6 strategies to maintain a top rating when working as a ride-hailing driver
All ride-hailing services, Uber, Lyft, etc.. have a two-way rating system that rates the driver and the riders on a 5-star scale. The system is made to ensure you – the driver– and passengers are accountable for your behavior. But, the consequences of having a bad rating as a driver, are much worse than that of passengers. Most services have a rating cut-off, where drivers are either suspended or fired once they reach a certain rating on the 5-star scale. For Uber and Lyft, this cut-off for drivers is anything lower than 4.6 stars. Once you- the driver– reaches 4.6 stars, they receive a message from Uber or Lyft, informing them that they are under review probation and if the drop continues, will inevitably lose their gig.
Most of the time, it is hard to tell why the rating is dropping. You could think you’re doing everything perfectly, from offering your passengers candy and water to asking about their day. The problem however, might not be with your attitude but with a couple of other things.
Here’s why you might be getting a bad rating and how to fix it:
1. The route you’re taking
- If you decide to go in a different direction than what’s displayed in the app, the passenger starts freaking out. Even if you’re just finding a short-cut or avoiding traffic, if you don’t inform the passenger first of the changes, they will be irritated. Make sure you have previously informed the passenger of any changes you make in the route before actually taking them, that way they won’t think you’re trying to get more money out of them.
- Passengers also get annoyed when you don’t follow their preferred route. Some passengers will ask you to go in a different direction than the GPS. It may be longer or have more traffic, the important thing here is not to argue with them and just follow what they want.
2. The audio you play in the car
Some passengers give low ratings to their drivers because of the music they choose to play during the ride. You might like a certain type of music that passengers may take offense to. If you enjoy having some music on during trips, try to keep it general and at an appropriate volume. Tuning into popular radio stations or having on pop songs) is the best way to ensure your passenger’s comfort.
3. Opening up sensitive conversation topics
Any religious or political conversations with your passengers is a big NO! You might be interested in a passenger’s background or world views, but anything related to religion and politics is always sensitive and may cause the passenger to be offended. Try to refrain from asking about their religious beliefs or political views. If they seem interested in talking, keep the conversations short and sweet.
4. Talking on the phone or texting
Of course, you’d be getting phone calls or text messages while driving. The important thing to do here is not to touch your phone at all. Apart from the fact that it’s the law, passengers feel unsafe when you lose concentration by answering a call or looking at their text messages. Even if you’re at a traffic light or stuck in traffic, don’t pick up your phone while you’re on a trip. It will cost you your rating.
5. Late pick-ups
A big pet-peeve for passengers is their driver taking a longer time than expected for pick up and constantly calling them to figure out where they are. If you’re new to town or simply geographically uncoordinated, make sure you’re concentrating with your GPS and ready to go when you open up the app. Yes, sometimes it’s out of your hands; there’s a traffic jam or you took a wrong turn, but your passengers don’t know that. If that’s the case, make sure you tell them once you pick them up. They will appreciate your communication instead of being annoyed with your tardiness.
6. You’re driving…
Yes, you’re driving. A lot of us believe we’re excellent drivers but, that can’t be further away from the truth. You may be an aggressive driver, a slow one, a fast one, or have terrible breaking skills. Anyone of these will make a passenger feel unsafe or annoyed during the trip and it will end up lowering your rating. Ask your friends and family what they think about your driving and if there is anything you need to change. It may be as simple as your fast turns or your bumpy breaking, better to know, and try to change that than have it reflect on your ratings.
Bad star ratings aren’t always because of something you did. Sometimes it’s more about the passengers. They’re drunk, pressed the wrong button, or gave you a 4/5 star rating because that’s just what they do. However, by avoiding the mistakes listed above and following the trip tricks you fix what is under your control and lower your chances of getting a bad review.