One of the biggest issues in rideshare driving are the ratings. These pesky stars that work both ways are used for passengers to rate drivers and drivers to rate passengers. We decided to make a quick review of the rating system and some of the issues that arise from it.
Uber and Lyft Update Ratings
First of all, Uber updates ratings once every 500 rides, whereas Lyft updates their ratings once every 100 rides. Both have their merits and demerits, which we will also address here.
Ratings are determined by awarding between 1 to 5 stars. These stars are perceptional ratings based on how the passenger feels the ride was. If a passenger rate below 5 stars he is asked to give a short reason why. Passengers rate according to expectation, so it's truly variable, where each rider's perception of safe driving, good driver and car expectations are totally different. The driver also rates a passenger on how they acted during the trip and this will determine whether a passenger is viewed by multiple drivers as being good for driving and tipping.
Ratings are averaged out once every 500 rides (Uber), and this means that a drivers rating is quite static, the driver can also anticipate what their rating will look like during the drives adding up to the 500. If the comments are constructive, then the driver can decide to upgrade and improve where passengers found the service to be lacking. Passengers tend to ignore their ratings until they find themselves stranded without a ride, and wondering why their 4.2 stars are not enough.
Ratings are given anonymously, which is obvious. No one wants to know that they gave or received a 1-star rating, especially if it comes with documentation explaining why.
One of the main issues that Uber and Lyft had was the problem of passenger understanding of the rating system. Most passengers think that 4 stars are great, this conclusion was reached when many drivers asked their passengers if they thought a 4-star rating was good and 95% of them said yes. This reply as based on how passengers rate restaurants, flights, and hotels. Maybe it is a good rating for other sectors, but for Uber 4 stars is crap and anyone with a 4-star rating is close to de-activation. Maybe the rating system should be restructured, but until it is we are stuck with it, and a rating under 4.6 is considered bad. Uber has recently started an educations campaign aimed at explaining the rating system to passengers.
I prefer that the rating system change and passengers be allowed to categorize the following in a rating: Car cleanliness, Car comfort, Drivers Sociability, Ride Safety and Ride Punctuality. These five categories make up the basic perceptions of a ride, and if passengers would be given a chance to rate each one with a one to five-star rating drivers would be able to get a better insight into what needs to improve and change. It would also notify Uber what the main issues are, and de-activation would not be general rating based but category rating based. For instance, imagine a great ride, all is good, but car cleanliness is 3, that can be changed. If, however, all is great, but the driver's sociability is 2, or if the ride safety is 3, then you have a problem. It's easier to upgrade a car, change its appearance and maintain it, but it is hard to change the way a person drives (not impossible), but it is harder to change a person attitude.
5-star rating list
Until the rating system changes, here is a list of what a driver must do to maintain their 5-star rating:
- Punctuality; be on time, even if you have to wait, its better you wait then the passenger.
- Good navigation; make sure you rely on GPS as well as YOU, know the route, know the map and if you have a passenger that thinks he knows too, listen but you make the decision.
- Safe driving is a must, don't speed, always make sure you accelerate smoothly and don't drive too fast, so you don't need to break all the time.
- Sociability is a must, always be courteous and polite. Adapt your mood to theirs, which means if the passenger is somber, be serious, if the passenger is happy, be happy. Just make sure you match your mood signs to what the passenger needs.
- Comfort is a must, make sure the car is clean and fresh, has enough gadgets and amenities and that the passenger gets out without a broken back or stiff legs.
When you rate a passenger, always add feedback, explain why you rated, while most passenger won't bothers reading, some do, and if you offer good complements and criticism, you might actually hit a nerve. Uber reviews the ratings and reads all the feedback, so it is important to show Uber that you are more than just a driver, that you actually care about the ride and the experience that another driver will have with the passenger. It also means that Uber can deal with key issues that some passengers might have, such as unruly teens demanding loud music or drunk passengers puking all over the upholstery.
Uber does actually want their drivers to have a good experience driving; they definitely want their passengers to enjoy riding with Uber. The driver is the face of the company, at the end of the day, passengers might read all about Uber's executive antics, but they feel Uber in the seat of their pants, in a ride, in a car with a driver, and that is how the real perception of service is met.