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One thing that has become clear from running this website and reading the comments from hundreds of drivers, is that UberX drivers are absolutely obsessed with their ratings!
Some paranoia regarding rider rating is understandable since it’s a critical factor that determines future ride requests. But there are drivers who lose their nerves when the overall ratings wavers even slightly from the perfect 5.0.
One driver was actually complaining when his rating dropped from 5.0 to 4.95 (well above average)!
Just take a look at 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 one 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. And in the grand scheme of things, those few low individual ratings won’t have a huge impact on the overall average.
The obsession with wanting 5 stars from every passenger can add an insane amount of stress on even good drivers which ends up killing their job performance.
Instead of just accepting the Uber rating system as 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!
People have always found a way to express their opinions about services they love or hate. Digital businesses have just made that process of providing feedback easier. In a way, the system of rating and reviewing has made service industry as a whole, transparent. It has provided the service providers with a medium to gain valuable insight about how good or bad their service is, and what they can do to improve.
So rideshare drivers need to understand that it is this customer-based rating system that, among other things, helps keep most of them motivated enough to perform their jobs to the best of their ability.
The rideshare model is vastly different than the traditional taxi model where giving the customers a delightful experience was never the focus; rather, it was all about taking the passengers to their destination and getting paid.
Instead of worrying about passing the Uber background check and getting on the road to make money, the Uber rider ratings force the driver to do their best in ensuring that the passengers are having a smooth experience in their vehicle.
With the rideshare model being more customer centric than the traditional taxicab, this stark difference can be too much pressure for some drivers to bear.
But they really shouldn’t worry so much.
Uber’s goal is to ensure that both its passengers and drivers have a respectful, safe and pleasing experience, and it is not its intention to weed out every driver who gets a poor rating here and there. Having a sizeable pool of drivers is important to them because, at the end of the day, they are constantly getting new riders. So the drivers need to be there to supply that increasing demand.
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. If you need help with that, check out our 5 ways to contact Uber Driver Support.
How are Uber driver ratings calculated?
After you drop each passenger to their requested location, the passenger gets to give you a star rating between 1 to 5. Your account rating is based on the average of these individual post-trip passenger ratings.
Uber community guidelines state that the average ratings are calculated based on 500 of the most recent ratings. If you are a new driver who hasn’t completed 500 ride requests, then all your ratings will be taken into account for the average.
Uber counts the recent 500 ratings for its average because it wants drivers to improve their performance with each ride. It understands that getting a few low ratings when you are first starting out is unavoidable.
And the majority of Uber drivers do improve, but there is a small percent who are still totally clueless about basic customer service etiquettes. For instance, a passenger recently told me about how 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!
An Unfriendly, caustic and negative attitude like this is what Uber star ratings prevents from spreading.
Most of the complaining seems to come from drivers who are accustomed to the traditional taxicab model which was a more revenue-driven model that didn’t place as much concern on the quality of journey of taking a passenger from Point A to Point B. Furthermore, tt didn’t always consistently hold the drivers accountable to their customers.
The drivers 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 manage to lodge a complaint, it got lodged with someone who didn’t care either. Finding a kind and courteous drivers was rare and next to impossible.
Times have changed. Now, whether you’re driving with Lyft, Uber, Postmates, or DoorDash, the same rules apply. These ride-sharing companies have put a system in place that springs pleasant drivers who actually care about their passengers.
We’ve broken this concept down in detail in our most recent training course, but here’s a sneak peak. We think the video below is one that every driver should have to watch before getting on the road:
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. From the moment you open the Uber app, sign up and take your first ride request, you open yourself to the chance of receiving either a five-star rating, or one star, depending on how good or bad the passenger thought the quality of the ride was.
This is possibly why 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 from California, Washington all the way to Australia and Europe have flocked to Uber wherever they have planted the Open for Business sign. Uber has truly become a global force to be reckoned with, and the reason for that is because the passengers are happy.
A few weeks ago, “Mike”, a commenter on UberDriverDiaries wrote a post and gave some great advice on what drivers need to do to ensure 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.
Uber Passenger Rating Makes rideshare a Two Way Street
Remember that just like you, the passengers get rated as well. This enforces mutual respect and better and safer environment overall for both parties.
Amazon, a brilliant company, along with plenty of other big brands like Etsy, Airbnb, Apple, and ebay, use some form of rating system to keep things transparent. So this was a necessity in the rideshare industry as well to keep the customer satisfaction high, and to give all the drivers a fair chance to use their skill to make their mark in this competitive space.
There are several common reasons why an Uber driver might receive a low rating, and to keep your average high, rather than being paranoid about the star ratings, you must become obsessed with not letting those common reasons denigrate your account standing.
The good news is that most of the people you will find will be five star riders. But of course there will always be those oddities who are prone to always treat drivers (and humans in general) badly and give them poor feedback, but they are not the norm.
To be a successful Uber driver, you must shift your focus from being stressed about every single Uber rating you receive, to treating all your riders as five-star passengers. Remember that when it all adds up, a few poor ratings won’t make any significant difference to the number of ride requests you get in the future, and that’s what really matters after all.
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!
Jonathan Cousar began driving for Uber in 2013 when the ride-hail company first began operations in New York City. He has booked more than 7,000 trips. In 2014 he created Uber Driver Diaries, which was the first blog by an Uber driver describing the highs and lows of driving as well as offering tips and tricks and information on the industry as a whole. In 2016 Ridester acquired the site, and Jonathan began writing full-time about the rideshare industry and the gig economy. He has also done extensive research into driver issues related to pay and working conditions.