Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why are ridesharing companies so secretive of customer ratings?

Ridesharing drivers transport thousands of passengers per day to many destinations. Half of ridesharing passengers rate their drivers, while a few actually take the time to submit a comment. Drivers realize that impressed clients and disappointed riders will leave comments.

There is no fine line between these rider types; passengers leave feedback when they are extremely satisfied and/or dissatisfied with their service. Why do ridesharing companies conceal this feedback and exact star ratings?

Ridesharing services keep their customer data concealed in a tightly sealed vault. Drivers are unable to view their real star ratings in real-time. They won't see a breakdown of stars for a particular day. Ridesharing platforms claim that withholding ratings and feedback protects their customer's privacy. 

Nonetheless, drivers have no idea who wrote about them, who rated them. Uber, Lyft and SideCar are extremely competitive in the Bay Area region of California, most notably San Francisco. Whereas Uber is dominant in black car services and SUVs, their hold on ridesharing services with the low-cost and convenient UberX service is going up against Lyft. When it comes to customer ratings and feedback, Lyft is top-secret and tight-lipped on this data. 

At Lyft, this ridesharing company allow passengers to submit a "1" star rating without following-up with their drivers. This practice is unethical because a driver can eventually get deactivated for this "1" star rating. Lyft support inform their drivers not to worry about star ratings, just drive and do what you are doing best - nothing to worry about.

After this discussion, a driver gets deactivated for a 4.79 overall rating. Random customer comments are shared on weekly reports, but drivers have no idea the breakdown of this data. Only a few comments are shared, not all. Lyft locks away this customer data. They don't share any ratings, only the sum of them on daily and weekly reports. It is evident Lyft is hiding this data. In our opinion, they don't want their drivers to know anything and can deactivate them based on this feedback.

Go ahead and purchase that nice car and just have fun. Watch out though, we may deactivate your driver account without any notice. We have jobs at Lyft, you won't anymore. Lyft is mismanaging this star rating system and their community flagging filter. It has cost many good drivers their driving privileges. We don't identify Lyft driving as a job because drivers have no rights. Lyft makes it know they don't want their drivers to be known as employees. It probably has something to do with benefits and employee rights. Whatever the case, keeping the drivers in the dark won't gain their trust.

Lyft treats their star rating system like a gold mine. They will never share this data. Unfortunately, lower rated drivers are tossed into quicksand once their past 100 trips are rated less than 4.80. Of course, a few Community Review flags arrived, one on the first weekend after first 24 rides and another a month later. Once a driver increases their ratings, but misses the cut with a 4.77 after 100 rated trips, they are still on the chopping block.   

Lyft drivers may be the most hospitable. Nevertheless, Lyft primarily keeps their focus on their star ratings. The Performance Review Department uses this data to deactivate accounts. A driver doesn't have to create any conflict with riders, all they need to do is score less than 4.80 accompanied with all four flags and two Community Review flags activated through a warning mechanism.

Once a driver reaches this point, they are deactivated and forgotten - the fallen Lyfter. Low-rated driver accounts are flagged using a trigger system, rather than a human actually reviewing this information. Lyft relies on computer technology and system filters to terminate their drivers. Their meaningless emails with 100 things to do are pointless and lack merit. 

SideCar is as transparent as ridesharing gets. Their percentage of awesome rides won't frustrate drivers. It is not a critical as a star rating system when an actual score determines your fate as a driver. SideCar drivers don't drive around thinking that awesome rides need improvement or their time at this ridesharing company is doomed. Their main focus is to reach their riders and provide quality service. No pressure, no worries.

Fortunately, SideCar allows their drivers to score 5% or less on bad rides There are a small percentage of riders who are impossible to please. SideCar won't release passenger ratings and feedback to drivers. Drivers won't know the exact person who left them a 1 or 3 star. Eventually, a "1" star rating may require the support team to follow-up on this low rating.  

It is a driver's livelihood to remain on the road. Uber is fair with their drivers to work with the lower rated group. They understand that drunk clients may rate low and won't hold this rating up to a microscope. An Uber driver posted an e-mail of their driver coaching on a transportation website. In this email, Uber informs the driver of their low ratings and a mandatory probationary period to lift these ratings up. They give their drivers a chance, a time limit to improve their overall scores. It is a transparent process, one that Lyft should consider instead of axing down their 4.79 and below drivers. 

Why do ride app companies conceal customer feedback? We think this privacy method is to protect clients/passengers/riders from drivers. If a driver knows what a passenger scored them, they may confront this individual the next time around. This client may feel uncomfortable explaining the reasoning behind their rating and feedback. One Uber client shared that her driver continued to challenge her on a past cancellation. This Uber driver wouldn't let this past cancellation go. 

For the most part, it is very rare a driver will see the same passenger again. A few ridesharing drivers shared that they never drive the same rider twice. It is like seeing a random person in a large city. There is a high probability you won't see this person again, unless fate is destined to take its course. Ridesharing drivers give thousands of rides per year. Most likely, they won't see this same client ever again. Nonetheless, there has been a few moments when the same client has taken a repeat trip.  

Sharing random stars for the day without naming names is an efficient process. Drivers can figure out how to approach their clients and make proper adjustments. Talking too much? Not personable enough? Forgot to properly greet the rider? No fist-bumping? Slow driving? Bad directions? Going down one-way roads? Rushing passengers? Messy, smelly car? Powering over speed bumps?Whatever it is, a driver wants to know how their clients rated them. 

Showing drivers daily feedback and ratings can help them to improve. Drivers worry because they know what can happen if their star ratings and unsupported feedback arrives. There are severe repercussions for low ratings, such as immediate deactivation and/or driver coaching. It is ethical to safeguard client ratings and feedback. If this process was integrated on Yelp's platform, this platform would lose its luster. People want to place a face with this feedback and those star ratings.

Is this feedback and star rating reliable? Are other ridesharing users and/or taxi drivers hurting this driver? Did passengers have too much time to think about their rating? Mad about surge pricing and want to rate this driver low? Dissatisfied with another driver and assume this rating will reach them? 

The rating system is flawed. Good drivers are hit with bad scores. Concealing this data from drivers will increase their fear of a potential deactivation. Drivers fear deactivation. This star rating system can determine whether drivers stay or leave.

Lyft is infamous for deactivating good drivers. Uber gives their drivers flexibility to keep driving. Sidecar manages a unique rating system to measure performance based on a three tier structure - awesome, good and bad rides. Most deactivation issues concerning the rating system come from former Lyft drivers.  

Lyft relies on this star rating system to make deactivation decisions. If Lyft could, they would deactivate you on your birthday. Their mission is to keep focus on that Pink mustache and on community. It is sense of community and image. That's it!

Lyft is like a cult. Nothing goes wrong at Lyft. Well folks, Lyft is imperfect. They have flaws. Their former drivers got deactivated and dumped off a bridge. If you score 4.80 and above, you are golden. Score less than 4.80 and you are on the hit list. Lyft warnings are real. They will use this concealed data to eliminate you. Your lower rate represents a threat to their expansion, their global dominance. 

Everything is going well until a driver receive low ratings. All of a sudden, a driver gets deactivated, but never find out who is responsible for this decision. Some drivers know the exact rider who got them deactivated. At Lyft, there is no explaining that goes on between the Performance Review Department and their drivers. A low star rating and negative feedback is all it takes to get the boot. See you, don't want to be you is quietly lipped from Lyft. Whatever the passenger says goes.

At least Lyft leaves their drivers with that Pink mustache to keep them warm on the streets. If drivers bank on Lyft, they will lose. They may even become homeless. It's all good because the ghost ratings and comments are locked away for no driver to see. Wouldn't it be cool to somehow see what another passenger said about you? Know if they actually gave you the 5 star rating they mentioned after the trip ended? The truth is that they don't always keep their word. They may not rate you. They may rate you less after another ride company gave them bad service. They have 24-hours to rate driver.

We believe SideCar gives them riders 5 minutes to rate. If this rating is not submitted, then riders lose out to rate. On Lyft and Uber, clients and passengers have 24 hours to rate. 

Ridesharing companies are strange with concealing passenger ratings and feedback. That anonymous mentality divides the driving community, throwing trust out the door. The star rating system allows ridesharing drivers to retain their driving privileges. Once a driver's score dips below minimum requirements, this driver gig is done. They may get a second chance at Uber, but Lyft is final with their "we'll cut your achilles tendon and make you crawl away" treatment. 

Transparency is all drivers want. Why give a passenger a "5" star and receive a "1" star in return? What if this driver doesn't want to influence this passenger's overall rating? Many passengers deserve low star ratings; however, drivers are reluctant to rate them less. Maybe this star rating system is useful because the scores all even out. With bad rides, come god rides.

Lyft sets too high of a threshold with rating the past 100 trips. At any time, good drivers have may transport poor riders that want to ruin a life and this may cost them to lose their driving privileges. Measuring the past 500 rides is better than weighing the previous 100 trips. Too bad Lyft doesn't get it. They really don't understand the lives they adversely impact. 

Star rating paradigm: Protecting the long-term customer (rider) and getting rid of a short-term problem (driver).