A young guy from Silicon Valley pouts in dissatisfaction. Despite having a fantastic full-time job, this young person feels he's not living the life of his dreams. Then, suddenly, an opportunity stroke.
A ridesharing company Uber emerged from his neighborhood. The company gives anyone with a flair for driving, the opportunity to get a good, comfortable car, download an Uber Driver app, and start driving for cash. The young guy utilizes that opportunity.
Immediately, he has become an Uber driver. With his clean car, he transports riders to their destination and lives the life of his dreams. Now he has time to go for vacation, go to dinner with his family, and help his kids with their school assignment.
And did I mention he got to choose when to work and has control over his earnings?
The only challenge is, for this young guy to keep driving, getting rewarded, and making money, he needs to have good driver ratings. In other words, his passengers have to drop five-star reviews for him, telling the world, "this guy is a good driver; and I highly recommend him."
The sad news is that, sometimes, things get out of control. The young guy—or any other veteran Uber driver—may start a trip late due to a family challenge at home or be compelled to receive a phone call from their mom as they hit the roads. Both these things can slip your ratings from 5.0 to 4.6 and even lower, crush your progress, push you closer to getting fired from a job you love.
The good news is, there's a solution for all of these. You can skyrocket your Uber business with positive feedback anytime you completed a trip. In this article, I'm going to offer you some tips that will help you lower your risk of getting negative reviews and work you through on how you can get 5-star ratings for every trip you completed.
But, first, let's define the Uber rating system and explain why the company makes the feature central for its driver-partner operation.
Understanding the Uber driver rating system
Uber's driver rating system aimed to checkmate both a driver and a rider's activities.
The company wants to make sure that only the most responsible people use its service. "The rating system works to make sure that the most respectful riders and drivers are using Uber," the company states in its press release. "Ratings are always reported as averages, and neither riders nor drivers will see the individual rating left for a particular trip."
I'm not going to talk about rider's ratings since this article focuses only on the driver ratings.
For drivers, Uber allows riders to drop a feedback to their driver. The feedback is a 5-star review, from the scale of 1-5 stars. The higher the stars, the better a driver performs at their job, the more rewards they get, the better their ridesharing business becomes.
Like in any other business in the gig economy, Uber's driver rating system exists in other to improve better rider experience. When a driver understands that they are under surveillance, they behave at their best, because they know that failure to do so, may terminate their job. Even when a driver doesn't perform well, the rating will encourage them to fasten their belt and do more or face the wrath of the company.
It makes sense, therefore, to not only understand what the driver rating is, but also to know how it works—so that you'll minimize the risk of getting a negative review that will ruin your business.
How does the driver rating system work?
First, understand that when you start from the beginning, your ratings will fluctuate. In other words, you will notice your stars moving from 1-5 and vice-versa. However, you don't need to panic when you see that because that's how the system works. As time goes on, however, your ratings will stabilize.
Secondly, note that only completed trips are rated. A rider can only rate you if you have taken them to their destination. If for example, before a ride is on, a passenger cancels the trip, that won't be counted as a completed trip, and, therefore, you will not be rated for that canceled trip.
Finally, ratings are based on the average reviews provided by riders over your last 500 completed trips. But the general rule is: Take every trip seriously because the road to getting 5-star ratings begin with a single trip. That's why it's important to start getting 5-star reviews right from your first trip and maintain that on every trip.
If your ratings begin to slip early, you're in trouble. Sooner, Uber may kick you out of its system.
How poor ratings can have your Driver app deactivated
A 4.6-star rating is not something you can be proud of.
You're fairly okay if your rating stays at that point. However, if your reviews fall short of 4.6, for 100 of your most recent trips, your Driver app may be at risk of deactivation. Where the biggest problem lies is, if you have an average rating below 4.3 (after your last 25 trips). And Uber is even proud of booting you out of its system. According to the company, "deactivating the accounts of the drivers who provide consistently poor experiences ensures that Uber continues to be known for quality." So, better be at your best.
If you have an average rating below 4.6, your profile may be at risk of deactivation, which is the last thing you want. But you can still get back to the system, even after your Driver app is deactivated—only after you have taken an Uber Quality Improvement course.
So, how do you improve your ratings? Well, get serious, and aim only for the five-star reviews.
Aim for the 5-star rating
Whether you are starting as a new Uber driver or you've spent years driving with excellent ratings under your belt, don't falter.
Don't lose hope if you receive some negative feedback from the start. Don't give up on your commitment, grit, and struggles to realize your vision and live the life of your dreams. Don't aim for a fair 4.6 stars. Always aim for the best star ratings: The 4.8 stars.
This is the best rating you can get as an Uber driver, and it's possible to get. Yes, you need to be at your best, present a charming personality on the field and treat your passengers as you'd like them to treat you. Because in the sharing economy, as the saying goes, "Treat others' Toyota Corollas or spare bedrooms as you would like yours to be treated."
Don't settle for less than 4.8 stars, if you're serious about your business. And that means putting yourself in your passenger's shoes, showing mutual respect and polite manners, and giving your best to stand out.
Anything less than these, can get you a plummeted, poor rating, and drag your thriving ridesharing business to a halt.
What causes poor ratings?
The first-step process for solving a problem is to know the root cause or causes of that problem.
You can't get a positive review if you have no idea how the Uber driver review system works, the basis for getting bad ones, and tips for getting the positive ones. Once you figured out the reason why a rider will drop a negative feedback on you, you can work to uproot it—heads on—from ever happening to you again.
That said, here are some of the common reasons why you're having poor reviews on your Uber driver profile.
Reckless driving. There is nothing more alarming to you and your passenger than driving recklessly, without regard for your lives. You could drive anyhow, you want if you're alone, but driving roughly with a rider will certainly do damage to your ratings. You can still try to convince yourself that, "I'm not driving recklessly…just speeding up to drop this passenger and catch another one." But that doesn't justify your action. Your passenger will feel uneasy as you cruise the highway with speed, and nothing will stop them from giving you a 1 star if you drop them off, safely, to their destination.
Not beginning and ending a trip on time. A good Uber trip should begin as soon as a rider enters into your car and ends when you take them to their destination. But what other drivers usually do is to either kick-start their trip before the rider gets into their car or try to end the trip before it's completed. That confuses things and might cause you a bad review.
Putting yourself first and your rider last. It should be the other way round: Put your rider first and yourself last. Once you try to make the whole journey about yourself, by following the route you want, for example, instead of asking the passenger the path they want you to follow, then you're putting your rider last, instead of first. And the rider will feel alienated and won't hesitate to drop a negative feedback for you.
Being rude to your passengers. Even when you take an unfriendly passenger, even when the passenger treats you with contempt, disrespect, and disregard, remember this: You're a business owner. The passenger is your customer. And customers are always right. So, better respect them, because if you don't, they'll paint your rating black with 1-star review, kicking you out of Uber business.
Making phone calls while you drive. It's wrong for you to make calls as you drive. First, doing so will engender your trip. Secondly, that will make the rider uncomfortable, as they are at risk of being hit. And, finally, they will put that on your rating, distorting your credibility as a driver.
Not talking to your passenger at all or talking too much. Some drivers don't moderate things. Not talking to your rider at all is a sign of arrogance, uncouth, and a bad behavior. Also, talking too much annoys people. If you talk too much to your passenger throughout the trip, they'll get bored with you. If you don't say anything to them at all, they'll label you as unfriendly, and will likely drop you a negative feedback. Try to balance things up.
Messy car. You'll get a very bad review when you operate with a messy car. Dirty interior, bad smelling, clumsy seats filled with your CDs, running shoes, and cigarette packs. All these things are uncalled for, especially for an Uber driver. Your millennial riders hate messy cars, and they rate them badly when they encounter them.
Indirectly asking for tips. It's funny that some drivers will act "cleverly" thinking that their sweet talks, smart strategies will let their rider tip them. Note that people are smarter than you think. The moment you utter a word, people can measure where you're going with it, and analyze its meaning. If you indirectly ask your rider to tip you, they won't, but they'll definitely drop you a bad review.
These are some of the major causes of a negative review. Now let's look at how to get positive ones for every successful trip you make.
7. How to get 5-star ratings for every trip
It's not about how smart you are.
It's not about the brand of your car.
It's not even about taking riders to their destination on time.
It's about the way you make those riders feel.
You want them to be happy. You want them to feel comfortable. You want them to reach their destination with a smile on their face.
But the most important part?
You want them to feel special, enjoy every second of the trip. And you do these by doing the following:
Your responsibility as an Uber driver is not just to pick up a passenger, get them to their destination, and get paid. Your biggest responsibility is to transport them safely to their destination. And you do this by driving safely. In other words, you drive within the speed limit, respect your passenger by adhering to the rules of the road. Drive with ease, slow and steady, until you get your passenger safely to where they are going. Show that you respect them by doing so. And in turn, they will return the favor by dropping you a nice 5-star review in your profile.
To remove any confusion, to ensure that fares are rightly calculated and that you get your 5-star ratings completely, you got to be punctual. Be there at your rider's disposal on time. Wait for them to enter your car – without annoying them with repeated honking. And ensure that you end the trip when the rider gets out of your car, steps into their destination. If you're committed enough to serve your rider, this will come to you easily. If not, then you won't last long in this industry.
Follow the safest and quickest route.
You don't just do what you want, as an Uber driver, and get great results. Instead, you do things that please your riders, so that they can return the favor. The first thing to do when you pick your passenger is to make sure you follow the route that they want. You may need to ask them, "What route should we follow." If they have no idea, your task is to figure out the safest route (one that's not jam-packed with traffic) and the quickest (one that will get you to your destination on time). Cultivate this attitude, and you'll get your 5-star ratings anytime you completed a trip.
How do you relate with your passengers in the course of your trip? Be friendly. As a rule, greet your passenger during your first contact, locking in eye contact, and wearing a big smile. Then open the car door to them, treating them like a VIP persons they are. As they entered the car, offer them bottle water or chewing gum, and phone chargers. These are all friendly gestures that will earn you a 5-star review. You also need to strike a conversation with your passenger, on a lighter note, as you hit the road. To determine whether to continue talking or to put a pause, notice your rider's response. Are they contributing to the conversation? When you get them to their destination, offer to carry their bags, and show them you care: Say bye to them with an open smile, and thank them. Do anything to show that you are happy with them as your passenger, and they will be happy to give you a 5-star rating.
Don't make phone calls during a trip.
It's not safe to make phone calls while you're driving. According to a 2003 study of US crash data "driver inattention is estimated to be a factor in 20 percent to 50 percent of all police-reported crashes," the study reports. And "Of distraction-related accidents, cell phone use may range from 1.5 to 5 percent of contributing factors. You're putting both you and your passenger at risk if you make phone calls while you drive. Serious Uber drivers don't make phone calls as they drive; they keep it professional, receiving a 5-star rating for every completed trip.
Work with a clean-smelling car.
Everyone wants to ride in a car that is not only clean but also smelling good. So one of the most important hacks for getting a 5-star rating is to always keep your car clean. Develop the habit of cleaning it always before you start your day. For example, early in the morning after your breakfast, clean your car thoroughly in and out. From the inside, use nice air fresheners to make it smell good. Just make sure to keep the scent mild and light, as too much scent may not be good for your passenger.
Don't just play any music; ask your passenger what they want.
To ensure that your passenger gets the best experience is to ask them about the taste of their music, and not just play anything you want. Remember, they are your customers, and you have to do things that please them. A simple question of, "what kind of music do you listen to?" will suffice. Even FM radio, don't just play anyone, ask them their favorite channel. It will make for a good experience to them, which will, in turn, reflect positively on your ratings.
When you go out to work, don't just do it for the money. Don't just transport your rider to their destination. Don't just hit the roads to get the job done.
Give your rider the best experience. Drive with so much passion and energy and care that your rider will feel delighted. You want them to feel like they are some kind of celebrity, being transported to some Oscar event.
Because that's what you have to do: let them feel special. Maybe not forever, maybe not even for a day, but for the 30 or 50 minutes drive, give them such a VIP treatment they feel like a different person. Greet them before they enter your car, offer to carry their bags, welcome them with a snack, chat with them to break the ice, and ask their taste in media before you hit play.
Do that, and they won't just enjoy the whole ride, talk to their peers about their experience with you.
They'll give you a 5-star rating. They'll share their experience with other riders. They'll ride with you again, so they can enjoy a similar experience. And then you can give them similar VIP treatment again and again and again, making them drop a positive review for you at the end of every trip.
From then on, you'll be their favorite. They'll long to go out with you again. And your business will keep improving, getting closer to realizing your vision: Becoming financially independent…doing what you love.