Uber Driver 5 Stars Ratings Is A Guilt Trap

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Ratings are a metric used by many to show their level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction in a service. In Uber’s case, it is a direct rating of a person and not some ambiguous service such as rating the overall service provided by Amazon or Expedia. When you rate a hotel or a product you rate an entire company when you rate Uber you rate our driver.

So, when Uber originally introduced this 5-star rating process, many did not fully understand it and did not comprehend its effect. Uber also did not contribute to their customer’s confusion and ignorance, and only after a few years of driver’s complaints did they start to catch on that customers did not understand the Uber rating platform.

Uber Ratings

Uber has a 1 to 5-star rating option. However it will fire a driver that goes under 4.6 stars. This means that drivers must earn over 4.5 stars on a constant basis. Otherwise their weighted value of ratings from 4.4 stars and downwards will lead them to deactivation.

The ratings are updated every 1,000 rides, and originally riders would rate 1 to 4 stars, where 4 stars were considered by many to be a great rating, and anything under 4 stars to be standard service to very bad. After all, you usually think that a 4-star rating is what most drivers should get in a normal rating setting. 5-stars are reserved for the best.

Uber does not provide a fractional based rating, where you can give 4.4 or 4.75, its either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars and that’s it.

The Uber Update

After the drivers were being deactivated left, right and center from ratings of 1 star which should have been 4.5, unless the driver was really bad, which in 99.9% of the cases, they are not. Uber changed its marketing approach and started to teach passengers of the value of ratings and how they impact a driver’s livelihood.

Do you feel guilty?

Imagine the impact that is giving a 1-star rating when you could have given 4, and the fact that you might have contributed to a driver’s loss of income. Rather than offering constructive criticism with a 4-star rating, you ended up killing the driver with a 1-star rating. Which is like saying that the death penalty is educational, the question is to whom?  Once riders realized that they were inadvertently and ignorantly destroying people’s lives, they started to change the way they rate. In fact, a lot of riders now rate 5 stars even when they don’t like the ride, only because their feelings of guilt overcome their discomfort of the service.

The Rating Reasons

Ratings come with a reason, which means that once you rate under 5 stars, you must give a reason, either from a set of pre-defined reasons or free text. This is where the constructive criticism comes into play and allows drivers the chance to change whatever is causing their customers to be concerned.

Reputation Inflation

A recently published article title“Reputation Inflation (2018)” provided a study of the general rating feature, stating that in 2007 worker ratings averaged out at 3.74, while in 2016 the average rating grew to 4.85.

The paper starts out by stating “The problem is that ratings are prone to inflation, with raters feeling pressure to leave “above average” ratings, which in turn pushes the average higher. This pressure stems from raters’ desire not to harm the rated seller. As the potential to harm is what makes rating effective, reputation systems, as currently designed, sow the seeds of their own irrelevance.”

They then back this statement with their second study, the first came out in 2015 also titled “Reputation Inflation (2015)” In essence what they found is that all rating systems deteriorate and produce false results over time due to raters fear of either “backfire” or of a detrimental impact on the rated person. So, unless your driver was a serial rapist racist murderer, the chances are that you will not give them a 1 star rating or be alive to give such a rating.

Bottom Line

You still need to give your driver 5-stars, at worst 4, and not bear the guilt of contributing to his/her demise. The best solution is to be direct and tell the driver what you found lacking and tell him/her you will rate them 5 stars, but they need to “change” some part of their service. If the driver is an idiot and argues or even shouts at you for being critical after the ride, then give him/her 4 stars for being an idiot. Drivers have to be patient, open to criticism and polite, just as riders must be the same, after all, it is a private car, and the driver is trying to earn an income using his/her private property for your service.
Just remember, there are more idiot passengers than idiot drivers, and the driver has to deal with those idiots every day.

Author’s Bio

Aman Bhangoo is the co-founder of Ridesharing Forum who helps rideshare drivers and riders to find answers to their most pressing questions. With over 3.5 years of experience, Aman brings a vast amount of knowledge, style, and skills to help fellow drivers. He has given over 18,000 rides with Uber and more than 6,800 rides with Lyft.

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