Apparantly Uber is asking its driver, who are its employees to rate the customers who they deal with as per this HBR blogpost by Sara Green Yes, Your Uber Driver is Judging you! . Uber is not alone AirBnB and OpenTable are also rating customers.
What is new?
Every business intuitively rates its customers, but not in a quantitative way – adding data points on each interaction. May be an end of year analysis was done on the business every customer gave, may be there was a call taken after a clash, but to have a rating of customers based on how they behaved each time they used your services is new.
How much can you trust your employees rating customers? How will you remove biases that may come due to their personal preferences – all young women end up getting good ratings for example?
These systems are prone to gross manipulation. Do we not know of all consumer companies who close your complaint at the end of the day or at expected hours irrespective of weather they have solved it or not – for they only get rated on closed complaints. If you question them, they quietly open a new complaint for you. Come to think of it, they actually benefit by not solving the complaint and keeping it open.
Are you going to say No to a customer if their rating is not good?
Are you going to give priority to customers who have better ratings?
Will it add to customer discomfort? For now, they have to be worried about another rating that too from a service provider. On a bad day, it can lead to a lot of stress.
From this article I could not make out what was the purpose for which Uber is rating its customer – adding a layer of process for its employees and another layer of data to be crunched. I assume they would have defined it but it has not come our clearly in this interview. Unless there is an absolute clarity on a definite and in my opinion big enough purpose is solved by data collection – it is a futile exercise that I can call experiment at best.
Do we have to objectify all human behavior even if it means greater business gains?