“In some ways, Lyft is the best job I’ve ever had,” says one Lyft driver. “I can meet 20 or 30 people in an eight-hour shift and have meaningful conversations with them. I’ve had homeless people in my car, and I’ve had billionaires in my car, and they all share their stories, great stories! I love this job!”
This quote comes from a veteran Lyft driver, and guess what? He has a five-star rating, and it seldom drops from that top spot. He loves his job and shares his enthusiasm with every passenger he meets.
The other strategy this driver uses, and it’s the same with all five-star drivers, is delivering top-drawer service. It’s not difficult, either. Given the number of Lyft drivers that consistently rank at 4.95 stars and above, it’s obvious that many drivers have discovered the secret. It all boils down to remembering a few things. In this article we’ll cover
- understanding the Lyft driver rating system
- tips on how to improve Lyft driver ratings
- disputing a rating
- how Gridwise can help you improve your rating
Understanding the Lyft driver rating system
As Gridwise reported in a recent blog post, Lyft Ratings–How Do You Rate?, Lyft and Uber use a five-star rating to track driver performance. After a Lyft ride, the passenger receives an email asking them to rate their Lyft driver on a scale of one to five stars (five being the highest), in four main areas:
- the quality of your driving
- the cleanliness of your car
- whether you were pleasant and friendly
- if you were professional
We go into more detail in our blog that covers how Lyft ratings work. Check it out if you need more detail!
How are ratings calculated for the Lyft driver rating system?
Lyft averages the star ratings you receive in the individual categories to give you an overall rating for that ride. The app then averages these overall ratings from your last 100 rides to give you a driver rating. You can see this rating on the Lyft app.
You should also know that if a passenger does not leave a rating, Lyft translates that into an automatic five-star rating.
How to check your driver rating
Your Lyft driver rating is always available on the Lyft driver app. Accessing it is easy.
- Open your app (you can be online or offline when you do this).
- Select the menu icon, those stacked three horizontal lines in the top left-hand corner.
- The app takes you to your profile page. At the top, right under your photo, you’ll see your total career rides, your Lyft driver rating, and how long you have been driving. The passenger sees a similar rating for you on their app when you accept their ride.
Does your Lyft driver rating make a difference?
Most assuredly, it does. Lyft frequently offers driver bonuses and incentive programs, and participating often requires a rating of 4.9 or above. Don’t forget that passengers can also see your Lyft driver rating. A low rating might prompt them to cancel. It’s to your benefit to keep your ratings high.
Lyft sees ratings as a reflection of driver performance. If your rating drops to the 4.6 range, you can expect communication from Lyft. The company has the right to deactivate drivers from the app for low ratings. It’s in their best interest to also protect their customers from low quality drivers, so this is understandable. And by helping protect their customers and their reputation, they protect driver income by ensuring demand.
Tips on how to improve Lyft driver ratings
One of the downsides of the Lyft driver rating system is that one or two bad days or nights transporting passengers can affect your rating. Even the most courteous and careful driver, one who does all the right things, can get those customers that can’t be pleased or want to share their misery by giving you a bad rating. “Every driver has had the moment when they check their app and say aloud, My Lyft driver rating is bad!
Warning: You’re not going to change your ratings overnight, but if you incorporate the following suggestions and work hard, you will see your Lyft driver rating gradually track upward. Your target is anything higher than a 4.90. This range may seem high, but the majority of Lyft drivers are at 4.95 or above. It is a standard that every driver is held to.
- Drive as much as you can
We’ve already covered this. The Lyft driver rating system computes your average based on your last 100 rides. As rides pass the 100 mark in your ride history, they fall off (for rating purposes), and the app recomputes your rating. The more rides you give, the quicker you can get a bad rating off your history and raise your Lyft driver rating.
- Realize you’re an actor
You’re on set whenever you have a passenger in the car, and the camera never blinks. Everything you say and do dictates what kind of star rating you receive. You need to be in character as the best Lyft driver, and you need to be in that role from the moment they get in to the moment they get out.
- Remember, first impressions matter
Greet the passenger warmly, as if they are the only thing that matters. If they have suitcases, offer to help with them. Ask if they’re okay with music. Do they have a preference, a radio station they might want to listen to?
- Confirm the destination
The Lyft passenger app retains the most frequently visited locations of individual passengers. Occasionally a passenger will touch the wrong address when ordering a new ride. The app tells you to take them to the airport, but they are actually going to a job interview. This is a rare problem, but it does happen, especially in the evening when people have been drinking, and their coordination is off. Be sure to confirm your passenger’s destination.
- Keep your car clean
Remember #3, first impressions matter. Keep your car gleaming. Drive-through car washes, where you never get out of your car, are popular and inexpensive. Many will sell you a month-long pass for unlimited washes. Wash your car before beginning your shift. Make sure to make a quick run-through with the vacuum as well. Too many rideshare drivers are picking up passengers with last night’s dinner crumbs in the cup holder and an empty water bottle rolling around on the floorboard.
- Dress for success
We’re not saying you have to wear a button-down and tie (although there are some drivers that do), but make sure you’re wearing something clean.
- Be well supplied with amenities
The most frequent passenger request is a cell phone charging cord. Most Androids use USB-C chargers. iPhones use the proprietary iPhone charger. Have them plugged into a power source that is long enough to reach the back seat (if your car doesn’t have enough ports to accommodate the extra cables, consider a multi-port adapter available on Amazon).
Keep a supply of gum and candy, and offer passengers water (don’t forget to check your car after every ride and pick up discarded wrappers and empty plastic bottles). Toothpicks are a rare request, but they can make you a hero. The type that are individually wrapped in cellophane are the best.
- Be a great conversationalist
Many passengers have just spent the day alone in their cubicle without much interaction, or they just got off a plane where it was too noisy to hear. They crave conversation, and you can give it to them. Keep the conversation light, though. Another piece of good advice is to avoid talking about sex and politics.
- Be a good listener
Any man who has been a husband for any length of time can tell you that when the wife comes home from work or her sister’s house complaining about some impossible situation, the last thing she wants is for someone to preach solutions. She wants someone to listen and agree with her. Many passengers are the same way. They want someone to listen to them.
It’s a little tricky sometimes to determine whether you need to talk or just listen, but if you know there is a difference, you can be more attuned to it. Some passengers want to talk; others want you to listen.
- Learn how to read passengers
Develop a feel for what a passenger wants. Some passengers have material to review, or they’re listening to a podcast and they would rather not talk. They might be on a phone call or have someone with them that they need to discuss business with. Be sensitive to this and respond appropriately.
- Have great music playlists
This is an area where you can score real points with customers, and it’s not all about rock ‘n’ roll. A good playlist built around jazz, big band, and swing is always a hit. Even younger kids enjoy Sinatra and the duets of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. One Los Angeles driver picked up a carload of music fans on their way to a concert by a well-known Latin band. He pulled their songs up on the music app on his phone and played them all the way to the concert venue. The passengers were awestruck by this and left him a big tip.
- Pay attention to navigation
Watch the app for directions. Understandably, passengers get distressed when you miss an offramp or overshoot a turn.
- Make sure women passengers get to the door at night
If you pick up a solo woman passenger at night, watch to make sure she gets in the door safely when you drop her off. It’s always a good idea to tell her what you’re doing so that she doesn’t think you’re being weird. This tactic is also great for a tip. Women really appreciate it.
- Pay attention to passenger ratings
When a ride request pops up on your app, pay attention to the passenger rating given by other drivers. A low passenger rating indicates someone who has a problematic history with rideshare drivers. They might be belligerent, overly demanding, have a bad attitude, or be a troublesome drunk. Think twice before picking them up. Your acceptance rate can take the hit.
- Anticipate passengers that might complain
If you get a passenger that’s a problem and you think they might give you an undeservedly bad rating, be proactive and send a message to Lyft on the app, telling them your side of the story. Read on for more information on how to dispute a rating.
- Avoid road rage
Driving can often be frustrating, especially in congested downtown areas, but nothing freaks out a passenger more than a driver in the throes of road rage. Focus on controlling your emotions. Remember, your job is to deliver the passenger safely and happily to their destination.
- Maintain an in-car camera
There are passengers that make unreasonable demands or try to take advantage of you and then threaten bad ratings when you don’t give them what they want. Passengers will be less likely to make false allegations if they know there is a record of the ride. Make sure to check with your state or other jurisdiction about the legalities of an in-car camera.
- Learn the dominant second language in your market
You don’t need to be fluent in the language, but the ability to confirm a destination and exchange courtesies in a passenger’s native language gets noticed. People who are uncomfortable speaking English are genuinely touched when they see you went to the trouble to learn the basics of their language. Apps such as Babbel are inexpensive and the lessons are short, making them ideal for that downtime between rides.
How do you dispute a bad Lyft driver rating?
Ratings are anonymous, but if you maintain a high rating and you have a bad passenger experience, it’s not hard to link a bad rating to the source. Lyft prefers that you work through the app to resolve ratings issues. If you’re a five-star driver and you have a bad experience, there is a chance they will listen to you. It helps your case if you can send Lyft a video from your in-car camera. If, however, you consistently get less than stellar ratings, don’t be surprised if they rule against you.
Gridwise can help maintain your Lyft driver rating
Gridwise is dedicated to helping gig drivers in all areas of their job, including maintaining high marks in the Lyft driver rating system. The Gridwise app provides information on When to Drive and Where to Drive, directing drivers to the best earning opportunities.
The Gridwise app also has information on peak times for arrivals and departures at the airports and upcoming events, including concerts and sporting events.
With Gridwise’s demand data and free mileage and earning trackers, you’ll only need one app to help you drive.
We help you stress less so you can spend more energy offering the best customer service to your passengers, and in turn maintain a great Lyft driver rating.
Following the suggestions outlined in this article will help you deliver the best service to the passenger so that never again will you catch yourself saying, “My Lyft driver rating is bad.”
Check out the Gridwise website today for this and many other features!
And have fun out there.