— On Comms Design. From London

How finding my Uber rating made me wiser

About a week ago I found that you could email Uber to see your own rating by drivers who’d taken you places. So I did, email them that is and I did. I found out that I was a 4.7 which turned out to be a life changing event because it set in motion a string of unexplainable emotions (PMS aside). I have been a fervent supporter of Uber although their brand of PR and lobby and even what I assume is the drive that sits at the heart of their business make me a bit queasy. I love Uber not because it’s cheap and convenient (that helps too) but because it allows people to be in control of their lives and their livelihood. I look at Uber drivers as small entrepreneurs who can make basic assumptions about what they need in life and tailor their work with Uber accordingly. I think it gives drivers the kind of freedom I wish I had while enabling them to work in an environment which is, by contrast to that of regular taxies, better and healthier.

So why did I get so touched by not being a perfect 5? Well, because it struck me that in a world where people are free to make choices we are all absolutely responsible for ours. Having a two way evaluation system means that we are no longer service providers and customers only. It means that the highly flawed saying, the customer is always right, is no longer applicable because we are, in fact, business partners. And in a business partnership, it’s not only the rights that matter but also the responsibilities. I, as a driven partner, have the responsibility to behave correctly towards my driving partner because my reputation will influence the number of cabs I am able to receive offers from. I need to try to be on my best behaviour.

I know exactly why I am not a 5. I remember the guy who probably gave me a bad score. He was a starting driver, had no clue where he was going and missed some exits repeatedly. I got angry, asked him to pull over and left the car. I also gave him a really poor rating which generated a concerned email from Uber asking me what had gone wrong. I was in a hurry and did not have time to waste. I felt, as a customer, I was not being treated right which was true but if I had thought about it as a partnership what I could have done differently is explain to my driver why I was trying to find a different car and that I was going to give him a slightly lower rating. I acted like a dissatisfied customer. I should not have.