One thing that has become clear from running this website and reading the comments from hundreds of drivers, is that drivers are absolutely obsessed with their ratings! One driver even actually complained when his rating dropped from 5.0 to 4.95 (well above average)!
Just take a look at a some common threads on an Uber driver forum:
I think part of the obsession comes from what seems to be a lack of understanding of statistics. I’ve seen drivers who have gotten a hundred 5-ratings and a single 1-rating and they absolutely obsess over the one. They don’t seem to understand that when it’s all averaged together the ONE bad rating won’t end up meaning much.
They also don’t seem to understand that every good driver, no matter how good of a job they do, will eventually get a one or two star rating.
Instead of accepting this as a fact and understanding it’s just a part of the business, they bitterly complain about it and accuse Uber of all sorts of evil intentions for daring to use a customer-based rating system. This cracks me up, because it’s not as if Uber invented human nature!
They also don’t seem to understand that everybody has to perform to certain levels in their job. Perhaps some of them are ex-cab drivers who never had to actually impress their customers and they’re shocked to find themselves now actually having to care what their passengers think. It seems to be too much pressure for many drivers to bear.
But they really shouldn’t worry so much. Uber cannot deactivate a driver who is in the top 50% – unless they’re going to deactivate half of all their drivers – which they’re not going to do! So there’s really no need to worry. Especially since remaining in the top 50% isn’t all that hard to do. However, if you DO happen to fall into the unlucky lower 50%, you’ll have to talk with Uber support reps and work to get your account restored.
But I have heard stories of drivers who are totally clueless. For instance, a passenger recently told me that he got into an Uber the other day, the hottest day of the summer so far, and the driver had the windows rolled down and the AC turned off! The passenger asked politely if he could turn on the AC and roll up the windows, as he sweltered in the humid heat. The driver abruptly replied, “NO! Because Uber doesn’t pay for my gas!” Geesh. Well, if that doesn’t sound like an ex-cab driver, I don’t know what does. Uber should be really careful about hiring ex-cabbies.
In fact, a lot of the complaining from drivers about the rating system seems to come from ex-cabbies. It’s understandable because before Uber came along, they weren’t accountable to their customers. They didn’t have to lift a finger to make sure their customers were happy. And it was very difficult for a customer to lodge a complaint. And nine times out of ten, when a customer did lodge a complaint, it got lodged with someone who didn’t care either!
Welcome to the real world cabbies. The rest of us have been accountable to our customers for our entire careers. It’s the way a free market works. Service providers have traditionally bent over backwards to delight their customers, but cab drivers have never had that burden.
Make no mistake, it is the Uber driver rating system that causes Uber drivers to be far better than cab drivers. Uber drivers are cleaner, better spoken, more polite, and their cars are cleaner, newer and safer. They’re safer drivers too. That’s why people have flocked to Uber all around the world, wherever they have planted the Open for Business sign.
A few weeks ago, “Mike”, a commenter on UberDriverDiaries wrote a post and gave some great advice on what drivers need to do to insure that their ratings don’t sink into the toilet. The suggestions are mostly obvious and simple. But for the clueless ex-cab drivers out there, I thought I would re-post his advice here.
Keep a positive outlook no matter how hard things are. I am a prime example. I owned and employed people for years, made solid income, then… got sued for a MILLION dollars!! I was forced to Bankrupt the company just before taking on my first major angel investor. I was about to be handed a check for 500K!! “Oh I hear the tears” I AM NOT CRYING IN FACT, I SAY THE NEXT BIG THING IS COMING AND I WILL ATTACK IT HEAD ON!!
I drive in San Francisco where I average 30 to 40 trips in 8-9 hours of driving. About 50 % of the people take the time to rate you, the ones that do NOT are like the ride that never happened. Taking as many rides as I do, as long as I have good city knowledge one or two bad ratings will not hurt me at all. After my first 60 days of driving I had low ratings simply because I relied heavily on my GPS. Now I know my way around NEVER get below average ratings.
With longer rides you have to read people’s personalty types real fast. And this is not impossible. Are they talkative, liberal, conservative, etc.? And you better agree with everything they say or your rating will suffer. “So you think we should kill all cats sir?” “You are so right, sir,” better be your answer. LOL!
Here in the SF even if I do not care for what they are saying the average ride is only like 10 minutes, so it’s easy to deal with this for such a short time. On long rides keep your GPS muted, the radio on soft and avoid talking if possible. And if you must talk, keep it light. And always remember, people don’t want to hear about you. They want you to hear about them.
In regards to my personal ratings, it all started with me getting a warning email about my ratings. After approximately my first 60 days of driving, my rating was very low. UBER sent me notice to improve or they said I was at risk of deactivation. They said I should read their page on how to to keep better ratings. I did. And I started to see improvement immediately, then as I drove I picked up more ways to improve. I watched what I said (meaning acting more professional instead of being so open in conversation and starting conversations.Listen more, talk less. ( not that I do not have fun with customers, I DO ALL THE TIME!! Really, most of the time!! UBER Clients as a whole, are intelligent and fun to talk to. I just never bring up topics that can possibly cause friction, as there are so many people we ride with, every one of them has their own opinion, so If we disagree on something, that is a bad thing and will cost me in ratings.
UBER sends out stats to all drivers regularly that show what the most major and minor complaints filed against drivers. BY FAR THE HIGHEST COMPLAINT IS A BAD ROUTE!! You have to pay attention to these emails.
I keep up regularly with UBER Stats and by far the biggest complaint is taking a bad route. Even if you have Bad language skills this will not hurt you much as long as you keep up with way UBER suggests, they are right on a lot.
1. The MOST IMPORTANT thing is knowing your way around. Know and learn your area as best as possible. Learn your area’s best routes and short cuts as best as you can. BY LONG SHOT TAKING A BAD ROUTE is the number one complaint form UBER customers.
2. When you arrive DO NOT IMMEDIATELY call every client. Unless it is an extremely busy street or crowded event – in this case a call is always warranted before you arrive. But in normal day to day driving, it bugs people – so don’t call unless you absolutely have to. But text them first after a couple minutes, then call after five minutes if you don’t see them. NEVER seem irritated when calling. Be polite and say, ”Hello Sir/Miss I was just calling to make sure I am at the right place.” Yes, we get annoyed when people take a long time to come out, but most are ready, so just deal with the one or two that do make you wait and be cool about it.
3. Have a good GPS that has visible turn by turn directions. LEAVE THE VOLUME OFF AND FOLLOW THE TURN BY TURN. Listening to a GPS voice annoys people! I suggest either Waze or Google Maps.
4. In regards to conversation try to at least pretend you care about what they have to say, be agreeable make them feel smart, people love to talk. Let them and agree no matter how stupid it may be. (Just keep your opinions to yourself). At least pretend to care. They love to think you think what they have to say is interesting. Talk UBER, ask them about their line of work, talk sports.
5.Avoid talking Religion/Politics or about your own life’s problems or opinions. If they happen to disagree with your opinion IT WILL cause friction, and result in a lower rating for you.
6. Even though UBER’s pay sucks, never complain to customers about it. I know it sucks and so do you, but you should never talk about it to a customer. Always say how great you think UBER is even if you do not. UNTIL YOU FIND SOMETHING BETTER SUCK IT UP!!! People hate hearing others’ problems. They want you to listen to theirs!
7. Have non-offensive music playing, never too loud, just good background. As much as I would love to turn up some 2 PAC it’s just not good to have on. Light rock, 80′s music, Jazz etc. as much as we would all love to bump 2pac or Heavy metal this is not the place to do it. It’s not good background music. Keep it on easy listening stations, 80s, 90′S music, light rock, jazz. Keep the volume low unless otherwise requested by the client.
8.If they are in a Surge Price area immediately apologize and make sure they know its not you. Tell them we never know when or where it will be (this is the truth) most people just say “no biggie”. But if you don’t mention it, sometimes they feel ripped off and blame you for something that is out of your control. Tell them you personally wish there was no surge pricing (even though in our minds we wish every trip was a surge)!
9. Offer water always, and if you can have gum or mints people love it. Remember its a tax write off!!
If I can maintain a mid 4.8′s overall rating (with over 1700 trips completed), why can’t you? Will we all get some bad or unfair ratings? Of course we will! Just do your best on every ride!! Good luck hope this helps.
Now over to you..
Discussion time. Have you found a great way to improve your ratings? How are you handling negative feedback from drivers? If I missed something above, I’d love to hear it in the comments below. Ready… go!