For a long time, Uber didn’t do much to improve the driver experience, and satisfaction was low. There was a lot of turnover amongst the driver reins, but over the past few months, it seems like Uber has made a clear commitment to renew its relationship with drivers and really meaningfully improve the driver experience. Harry here for the Rideshare Guy, and today, I’m going to explain what is Uber’s 180 Days of Change Program, and what does it mean for drivers?
Take a look at my video about the program, and if you prefer to read, check out the transcript below the video.
Uber has always been focused on riders
Uber doesn’t have the greatest history with its drivers. This company was started by guys who wanted a ride. They wanted a better way of calling for a ride. They couldn’t get taxis. They hated that experience. These weren’t taxi drivers who said, “Hey, we’re getting screwed by all of these taxi owners. We want to make more money, have a better experience for us.” It was riders. I think that really, what we saw is a lot of that thinking propagated down through the company throughout the years. Uber has always been amazing from the point of view of a customer. You could hail a ride automatically. There was no need to tip. You could rate your driver. You could pay with a credit card. All these really revolutionary features, but it’s really on the passenger side.
Driver turnover is very high
Now, drivers did get some flexibility. They did get some freedom, but drivers quickly saw that in order to make the most amount of money, you can’t just drive whenever you want or wherever you want. You need to work with an Uber’s limits They really do have a lot of the power and a lot of the control. I think for a lot of drivers, that’s frustrating. Uber announced that half of all drivers quit after one year. If Uber announced that, we could probably assume that it’s even worse. There is a lot of turnover. A lot of drivers get into this. A lot of people like it. Some people are able to make it work, but with two to three million drivers on the platform for Uber alone, there’s a lot of people who it works for, and there’s also a lot of people who it doesn’t work for. I think that’s really what you see and what Uber is finally starting to address.
Uber has always been very reliable, especially when you look at I and compare it to Lyft. You always knew that you could go out there and get rides. You knew how much you’d get paid even if it wasn’t as much as you were hoping for or what you thought, but it’s very reliable in that sense. Personally, I always just felt like the experience for a driver could be so much better. There’s so many frustrating things that didn’t have to be frustrating, right? You know, to be frank, Uber had a lot of internal chaos at the beginning of 2017. All of these scandals, all of these news stories. While it didn’t have a big effect on the day-to-day experience, the short-term experience of a driver, it did have effect on the corporate level. I think that what you’re really starting to see, one of the positives that came out of all that chaos is this 180 Days of Change program.
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What is the 180 Days of Change program?
What is this program? What does it mean? According to Uber, it’s six months of significant changes that they’re going to make to improve the driver experience. They’re releasing what they’re calling chapters. So far, they’ve released a few chapters. They’re going to be releasing a few more. A total of six chapters. Each chapter is going to focus on a different area of what it’s like to be a driver.
Tipping was the big announcement from chapter 1
Chapter one focused on earnings. The big announcement for that chapter one was tipping. Uber added a tipping option. They made some modifications to the destination filter, gave that to everyone and some pay with the Quest stuff. Very big news for drivers. I personally never thought Uber was going to add a tipping option, but they did. You got to give them credit where it’s due that hey, they are making some changes even if maybe those changes should have come a long time ago. Better late than never, right?
Phone support came in chapter 2
Chapter two focused on customer service. Now, the big headline here was a 24/7 support line. I’ve called the number and you do get an agent really quickly. The help you’re getting, I think, still needs a little bit of work. I don’t know that I’m not satisfied there, but I’d say that it’s definitely a step in the right direction. They made some other minor to medium improvements in the customer service and ratings department.
A few ride tweaks came in chapter 3
Chapter three focused on flexibility. They have two new features. One called arrival times, another called long trip notifications, right, that allows you to, in addition to using a destination feature, you can now set an arrival time. “I want to be at home by 7:00 p.m.” Then, you start getting more higher propensity of rides towards your house as you get closer to 7:00. You don’t get any of those little short rides. Ideally, that’s how it’s supposed to work.
If you’re going to have a 45 to 60-minute trip or longer, you might want a little heads up. A little notification now pops up on the accept screen.
I think that you can see with just these first three chapters that Uber has made more changes to improve the driver experience in the past three months than they have in the past two to three years.
Uber is mainly playing catch up, but also innovating
In the past, they added instant pay. They added destination filter back in 2016. Those were awesome features, but also, they weren’t that innovative. Sidecar had that feature. The destination filter. Lyft had express pay, and Uber basically just copied it with instant pay. I think that those were great features for drivers, but they also weren’t that innovative. That’s the stuff that I think Uber has a lot of catching up to do, but they’re also starting to test some pretty cool and some pretty innovative stuff. The long trip notifications, the arrival times. Those are features that we haven’t seen on other services before and what you would expect from a 70-billion-dollar company. You would expect them to innovate and expect them to really invest a lot in these features that will have a long tail that over for years to come, drivers will benefit from it.
Which features do you think drivers like the most or benefit the most? Honestly, at the end of the day, it’s going to be anything that affects their bottom line. Now, we all would want higher rates, and so far, we haven’t seen directly a rate increase with this 180 Days of Change. I don’t know that we will. Uber is losing two to three billion dollars a year, and if you go and raise rates, they lose market share. Apparently, they think they’re not going to make as much money that way. They have raised the booking fee, and that’s one fee that goes 100% to them, so it seems clear from a lot of their actions, they’re really looking to invest in ways that are going to keep drivers on the platform longer.
As drivers, I think these features like the destination feature and arrival time, we have to see how it’s going to work out, but anything that’s going to allow you to be more flexible, allow you to make a little bit more money affect your bottom line. I’m not personally so concerned with things like a more fair rating system. I think that if you follow my channel, you should have a 4.8 or a 4.9 star rating. No problem. This isn’t rocket science, and I do know some drivers struggle with it, but if you practice and if you study, then, there’s no doubt that you should have a 4.8 or a 4.9-star rating. I’m not too concerned with those types of changes. I want to see the changes like the arrival times. The long trip notifications are going to have a big impact on my bottom line and allow me to make better choices as a driver, and therefore make more money.
What else should Uber improve?
What could be improved still? There’s definitely no shortage of things. I’d be curious to hear from you in the comments below. Feel free to let me know what you think Uber needs to improve. What are the features that they should add? The other thing is to keep an eye out for these stuff because Uber is testing a lot of the stuff. We saw them testing the long trip notification and a couple other features, the 24/7 support line.
Then, they go and roll it out, so if you guys see any new features, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or just try check them out yourself. There’s three more chapters coming. They have been very consistent and hopefully going forward, not only are they going to release these features. I’m also hoping that they’re going to iterate on these features and continue to improve them and make them better, because like we saw with the destination filter, it came out. It didn’t work perfectly, but over time, it seems like they definitely improved it. That’s definitely what I would like to see.
If you guys do have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave them below. Send me an e-mail. We release new videos every single Tuesday and Thursday, so make sure you subscribe to our channel. Give this video a thumbs up if you liked it. Take care.
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