Avoiding Triggers – Biggest Rating Factor


Hey Uberers, here’s a really good point for keeping your rating up as much as possible. That is to avoid negative triggers. Really, they’re just called triggers. I would say probably 99% of riders get into a vehicle knowing that if everything goes smooth, they’re most likely going to give 5 stars. No rider (okay, maybe very few riders) gets into a vehicle saying, “Alright this guy’s going to have to work his butt off to get 5 stars from me.”

Triggers set off the rider into picking apart your driving, your vehicle, and very quickly your rating.

I signed my cousin up to drive for Uber. Within a couple of Days, he had 20 rides under his belt and less than desirable 4.2 rating. “I don’t get it, I’m driving fine. I haven’t really messed up anything. Except this one ride, the GPS took me a completely crappy way and the passenger was pissed!”  (Learn more about Rating Recovery)

I put a heavy bet on him having a rather influential set of triggers throughout the riders experience with him.  “Well, I bet you probably have a nasty stain or something back there and people are just grossed out.”

I had said that partially joking. I could not understand what it was either.  He’s a great person. So I told him to come over to my house, leave the car as is. So he came over. I went on a ride with him as the passenger. He drives a 2002 BMW 335i with a standard transmission. So there’s a couple strikes against him right off the bat that he has to make up for. “How are there TWO strikes?”  First strike, it’s a moderately small car.  Not entirely frowned upon, but there are some pretty big people out there.  And second, when people see a stick shift, they automatically get nervous if they’ve never driven one before.

No chargers, No water, no nothing… So He wasn’t really going into this shooting for the moon, but he should at LEAST be able to get a 4.6 or a 4.7 for good driving.

To keep an already long story short, we headed to Job Lot to get some cleaning supplies for the tape residue the dealer left on the back window from the car label… gross. Trigger #3. He had some of his own personal belongings in the seat pocket in front of me. Golf Tees. Interesting, but whatever. Cool. He golfs. Trigger #4. Looking further around. Left seat pocket… Deodorant stick… ok now we’re getting personal… Trigger #5… and omg, what…. is that!!? Is that a … I don’t even want to know what that is! Above the opening to the seat pocket was a nasty-looking stain on the back of his seat. Trigger #6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and game over. I wanted to get out right there. And we hadn’t even gotten to the end of my street yet… I’m on a ¼ mile dead end. “Dude… I found this gross stain back here.” He chuckled a bit and followed up, “Hahaha, yeah right.”

Triggers are key to ratings. ESPECIALLY long-duration rides.

Here are some things you can do to avoid triggers:

  1. Keep personal items out of view of passengers.
  2. Inspect your whole car. You should sit in every seat of your vehicle at least once a week (or depending on how much you drive) and look around… at EVERYTHING. Make sure there are no “ew” triggers.
  3. Don’t scare riders with your driving. Drive like you have your Grandmother is sitting beside you in the front seat.
  4. Keep all of your windows clean.  Especially the front window.  The riders will mostly be watching what you’re doing the entire time.  Your perspective may have a clean view of the road in front of you while theirs is blocked by smudges or residue.
  5. Vacuum the car once a week.  Use the $1.50 gas station vacuum that gives you 5 minutes of sucking power.  Save your home vacuum.  It’s not worth the candy or gum that could get sucked up into it and ruin it.
  6. Food wrappers.  We all have to eat, but don’t keep your half-eaten Subway sandwich on the front seat for them to see while getting into your car.
  7. Keep odors NEUTRAL!  Everyone has a scent they like.  But most people have more scents they dislike rather than what they prefer.  The odds are not in your favor that your little hangy smelly tree is going to help mask the odor in the vehicle.  (Learn More about getting rid of foul odors.)

After I helped my cousin with all of the issues he was having that he didn’t even realize, within 3 days, his rating was back up to above 4.7.  Pretty good for just starting and having had all those low ratings already.

Triggers are extremely important to understand.  It really means everything to your rating and they’re not very difficult to maintain avoiding.

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