Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Better Lyft Rating System

Lyfts rating system is flawed at best, bordering on draconian. Constantly feeling threatened with being deactivated is a horrible feeling. By focusing on only one aspect of a driver’s performance, i.e., passenger satisfaction, you don’t get an accurate reflection of the driver’s ability to do their job. If the rating incorporated not just passenger feedback but also the acceptance rate and the number of rides given, it would provide a better overall sense of the driver. 

Drivers complain about their ratings all the time in the Lounges. It seems almost impossible to maintain a 5 rating. Lyft shouldn’t just let passengers run roughshod all over drivers reputations. Drivers who accept 100% of ride requests run the risk of bad pick up locations, potential troublesome passengers and a myriad of other difficulties associated with Lyfting that passengers can hold against them. Lyfting in a city like San Francisco is a tough gig and drivers shouldn't be penalized so harshly when things go wrong. And a 4 star rating shouldn’t reflect so negatively on the average. That’s just cruel.

A better Lyft rating system could easily be modeled after the feedback system on eBay or the one for Amazon’s Marketplace sellers with some simple modifications. It took eBay a while to figure out their rating system. Why not start where these feedback originators left off instead of from the bottom up?

An example of an effective rating system:

  • 5 stars: The option to leave comment telling the driver why they loved the service. 
  • 4 stars: Include a mandatory menu where the passenger has to click on what the problem was: navigation, friendliness, cleanliness or dangerous driving. 
  • 3 stars: The above with a mandatory comment explaining the problem. 
  • 2 stars: A notice to contact customer service. Something has obviously gone seriously wrong. 
  • 1 star: An automatic response from Lyft support. What can a driver possibly do to deserve 1 star that wouldn’t alert Lyft to something being seriously wrong?

Of course passengers who don’t want to leave a rating at all could bypass the rating system completely.

And instead of a number, use stars. Graphically, it looks better and seems less severe. 

Since drivers and passengers both rate each other, the system is inadequate for passengers as well. I’ve read comments in the Lounge from drivers gloating about rating passengers low for being drunk, smelling like weed, cussing or just talking about Uber. Am I just totally confused here, or is driving people for hire not a public service? When drivers start turning people away for not satisfying their prejudices, they are no longer performing a public service. They are just bigots with cars.

When I pick up people with less than 4.9 or 4.8 stars, I always wonder what they could have done, as a passenger, to warrant less than 5 stars. Sure, passengers can be obnoxious or even assholes at times. But Ive only rated passengers less than 5 stars on two or three occasions. Everybody has bad days. No need to make a big deal about it. 

I remember one guy I picked up who had a 4.7. He sat in the front seat but didnt say a word during the entire ride. When I made a comment about the weather or something he just grunted. Okay. Whatever. He seemed awkward and I assumed he was just a quiet person. Yet drivers rated him low because he didn't talk?

Then there are the drivers who post on the Lounge threatening to rate drivers who don’t have the mustache on their grill with 1 star if they ever get them as passengers.

Lyft’s rating system is just too primitive. Until there are safeguards in place to prevent abuse by drivers and passengers, it will continue to be a thorn in the side of the Lyft community.

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