivers who don’t know their way around.  So, it is essential that you become very familiar with the city you’ll be driving in.

Even though you’ll be using GPS navigation to get around you’ll still need to know your own city.

Since the initial conception of GPS navigation, there have been bugs in the system. These issues can be as small as telling you to make an illegal U-turn or as big as sending you in the wrong direction. A lot of rideshare drivers swear by Waze, while others stick to Google Maps. There is no right answer to the best GPS system. Experiment and find out which one works for you.

For example, there is nothing more unnerving than having your GPS tell you to take a left when you know for a fact the location you are looking for is on the right.

Due to this, new drivers cannot blindly follow GPS directions. To avoid low ratings attributed to bad driving, drivers need to know the areas they drive in very well.  They have to know the area very well in the likelihood of the GPS giving wrong directions.

By knowing your city like the back of your hand, you can ensure you can get your riders to their destination on time. You can do this by learning the major streets and landmarks of your city.

Furthermore, knowing your surroundings reduces the likelihood of getting lost!

However, you have to be careful when you go against the instructions of your GPS.  Most Uber passengers get very nervous when a driver goes against the directions of their GPS.

Even if you know there’s a better way, keep in mind that your passenger probably doesn’t.  And they are expecting you to follow the GPS exactly. Alternatively, sometimes your Uber rider will have a preferred route. Don’t argue with them; people love to control the situation.

And remember that while your GPS may send you along a strange route, it’s usually not going to make that much of a difference which way you go.  If you know it won’t make much difference either way, then it’s best to follow the GPS to avoid upsetting your passengers.

A good and experienced driver will learn to sense whether or not his passengers are familiar with the area they’re driving in.  If they do, then the driver can be confident that if he goes against the GPS instructions, the passenger will probably understand the reason why.  But it’s a good idea to let them know anyway.

If your passenger is an out-of-towner or seems to be a stranger to the area, you should explain to them why you’re ignoring the GPS instructions, because they will surely get nervous when they see you going a different way.  They will suspect that you are cheating them by taking a longer route. And they’ll be afraid it will add to their cost and time.

The more driving experience you have, the more easily you’ll be able to sense whether your passenger is familiar with the area or not.  In any case, it’s not a bad idea to always offer an explanation whenever you go against the GPS instructions.

If you’re new to the city where you’ll be driving or otherwise not that familiar with it, it’s a good idea to spend a lot of time driving around it to get familiar with it.

The main things you should learn are:

  • How the major interstates connect to each other and to the major areas of town.
  • The different sections of town and how to get from one area to another.
  • The business district and the major office buildings – drive around them and learn how to get to the pickup spots for each one.
  • The major hotels and how to get in and out of them.
  • The major nightspots where the most popular bars and clubs are.
  • And of course the airport(s) – you’ll want to learn where the Uber/Lyft queue lots are and how to get from them to the terminals.

Read Your Passengers

Having a strong “Emotional IQ” is a must in customer service positions. This skill makes it possible for drivers to gauge their passengers and figure out how to conduct themselves throughout the ride.

Drivers can provide the optimal rideshare experience as well as increase the odds of getting tipped and rated well.

It is crucial for drivers to pay attention to their riders. If you sense your passenger wants to talk, learn to ask passengers questions about themselves.

It’s usually best in the beginning to ask simple questions that can be answered with a yes or no. If the passenger doesn’t want to talk they can end the conversation with a simple one-word answer.

If they do wish to talk though, they’ll add to their yes or no answer, and that will be your queue that they want to continue talking.

And remember, they want to talk about themselves. They aren’t interested in you. It’s nothing personal! It’s just human nature.

If implemented correctly, passengers will tell you about themselves, what is going on, and other information that you can use to your advantage. For example, if they complain about the heat, offering them a bottle of water goes a long way.

Gratitude for this type of gesture comes in many forms, from a genuine thank you and better ratings to extra tips. So be on the lookout for noninvasive ways to engage your riders. This is one of our favorite ways to make more money. Happy passengers = tipping passengers.

Of course, the other side of emotional IQ is knowing when to leave someone alone. Drivers that take the time to reflect on passenger behavior will be able to determine within the first few seconds if their rider is up for a chat or not. Drivers who talk too much can expect a one-star rating from a disgruntled passenger.

If you find yourself in this type of situation, do not force them to talk. Doing so can lead to a bad rating, no tip, and an unpleasant experience for them. You will likely get many passengers who want to sit in silence. Do not take offense by this.

There are also riders who may be traveling for work. These passengers are busy, and likely have a lot on their minds and talking to their driver is just not something they’ll be in the mood for.

It is vital for you to remember that the lack of communication is not a bad thing.  And never take it personally and don’t be offended by it.

For many riders, one 15-minute ride in a rideshare vehicle is the only quiet time they are going to have for the entire day. So be respectful, keep the conversation light and professional. Otherwise, you are putting that five-star rating at risk.

When you do get a passenger up for a chat, avoid bringing up controversial topics or anything too deep to discuss in a short amount of time. Do your best to keep things upbeat.

Make Your Car Clean and Comfortable

Regardless of who you are, no one enjoys riding in a stranger’s car if it is in the least bit dirty. The thought of sitting down on a dirty car seat is less than ideal.

So, if you feel as though your car is due for a wash and clean, you should stop as soon as you can and get it done.  If you don’t, odds are you are going to get a bad rating until you do.

Go over all seats, then floorboards to ensure you get everything. Wipe down all non-fabric surfaces with a cleaning towel from your favorite brand.

Leave your doors and windows open to cycle the air in the cabin too.

Beyond that, it is wise to invest in proper cabin protection. We recommend getting some seat covers, floor mats, and air fresheners. Going the extra mile, in this case, goes a long way.

Be a Safe and Professional Driver

Another area to review to improve your driver rating is how safely you drive. This is another big area of rider complaints.  Riders do not want to be in a vehicle if the driver is driving like a crazy person.

If you’re making riders feel like their lives are in danger, that is a sure-fire way to get bad ratings.

To ensure high ratings on every trip, you must drive in a safe, professional manner.

Follow all the traffic laws and drive defensively. Furthermore, avoid making it seem like you recently got your license. Keep your eyes on the road, do not tailgate, and follow the speed limit.

Take the time to check all your mirrors and do not switch lanes unless you can safely do so.

Common sense, defensive driving, and patience are key elements to maintain while on the road. If you have a bit of road rage, do not verbalize it or let your driving pattern reflect this in any way.

Remember, safety on the road should take priority over everything else, even if your GPS is failing to give proper instructions or any other distracting issues that may come up during a trip.


Do Some Self-Reflecting

Now that we have discussed the most common problems, take some time to reflect on them. Drivers who have noticed a decline in their driver rating need to check their routine and figure out what they’re doing wrong.

If you’re getting low ratings from more than one passenger, you have to realize it’s you – it’s not them!  Don’t make excuses, don’t blame them, just sit down and figure out what you’re doing wrong. If multiple people who have never met each other are all giving you low ratings, it’s a sure bet that you’re doing something wrong and you’re the one who will have to figure out what it is.

If you really can’t figure it out, ask a friend to ride with you and see if they can figure out what you’re doing wrong.  If they can’t, then find a very highly-rated driver in your area and ask him or her if they’ll take a ride with you and see if they can spot what you’re doing wrong.

Look for positive solutions that can help reduce the odds of getting a bad rating and improve the likelihood of getting a good one.

Self-reflection is a significant part of being a business owner as well as an adult. Analyzing your performance, such as how you treat your passengers, the way you drive, and the cleanliness of your ride.

Would you want to be a rider in someone’s vehicle that acted the way that you do? If so, would you tip them if you did not know their circumstances, history, and goals?

What if some stranger conducted their business the way you do and they tried to tell you their life’s story? Would you overlook their behavior, their unclean vehicle, and tip anyway?

Chances are if your driver rating has dropped over the last few months, your riders have said no to all the questions above.

If Uber has not yet deactivated your account, there is still time to improve. But you must reflect on your experience over the last few months and identify areas for improvement.

When asking a friend or highly-rated driver to go on a ride with you and give you advice, take their constructive criticism seriously, and don’t take offense. Odds are the passenger flattered that you asked and wants to help. Use this honest feedback to improve on your next trip and beyond.

Having a low overall rating is a serious problem. It will reduce the number of trips you get, it will reduce or eliminate your tips and it will ultimately lead to complete deactivation if you don’t fix it.

Uber and Lyft will deactivate your account if things continue to go south. On the plus side, there are a bunch of ways to remedy a low driver rating.

Take the time to reflect on your business. Identify areas in need of improvement and get to work.

For example, if buggy GPS platforms are weighing you down, learn more about navigating your city the old-fashioned way.

Check your car for cleanliness and odors. Get a second or third opinion to be safe. Add cabin protection to your rides, such as floor mats and air fresheners.

Also, assess your driving habits, always abide by traffic laws, and work on your emotional IQ.

By addressing all these small details, you can make a significant improvement in a short amount of time.

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