Rating Systems

Lyft and Uber Rating Systems - plus 7 Tips For Being a 5-Star Rideshare Driver

The Lyft and Uber rating systems are used to ensure the highest level of customer service. In the recent past, both transportation network companies (TNC) were quite strict when implementing and enforcing their systems - drivers with low ratings were deactivated. Why? Because low driver ratings are typically caused by poor customer service. The low ratings identified under-performing and problematic drivers so they could be eliminated.

In recent months a legal argument has been made that Lyft and Uber’s rating systems infringe upon the rights of rideshare drivers who are independent contractors. The essence of the argument is that contract law prohibits the rideshare companies from telling their drivers how to do their jobs.

Deactivating drivers because of a low customer rating is being considered a form of telling them how to perform their work, or more specifically, how to NOT perform their work.

Because of this legal argument, rideshare industry analysts believe that the TNCs have stopped deactivating drivers over their customer rating score. The merits of the legal argument is an issue that we won't go into here. Instead, let’s assume that the rating system is still in effect or will be in effect again in the future. Better safe than sorry, right? And besides, learning how to provide excellent customer service is always a good thing.

The Rating System and Stress

Worrying about maintaining a certain driver rating level can be stressful. And it’s really frustrating to see your rating slip when you feel like you are doing a great job. Even when you do everything right, you could still get low ratings because the rating system is based on your passengers’ perception, not yours. A passenger having a bad day may give you a low rating regardless of what you do as a driver.

It is normal for driver ratings to fluctuate and the only time you need to worry about your rating is if you receive a warning from Uber or Lyft. For Uber, drivers with low ratings are given around 50 to 100 rides before being deactivated. And, as stated earlier, it is believed that the rideshare companies are not currently deactivating any drivers based on their rating.

Both new and experienced drivers should keep their driver rating scores as high as possible. Ideally, you want to shoot for a 4.7-star rating or higher. If you fall below this level you need to take a long, hard look at your job performance to solve the root cause of the problem.
Before outlining tips to improve your driver rating score, let’s take a look at how the rating system works

Uber’s Driving Rating System

Uber passengers are asked to rate their trips on a scale of 1 to 5 stars at the end of every ride.

Uber calculates a driver’s rating by averaging the 500 most recent rides completed. In the app, you can track your overall rating as well as the number of rated rides you have. Most passengers do not rate their driver so the number of rated rides is likely to be significantly lower than the count of completed rides.

Uber requires a minimum average driver rating of 4.6 (if the rating system is being applied). If your average rating drops below 4.6, you are at risk of being deactivated.

Lyft’s Driving Rating System

Just like Uber, Lyft uses a 5-star rating system to rate its drivers. Passengers are asked to rate their drivers from at the end of every trip. A driver's rating is the average from the last 100 rated rides given.

Lyft requires a minimum of 4.7 stars. If your average driver rating drops below 4.7, you are at risk of being deactivated by Lyft (if the rating system is being applied).

Passengers can only rate a driver after a completed ride. Missed requests and canceled rides do not affect a driver's ratings.

7 Tips to Improve Your Driver’s Rating

Whether Uber and Lyft are deactivating drivers based on customer ratings or not, it makes good business sense to focus on providing excellent customer service as a rideshare driver. This approach will translate into high customer ratings so deactivation will never be an issue.

Consider these factors that affect a passenger’s satisfaction with their ride:

Know the Route

It’s not enough to be familiar with the route, ideally, you will know it like the back of your hand.

Knowing the route by heart allows you to pick the fastest way to a destination. You can learn more about different routes and shortcuts during your free time – the same thing goes for peak hours and heavy traffic areas. You will also learn more about the best routes to take as you complete more rideshare trips.

Before accepting a rideshare request, make sure you know your way to the passenger pickup location and check for any traffic issues along the way. With GPS and online maps this is easy to do. Being aware of and being able to pick alternative routes and shortcuts is especially important during peak hours when traffic volume swells.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

Focus on getting your passenger to the intended destination and nothing else. Never fuss with your phone or take your eyes off the road when you are driving.

Get a mobile phone mount so you can check and use your phone hands-free. Something as simple as this could make a difference in your driver rating.

Do not do anything that makes your passenger feel unsafe because doing so is likely to result in a bad review. Your passengers may not call you out for driving while you are distracted but they may give you a bad rating after the trip ends.

The ridesharing companies have strict guidelines in place for safe driving. Serious safety violations could result in driver deactivation although it is unlikely that this would occur based on a customer’s rating. It is more likely that a deactivation due to safety issues would only occur based on the driver receiving a traffic violation from a law enforcement officer.

Obey the Traffic Rules

This is a no-brainer; you have to obey all the traffic rules to protect yourself, your passengers and your fellow motorists.

Ignoring traffic lights, rolling through stop signs, speeding up on curves, zipping past pedestrian traffic, all of these behaviors can get you a traffic violation and a bad customer review. Save yourself from rideshare trouble, fines, and a bad mark on your driver record by observing all traffic rules.

In addition to following all traffic laws you also need to drive smoothly and efficiently. Aggressive or erratic driving, hard acceleration, hard braking, tail-gating, excessive lane changing – all of these behaviors, while legal, may cause a passenger to feel unsafe and leave a bad review.

Keep Your Car Clean (and Fresh Smelling)

No one likes to ride in a dirty car – especially on a long trip. If your car needs a good scrub-down, NOW is a good time to do it.

In fact, clean your car interior as often as possible - especially the door handles, seats, floor, window & lock buttons, and windows. These spots get dirty in no time at all.

Don’t throw trash inside the car – especially trash from takeout food. After dropping a passenger off verify that they didn’t leave any trash (or belongings) behind.

Never smoke inside your car because the smell stays for a long, long time. Eliminate bad odors using a fresh-smelling car deodorizer or air freshener. Choose a mild scent that won’t irritate sensitive noses. For good measure, keep a can of air freshener on hand to get rid of funky smells before a passenger enters the car.

Keeping your car clean and fresh smelling will help ensure your passengers have a satisfactory ride. You can do the regular cleaning yourself and perhaps have a professional cleaning every month or so to keep the interior spick and span.

Car Maintenance and Repairs

Uber and Lyft conduct regular car inspections to ensure that all vehicles are in tip-top shape.

Rideshare driving will take its toll on your vehicle so you have to stay on top of the maintenance and repair schedule. Performing the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance will help you pass the rideshare company’s inspection and will ensure that you can provide a safe and secure ride for your passengers.

As part of your daily routine, it is suggested that you check your car’s tire pressure, oils, brake fluid, gas, and water levels. When it is time for scheduled maintenance, take your car to a trusted mechanic and have the work done. Replace parts as needed: broken mirrors, worn tires, broken signal lights, worn brake pads, and worn-out shocks or springs – these are all safety issues that need to be addressed immediately.

Cosmetic issues can be left for later but be aware that they can affect a passenger’s perception of their ride. If you are driving a dented vehicle that needs bodywork and paint, your Lyft and Uber ratings may be low even if you are a fantastic driver with great people skills.

Invest in a High-Quality Mobile Device

Apart from a well-maintained car, your mobile device is key to a smooth, problem-free ride. If you can, invest in a high-quality smartphone.

As a rideshare driver your phone is your business – without a phone, you don’t have a business.

You will use your smartphone to interact with the Uber and Lyft apps and you will probably use a GPS-enabled map application (like Google Maps) to navigate around town.

Consider getting a phone with a large display. The directions given by a map application are easier to follow on a large screen. When the phone is docked in its mobile mount it is important that you can see it easily.

Don’t Take Your Problems with You

Don’t take your frustrations out on your passengers or assume that they are interested in hearing your tales of woe.

Having challenges is part of the human condition so understand that your passengers have their own problems they are dealing with. Although they may be polite and listen to your frustrations, they would probably prefer to be having pleasant chit-chat or riding in silence while they think about their own challenges.

The safest strategy for dealing with passengers is to only speak when spoken to and to never say anything negative about anything. Obviously, that means avoiding the three no-no topics of politics, sex, and religion.

Keep your interactions with your passengers positive and upbeat and they will be more likely to give you a 5-star review (and tips).

Wrap Up

Every driver should aim for a 5-star Lyft or Uber rating, regardless of how the TNCs use the score.

Maximizing your income as a rideshare driver requires keeping your customers - your passengers - happy. Happy customers are more likely to tip and tips can add more than 10% to your driving income.

Whether it is Uber or Lyft, the star-rating system provides feedback from your passengers to you. If you find your rating score dropping take a close look at how you are operating your rideshare driving business and make adjustments where needed.

Implement these 7 tips to ensure consistent 5-star ratings from your passengers:

• Know your way around town
• Watch the road, not your passengers
• Don’t break traffic laws
• Keep your vehicle clean
• Keep your vehicle in tip-top shape
• Get a good smartphone
• Be the rainbow, not the rainclo

You now have an idea of how Lyft and Uber's rating system works. Discover two key factors for rideshare success: selecting an appropriate vehicle and having adequate insurance coverage.