Lyft vs Crazy Taxi episode 3 – How to get 5 Stars
I like to look at driving for Lyft as playing Crazy Taxi in real life. I get grade on my trips, I got to keep the customers happy and I listen to awesome music. Pretty similar, right? Lyft adds the Power Driver Bonus to make it feel a little more like a video game. It’s like grinding in an RPG to level up and every week it resets. The missions always change like an open-world sandbox game and the best part is there is real world money at the end of the game. When you’re grinding it out on the road trying to get those power driver bonuses, keep in mind that the real world risks are not just safety, but also with your customer service. In Crazy Taxi it’s all about speed, if you hit your customer as you pick them up they yell at you and Gus says “You lived. Where to?” IRL, that obviously wouldn’t fly and part of the Lyft game is the 5 star rating, drop below 4 and you can’t play anymore. So here is I’ve kept my 5 star rating.
Keep in mind, most “5 star” ratings are rounded from 4.95 and above up to 5 so rarely will a driver have a literal 5.0 rating, even I’ve only had that honor a few times and the average driver clocks in a around 4.8. To clarify, if you’re rating, sampled from 100 fares, is 4.96, it’ll show up to the customer as 5. If your rating is 4.94, it’ll show up to them as 4.9. That rounding can be your friend but don’t get comfy, always shoot for 5.0!
DISCLAIMER: DON’T DO ANYTHING THAT VIOLATES YOUR LYFT TERMS OF SERVICE OR STATE/LOCAL OR FEDERAL LAWS. DO NOT FOLLOW ANY OPINION OF MINE OR ANYONE ELSE’S WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP COMMERCIAL INSURANCE PROVIDER ON YOUR LIABILITY OR YOUR PERSONAL COVERAGE. I’M JUST A DRIVER AND AM NOT A LEGAL PROFESSIONAL, TAKE MY ADVICE AS OPINION AND MY TESTIMONIAL EXPERIENCE AS ANECDOTAL. THANK YOU.
Here’s how I do it:
- Clean Car
- Get out and help customers put luggage in and out of trunk
- Have some simple amenities
- Tell the customer about the amenities actively and passively
- listen to fun, non-confrontational music that you love
- show some flare
- Some customers want to chat, keep chat light and friendly
- Some customers aren’t chatty, just chill with your music
- NEVER DRIVE WHEN YOUR EXHAUSTED!
- Know when to cancel, they have too much luggage, they’re already irate even before you get them, or something happens in the fare.
Number 1 is an easy one. Get your car detailed once or twice a month and vacuum it regularly, also, check after you’ve had passenger making sure they haven’t left litter or lost items on the seat or floor.
Number 2 is another self explanatory one, jumping out and helping the customer with their bags is just a good habit. Also, added bonus, if you store extra water bottles or emergency equipment in your trunk you can associate that stuff around yourself. A customer will be put off if you have some stuff in your trunk, and just sit their while they move your stuff put their bags in. Jump out, it’ll make them feel served and bonus: It could save your life! When you’re driving for hours, sometimes up to 14 it’s important to get out and stand up and walk a little regularly to ensure proper blood flow. Think of being a TNC driver as playing Crazy Taxi IRL but remeber, even gaming can be dangerous if not done smart! See Rob Dyke’s video on 5 Times Gaming was deadly.
Number 3, “Simple Amenities” is my favorite way to get that 5 star recognition. Go to an auto parts store and buy a back-of-seat drink caddy. It’ll give you spot to put a couple water bottles and some candy and/or mints. Putting it right behind you driver’s seat is a good idea because it gives you a good reference point for the customer, after verifying the customer, smile and say “Help yourself to candy and water bottles in the tray behind me.” Having candy means candy rappers, so get a trash receptacle as well. Label it as “trash” otherwise you’ll have customers shoving their hand into the trash looking for candy (trust me, it happens).
“YOU HAVE WI-FI?!”
Offering Wireless internet is not crazy hard to do but it’s definitely a head turner of an amenity. If your a Lyft driver you are using a smart phone and therefore likely having a large, if not unlimited data plan. You can set up a hot spot from your phone or tablet very easily, contact you service provider if you have any difficultly. As I state in the video, people don’t really use it most of the time, it’s just another simple amenity to let the customer know you care.
People aren’t always great at listening or that might have an issue with understanding you, so be patient, label and physically gesture to the amenities as you introduce them.
Number 4, the thought of Active and Passive mentioning of amenities, active being the verbal statement, the passive being the signs or labels was mostly covered above, but an important thing to look into is buying a nice cheap laminator I got mine for about $20.00 at Walmart. It’s helped me make the larger Lyft signs and the labels. Remember that while you are providing the amenities, they aren’t paying for them, they are paying to get from one place to another quickly and safely, so keep you amenities spiel very short, like 10 second short. Mentioning the amenities is the great way to break the ice and to “show don’t tell” that you want to give them a 5 star ride!
5 is what keeps me sane. Obviously avoid music that is too vulgar, political, aggressive or violent. Personally, I like to play some local flavor (Dr. Badlove and the Remedies, Fellowcraft) and that’s something that a lot of customers enjoy! Local music is a great Icebreaker. “Just so you know, I’m listening to DC local band, Dr. Badlove and the Remedies, let me know if you want a specific station or news on I’d be happy to put on whatever you want.” Generally, customers will be interested in listening to local flavor or just be okay with whatever’s on. Don’t be upset or insulted when they do want something else on, though. Some people are particular or just in the mood for something else. Some even request an aux cable to play what they want from their own device. Be polite if what they play is not your type of music. I did break once and trashed a customer’s music. Pretty sure I mentioned that story in a Lyft vs Crazy Taxi, lucked out that I had a customer who appreciated an honest roasting, but that’s not something you can count on so yeah, be polite.
6 is about peacocking a little, personally, driving for Lyft, I like to decorate the car with some pink. As I discuss in the video, this even goes to what you wear. Once again, feel free to show off some local flavor. Since I’m in DC, I like rockin SNRG_’s DC Soul shirt but remember that light and neutral colors are good for customers.
7 and 8 are pretty self-explanatory. Some customers want to chat and some don’t. The wild card is the shy or maybe even socially awkward customer that WANTS to chat but they want you instigate. Sometimes those people will come across as upset or concerned, which is why it’s good to use the amenities as an icebreaker. If they want to chat that should get the ball rolling, if they go back to being quiet after your spiel, they might just like the silence. Trying to gauge your customer’s comfort level is vital and letting them know that if they have an issue, to let you know goes with that, because we’re not mind readers.
NEVER DRIVE WHEN YOU’RE TOO TIRED! Number 9 is soooooooo important! Being tired, like in the 14th hour of work or on you 26th fare of the day, can be obvious to the passenger and you need to know when to quit. Getting down-rated because you’re groggy or sleepy isn’t because the customer is picky it’s because they feared for their safety! I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from customers about bad, sleepy drivers. People might even mistake your exhaustion for being drunk and you’ll have a hard time if they go to Lyft with that complaint. For your safety, your customers safety, and the safety of the drivers and pedestrians out there, don’t drive when you’re tired, dehydrated, dizzy or sick.
10 is a the nuclear option. You want fares, you need that money but sometimes, it just shouldn’t happen. If you drive a sedan and you come up to a family of 4 with each person having a full sized suitcase and an additional carry-on, they are not going to fit. If somehow you manage to ‘Tetris’ their bodies into your car with luggage, it’s going to be a horribly uncomfortable trip for them. Even though it’s their fault for not requesting an SUV, they’ll still probably take it out on your rating. Don’t do it. Know how much you can carry and cancel when you have to. That definitely means you need to have a high acceptance rating so you have the liberty to do that with out jeopardizing your bonuses.
CANCELLING WHEN YOU SCREW UP: I’ve heard this story a few times from customers: “I’ve only given a driver 1 star once, but that was because we were in an accident.” I’m always so shocked every time I hear that because that customer shouldn’t have had the chance to rate the driver, because in my opinion, the driver should have canceled the fare. I’VE NEVER BEEN IN THAT SITUATION so I don’t know how the insurance would be handled and I understand if the driver had to use Lyft’s insurance and didn’t have a comprehensive commercial policy of his own but otherwise, short of an accident, if I screw up I’ll try to cancel the fare when I’ve safely reached the destination.
When your customer is uncomfortable or complaining because you did something wrong, own up to it, and I personally would consider cancelling, after safely reaching their destination making the trip free for them. I did this once just a few weeks back. I was absent mindedly holding my phone while driving and the customer mentioned it. I could tell it upset him, so I drove him to his location and cancelled as I dropped him off. I thanked him for the proper criticism and he was appreciative, he even tipped me a few dollars. For me, I realized I was going to be down-rated and maybe even flagged for safety, so I thought “Is this $6. fare worthy losing star?” I went with no, had a great conversation and made a nice tip and got right back on the road. Don’t sweat the small stuff, own your mistakes and know when you should cancel the fare and assess fares before you take them. If someone calls you already irate before you even get to them, consider cancelling.
Final Point: don’t be afraid of down-rating. You have to maintain a mode of 5, and if you take care of your customers you’ll have a buffer. I like seeing that 5 star up there because its job security. I get to keep grinding it out.
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