4 of The Biggest Issues For Drivers
We've already touched on some of the general themes that lead drivers to quit, but I also wanted to highlight four specific areas that are major pain points for drivers. I've talked to thousands of drivers over the last few years and in my mind, these four areas play a huge role in why so many drivers leave the platform after such a short period of time.
Although 'being your own boss' might sound like a good thing on the surface, there are lots of times when drivers are going to need help from the guys in charge. And even though Uber is constantly refreshing their help section
, adding new options for drivers and testing new help features, their customer support reps still struggle mightily to address drivers' most basic problems.
Personally, I spend about 30% of my time
responding to e-mails, so I know how hard customer support can be, and let's just say I don't envy their responsibilities. A lot of the e-mails I get from drivers are hard to decipher, illogical and not clear in the question they're asking. Uber, to its credit, is good at responding to e-mails in a timely manner but the answers drivers get often seemed like canned responses and rarely help solve the problem at hand.
I think a lot of these CS problems stem from the fact that Uber's CS reps are not experts at being drivers themselves. In fact, Uber as a company doesn't even allow its corporate employees to drive (although I've heard that's changing). Either way, you can imagine what happens when you e-mail a CS rep asking about a basic, yet common situation. They just don't know how to handle it.
This actually happened in real life
Situations like this happen a lot and it's very frustrating for drivers because unlike a traditional workplace where you have a co-worker who can explain things to you, there's no real-time help with Uber, and when you do manage to get help, it's often not very good. I'd estimate that about 1/4 of the e-mails I get revolve around problems getting in contact with Uber or getting/waiting on an answer from them.
And here's a fun one on the passenger side:
Actual response that I got from @Uber
when I emailed them to report that my driver was on the wrong side of the roadpic.twitter.com/rvqSjvV4b2
- Amy Brittain (@AmyJBrittain) July 6, 2016
I think the ratings system is great for passengers since it holds drivers accountable for their actions but there are a lot of ways it can work against drivers too. One of my biggest complaints about the ratings system is that it is a one-sided marketplace. Drivers have to maintain a 4.6 rating in order to stay active, but passengers have no such requirement
Uber recently added a feature to the driver app
that allows drivers to see their 5 star ratings, but there's still no way for drivers to see the feedback from their 1-4 star ratings. I get tons of e-mails from drivers who are struggling with ratings but they don't know what they're doing wrong. There's just not enough transparency with the current system since you don't know who's rating you what.
I also find that a lot of drivers take their rating very personally. I went out to drive the other night and started at a 4.94 stars rating. By the end of the night, I had done 6 rides for Uber and they all went great. But the next day, my rating had dropped down to a 4.92 and I had no idea why. Someone rated me low for some reason and I had no idea who it was or why it happened. It's not so much the rating itself, since a 4.94 doesn't get you anything that a 4.92 won't, but it's just frustrating to see your rating drop for no good reason. You could imagine that these feelings would be magnified if a driver was on the cusp of 4.6 and it determined whether or not they could stay active on the platform.
Additionally, drivers are often rated poorly because of things out of their control like traffic and surge pricing. Even though these low ratings are going to happen to everyone and eventually average out, it's silly that Uber doesn't have a way for drivers to challenge specific ratings. They could easily drop the lowest rating or two each week or allow drivers to challenge a specific rating, and that would relieve a lot of the angst drivers have toward the ratings system.
Uber has cut rates
consistently for each of the past three years, and it's always a contentious time when they do. Although Uber argues that lower rates mean higher earnings for drivers, over the past 2.5 years, I have yet to find a single driver who tells me they're making more money after fare cuts
I don't think anyone likes going into work one day only to have your boss tell you that you're going to have to take a 20-30% pay cut and do the same amount of work (or more!). Fare cuts are clearly a big part in why many drivers quit. But Uber knows that there is an able and willing workforce ready to replace those drivers so drivers quitting isn't really a big problem for them.
The thing to keep in mind is that there are tens of millions
of potential Uber drivers out there and none of them know what drivers 'used to make'. They just compare the income and flexibility to how much they make at their current job and if the pay is reasonably close, it's likely that Uber is the better choice. There's been a lot of talk about how much Uber drivers should make, but at the end of the day, Uber is going to pay drivers as little as possible, but enough that they can maintain the quality of their product/service.
You wouldn't think UberPool would be a direct contributor to drivers quitting the platform, but it has definitely added to the frustrations of many drivers. UberPool saves passengers up to 30-40% on the cost of a ride yet it doesn't do anything extra for drivers. Drivers are paid about the same
amount of money on Pool rides yet they have to do a lot more work.
: How much are drivers really paid on UberPool?
Here's a story from my last UberPool ride as a passenger:
I was recently in San Francisco on an UberPool trip as a passenger from the airport to the city. I watched three requests come in from a second 'Pool' passenger and every time, the new driver ignored it. He finally said to me, "I have no idea what the hell these beeps are, it's my first day".
Of course I offered to help and ended up explaining how everything worked, but all I could think about at that point was how bad of an experience this guy's first day on the job must have been. On my first day as a driver, I was nervous and just trying to make sure I could drive one passenger safely from point A to B, and here Uber is sending this new driver multiple Pool requests on his first day of driving.
This is just one example of a new driver's pain point with UberPool but it should illustrate the thinking (or lack of thinking) that goes into a lot of driver-side decisions made at Uber. There's a big disconnect between working as a product manager for UberPool and what it's like to actually be a new driver. That disconnect hurts drivers, passengers and Uber.