Uber has no doubt been a darling of the investor community and the business school community. It’s virtually synonymous with the idea of disruption at this point, and at the end of 2015, its fundraising was in line with a $62.5 billion valuation. By contrast, Lyft — which is the clearest rival to Uber and the company it’s most compared to — has had very successful valuations, but nothing closer to Uber.
I’ve used both Lyft and Uber in my own life, although now I’m starting to use Lyft almost exclusively. If you’re serious about customer experience, I think you should consider this as well. But why?
Love Lyft More Than Uber: Taking care of their drivers
Take a look at this stat based on an essay about giving up your car for an entire week:
84% satisfaction ratings in any industry are pretty great, but look at Lyft — 100 percent of drivers are satisfied with them. That’s admirable. It means they feel that they are valued. And taken care of.
While numbers can shift during surge pricing for Uber, Lyft is consistently the better source for income-generation for drivers. Fast Company has additional information on this, as well. The Rideshare Guy, a blogger based in Chicago who drives full-time between Uber and Lyft, has indicated he makes more money overall driving for Uber — but, Lyft pays drivers more in 38 markets in the United States. Uber is only tops in eight markets.
I look at drivers as the first tier of customers for these companies. Just like your employees are internal customers and it’s important to treat them well and regard their ideas, so too are drivers a form of ‘customers’ for Uber and Lyft. Lyft is clearly treating these customers better — and seeing higher satisfaction results as well.
And personally as I ride with the two…nothing scientific here…but Lyft drivers say they are happier. And they seem it too. Especially as they tell me tales of being invited to dinners and being “kicked off” when they drive too long. Compensating them for extras and giving them access to offers because they are part of the Lyft community.
Love Lyft More Than Uber: What about passengers?
This Uber vs. Lyft analysis on Lifehacker breaks down passenger experience and pricing for both services, and comes to determine Lyft is the better option. They note:
Peak hours change everything. Lyft’s “Prime Time” pricing caps out at three times the normal base rate during peak hours. Uber’s “Surge Pricing,” however, can reach as high as eight times the base rate. Plus, we’re willing to bet that if you’re trying to head out on a Saturday night, or need a ride home from the bar after it’s closed, you’re going to run into surge pricing, just because, well, everyone else is looking for a ride too There are countless Surge horror stories out there about outrageous Uber bills, but if you search for stories around expensive Lyft rides, they’re few and far between. Because of that and the pennies on the dollar you might save in some areas, Lyft is going to squeak by as the pricing winner.
This Quora forum, featuring comments from many Uber and Lyft drivers and even engineers at both companies, bears out the same results: UberX is designed to always be cheaper than Lyft, and oftentimes by 20-25%. The issue is surge pricing, which can often drive UberX way over Lyft in every possible scenario.
The wait times are similar:
Overall, Lyft is providing a better price and time option for passengers — even if it’s not by a massive margin. Your time is your most valuable resource as a consumer, and your money isn’t far behind that. This is another reason to love Lyft more than Uber.
Love Lyft More Than Uber: Health of the drivers
Accident data for Uber and Lyft has been harder to come by, probably as a result of the fact that many drivers for both services are under-insured. Uber has certainly received more negative publicity for accidents and assaults in their cars, although as this data shows, problems do occur for both companies.
Again, when viewing drivers as the first level of customers for Uber and Lyft, I like the required six hours off from the latter company. It’s hard to definitively say that it’s making Lyft safer than Uber — both companies have concerns — but walking the walk on the importance of driver safety is a great move for both drivers (one type of customer) and passengers (the more conventional type).
Love Lyft More Than Uber: Higher purpose
I’ve mentioned the higher purpose idea in this blog post recently, and it comes from my book I Love You More Than My Dog. If you look at the ‘beloved’ companies mentioned in the book, the one major aspect they all have in common is that they operate from a different, elevated place. They’re guided by their core values; their company core values list is a living, breathing document and not just a one-off that HR eventually owns. That, I think, is the key difference between a great company that’s able to focus entirely on customer experience — and a so-so company that struggles often to focus on its customers.
Uber’s customer-facing tag line is “creating possibilities for riders, drivers, and cities.” Lyft’s is “a ride wherever you need one.” Those are admittedly pretty similar — Uber’s uses grander language, but as Salon has pointed out, there are concerns it’s “trust me, I’m saving the world” language and not reality. This was underscored in a controversial Vanity Fair profile of Uber. By contrast, listen to the CMO of Lyft on HubSpot’s Growth Show podcast. She talks often about culture and customers, even when the topic is financial growth. It comes across as a higher purpose that everything flows from — and that’s how great companies are able to focus on, and drive, customer experience.
What’s your perception as a rider or driver for either service? I’d love to know.