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11 Epic Tactics to Make Your Doordash Customer Rating Increase

As an independent contractor on the Doordash platform, your customer ratings can be the difference between making good money as a Dasher and not earning anything.

Customers can grade us on how we did, using a five star system. Those ratings can make a big difference in a couple of ways.

Unfortunately, things happen as Doordash drivers that threaten can threaten our customer rating. 

Mistakes happen. Sometimes we don’t realize our mistakes. Other times, we get the blame for things beyond our control. 

How can we raise our customer ratings? What can we do to overcome unfair Doordash reviews, or fix our score after our mistakes? 

A five star Doordash Dasher Customer Rating as illustrated by a waiter with a white glove holding a serving tray displaying a card with five stars.

We’ll talk about that in this article. We’ll discuss:

  • How Do Customer Ratings work with Doordash?
  • How can Customer ratings impact our earnings?
  • 7 Best Ways to Improve Customer Ratings on Doordash

How Do Customer Ratings work with Doordash?

After every delivery, Doordash customers have the opportunity to rate their service. Customers are asked two questions:

How was your delivery?

How was the food?

Customers can answer each question by rating both on a five star scale.

“How was your delivery?” is the question that determines your customer rating. Your rating is the average of those customer ratings. If you’ve received more than 100 ratings, it’s the average of the last 100 ratings.

There is an unfairness to the ratings system.

There’s a problem in the broadness of the question. 

A lot of things related to “the delivery” are outside our control. 

The order may be an hour late by the time you get it. But as far as the customer is concerned, “the delivery” was late. 

And we get the blame.

The restaurant may have screwed up details about the order. But the food was still great. So the customer gives the food high ratings (5 stars) and the delivery gets a lower rating.

The other thing to keep in mind is that a lot of diners never rate their deliveries. They got their food, they just want to eat. 

Unless there’s a problem. They’re far more likely to rate you when something goes wrong. 

A single one star rating can drop an experienced Dasher’s rating from 5.0 to 4.96. If you are new and have fewer ratings under your belt, the impact could be bigger than that. 

Don’t confuse customer ratings with other Doordash ratings.

Your Dasher rating can refer to a lot of things. There are four different metrics that Doordash makes available in the Doordash driver app. You can find your ratings in the Dasher app. Tap the menu, then click on Ratings. In order, those ratings include:

  • Average Customer Rating. This is the one we are talking about here. Your average rating is the average of your last 100 customer ratings as discussed above.
  • Acceptance Rate: Acceptance rate is the percent of the last 100 delivery offers that you accepted. Does your acceptance rating matter? Only if you are trying for Top Dasher, where you need a 70% acceptance rate. Whether Top Dasher is worth pursuing is a different question altogether. 
  • Completion Rate: This statistic refers to the last 100 Doordash orders you have accepted. It’s the percentage of those accepted orders that you have completed. Orders canceled by customers are not included in this statistic.  Your contract requires a minimum 80% completion rating, and Top Dasher status requires 95%.
  • On Time or Early Rating The On-time or early rating focuses on how close to the given time you have delivered the food. When you receive an offer, Doordash gives you a “deliver by” time. The on time rating is the percentage of completed deliveries that are completed by that time. Doordash has no policy related to on time rating, although they can hit you with a contract violation if a delivery is extremely late.

How can customer ratings impact your earnings with Doordash?

Remember that as an independent contractor in the gig economy, you are your own boss running your own business. Just like any business, the impression people have of your service is crucial to your success.

You know how they say the customer is always right? Even when the customer is wrong, they think they’re right. What the customer thinks can determine whether they ever come back.

Something to keep in mind in this discussion: As an independent contractor, Doordash is your customer.

And customer satisfaction matters.

There are two things to be aware of in particular. 

One, bad ratings can make you ineligible for the Top Dasher program. 

Top Dasher is a bit of a controversial thing. Many Doordash delivery drivers want no part of the high acceptance rates required. However, for others in oversaturated markets, Top Dasher gives you the ability to Dash Now at any time

Among other Top Dasher requirements, you need a 4.7 customer rating.

Even if you don’t care about Top Dasher status, customer ratings could have a bigger impact. A customer rating that drops below 4.2 could cost you your ability to Dash. 

The Doordash deactivation policy states that a Doordash Dasher must maintain a customer rating of at least 4.2. Failure to do so could lead to deactivation.

11 Tried and True Tactics to Keep Your Doordash Customer Ratings Up

Here's what it boils down to: Provide excellent customer service. Be thoughtful about the experience you are providing.

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1. Be selective on the offers you accept

This is, in my opinion, the best way to keep your ratings up. In my experience a lower acceptance rate can be better for your customer rating. One of the biggest factors in a good customer rating is the food orders (or shopping) that you do accept. 

Know your market and understand the potential trouble spots:

Long distance deliveries: The best time to eat most foods are right after the food is ready. A long delivery makes that harder to do. Hot food can get cold. Cold food (ice cream and shakes especially) can get warm. Consider the type of food, traffic conditions, and how the distance will impact the quality of the food. 

Slow merchants: If you know a restaurant is likely to be extremely late, it may be better to avoid it. If you take shop and deliver orders, know the locations that make it

Restaurants that make lots of mistakes. Pay attention to local restaurants that tend to mess the order up frequently. 

Late orders. There are times you just know that a particular delivery is probably very late. As you get more experience, you get a better sense of when this can be an issue

Some shopping orders. Shop and deliver is becoming more common on Doordash. If there’s a chance a lot of items are out of stock or need substitutions, that can be a ratings danger.

2. Avoid extremely low paying orders. 

I know that this really is part of number one. However, my experience is it’s a big enough deal to be worthy of its own point. 

Remember that your total earnings are based on base pay, incentives and customer tips. If the order amount that’s presented to you is extremely low, it means the customer either didn’t tip or the tip was very small.

The lower the tip, the higher the probability that a customer will leave a low rating. There are several reasons for this:

A low paying order is more likely to be late.

There’s a higher probability that this offer has been rejected multiple times because of the low price. You have a higher chance that the order has been sitting around awhile by the time you pick it up.

Someone who didn’t tip may be less likely to give a good rating.

There are a lot of reasons people don’t tip. Sometimes people mistakenly believe that we’re paid more on a given delivery. Some don’t agree with the tipping system. There are those who have an extremely tight budget. And then there are those who are just jerks. 

Unfortunately, that’s probably a pretty high percentage of people who either don’t tip or leave very small tips. And the problem with that is, a jerk is more likely to leave a bad review. 

Some don’t tip because of previous bad experiences.

Let’s face it: There’s a lot of bad dashers out there. That means there are a lot of customers who have been burned in the past.

People who may have tipped well in the past but had a bad experience may be less likely to add a tip for future orders. For some, they’re waiting to see how the service is and intend to tip later. 

Some, however, just end up with a bad feeling about Dashers. Because of bad experiences in the past, they’re more likely to notice even the smallest issues in future deliveries. 

Again, this leads to a high probability of a bad rating.

3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Cartoon of four bears and a counselor in a circle of chairs in the forest, with one saying We are communicating better, but we are still not out of the woods.

If there are things that may create issues on the delivery, let the customer know. 

Is the restaurant running late? A heads up and assurance that you’ll be on your way as soon as it’s ready can make a difference.

One thing I look for is if the address has an apartment number. If I think I may need a door code and there are no specific instructions I may text them something like “Hey, I’m on my way with your food. Will I need a doorcode to get in?”

If there’s a traffic issue, I’ll give them a heads up and give them a reassurance. Or maybe weather is slowing things down, I’ll let them know as well.

Sometimes the addresses don’t seem quite right. If I’ve got any question about where I’m delivering, I’ll call and say something like “I just want to make sure I’m in the right place, since I can’t see the address. Is your’s the white house with the Subaru in the driveway?” 

Any time you communicate, frame it in a way that focuses on the customer. Use language that states that you’re working to get their order to them in the best condition possible.

4. Be careful with your communication.

Beware that your communication with the customer can be the cause of a bad review

Don’t overdo it.

For me, if a delivery is all going as planned and there are no potential issues, I don’t feel the need to say anything. 

There’s a fine line between communicating with the customer and annoying them. Doordash sends several notifications to let the customer know how the order is coming along.

I tend to save my communications for any time I think there may be an issue or if I need any clarification from the customer.

Don’t be confrontational. 

The purpose of communication should be to help you complete your delivery in the best manner possible.

There are customers who do dumb things. They leave bad instructions. Sometimes their instructions are confrontational.

There’s rarely anything to be gained by calling them out or getting nasty with them. You aren’t going to teach them a lesson and you won’t change how they do things.

All you will do is increase the chance of a bad rating.

I understand there are times that a customer crosses the line. I don’t write this to excuse any of that. However, in most cases the best course of action is to contact support in those situations rather than confront the customer directly.

Don’t talk about tips.

It’s just bad form. 

Shaming the customer for their tip might make you feel better, but it will nearly guarantee a bad rating. 

Even the passive aggressive forms of asking for a tip (“all tips are appreciated”) are risky. Customers can see right through that kind of thing.

What about memes?

Some Dashers like to send memes, like the one above that was generated by Imgflip.com, to add humor while communicating with customers.

You may have noticed the trend among Dashers to send memes to customers as an attachment to their text

Some of that is thanks to TikTok videos where Dashers have shown memes they send to customers.

The idea is that humor and memes can lead to more tips and better ratings. 

I’ve never jumped on board that train myself. I think it’s a judgment call. Just like any other communication, you have to determine whether it helps your cause or does it work against you?

Be cautious about using memes. Be careful about whether any meme can be seen as offensive by the customer. Don’t cross the lines mentioned above (asking for tips, etc.)

One other thing that I often see in memes that Door Dashers use: They’ll say something like “Dashers are not allowed to check orders.” I would caution against anything like that. I know the idea is to deflect criticism if the restaurant screws the order up. However, I think it does two things that can hurt you:

  • When you’re trying to explain a potential problem, it can actually make the customer more likely to look for a problem.
  • It comes across as passing the buck. 

But don’t overdo it. You can over-communicate and actually increase your chance of a bad review. 

People just want their food. They get notifications from Doordash along the way. For many, constant additional notifications can be annoying. 

5. Follow the Customer's Instructions

The Client left instructions in their order requests for a reason. The instructions can tell you where to place the food when you get there. They can also tell if they don’t want you to knock or ring the doorbell.  

Following the instructions given to you shows the customer that you respect them and their wishes. 

I’m amazed how many times I see Dashers critical of when a customer tries to over explain things. They’re doing it to be helpful. 

6. Check the order

Before you leave the restaurant, make sure that everything is good with what the customer had asked to be in their order.

Most restaurants are sealing up the orders these days, thanks to the pandemic. I think that’s one reason Doordash stopped making us check off every item in the Doordash app. 

However, you still need to be aware of what was in the order, and does the packaging seem consistent with the order? 

Does it seem too small a package for what the customer asked for? Are there drinks on the order but don’t seem to be any bottles in the packaging? Does anything about what you're picking up indicate there may be missing items?

If there’s any question at all, confirm with the restaurant that everything is there. If you see anything in the order that might seem unusual, it doesn’t hurt to confirm that the restaurant was aware of it. 

I know it seems irritating and that it should be the restaurant’s job. The thing to remember is, the customer doesn’t care who’s job it is. All they care about is, the delivery didn’t go well. 

7. Handle the order with care.

Use insulated bags when appropriate. Protect the food. 

Do everything you can to make sure the food arrives at the customer in the kind of condition you would want your food to be there.

Even if you think the insulated bag doesn’t really help things much at all, the important thing is, what does the customer think? 

It may just be a  psychological thing in which if the customers see that you are prepared and are doing a good job of taking care of their food, they will feel like that you care about their order. 

8. Be Professional. 

Whenever you interact with the customer, be polite and friendly. 

Showing that you are respectful and willing to do these simple steps will make you likable, and the customers will be more likely to leave a good rating. 

Treat this like you’re running a business (you are). Treat the customer like a customer should be treated.

If you don’t like something about the customer, the order, Doordash, or about your day, keep that to yourself. Be a pro.

9. Be presentable.

You’re bringing people their food.

I’ve seen more than enough Dashers who I think, I don’t want them anywhere around my food.

Don’t be that Dasher.

Be clean. Look like you give a crap.

Keep your car clean. Most customers will never see your car, especially in an age of no-contact deliveries. But enough will. Don’t gross them out. 

Think about wearing a uniform. I know, we’re not required to. And in fact, I personally will NEVER wear a Doordash shirt, because I am not a Doordash employee. 

However, I do have a certain uniform I’ve developed that includes a red shirt. One, it makes it easier for people to know I’m there for a delivery. Two, it communicates I care about what I’m doing.

As long as the pandemic is a thing, wear a mask. This isn’t about risk or mandates as much as it’s out of respect for the customer. If the customer feels like there’s a risk, wearing a mask is respecting that feeling.

Remember, you’re delivering their food. 

If you communicate by your appearance that you care about what you look like, it also makes them think you care about their food.

10. Be thoughtful with no contact deliveries

A courier in a bike helmet stands back from the door after leaving a contactless delivery at the customer's door.

The default when a customer is placing an order (as of this writing) is for no contact deliveries. The customer wants the food left where they can pick it up. They don’t want to take a chance with the virus. 

If you were delivering to a friend or family member, how would you do things? How would you want things done if the food were being delivered to you?

Think about where you put the food on no-contact deliveries. Don’t put the food in front of an outward swinging door. Few things are more frustrating.

What’s the location that is best to protect the food from weather? Is there an accessible spot that isn’t on the ground? What’s the spot that’s easiest for the customer to reach? 

Be considerate of the customer in where you place the food.

Another question you can ask is, would the customer like a knock at the door when the contactless delivery is completed? Obviously we can't read minds if the customer didn't leave instructions.

The problem here is, some customers love it when you knock because they may not notice the notification from Doordash that it's there. Personally, my dog goes nuts so I'm not a fan. However, because of that I leave instructions NOT to knock.

One thing I often do if communicating with the customer is add something like “I see this is a no-contact delivery. Would you like me to knock or ring the bell when done?” I've yet to find a customer who didn't appreciate being asked.

11. (As a last resort) Ask for a rating.

This is only something I would recommend as an absolute last resort. 

The bottom line is, customer rating doesn’t matter that much unless you’re in danger of it impacting you. If you’re in danger of crossing that 4.2 deactivation line, or you feel you need to make Top Dasher but you’re just short of the 4.7 mark, asking for a rating may help you.

That’s because the only way to boost your ratings is to get positive ratings. 

But the problem is, many customers don’t rate drivers at all. They’re not thinking about ratings, they’re thinking about the food. 

I personally would never ask for a GOOD rating. Too often that just seems self serving. Instead, if I were to ask for a rating I’d phrase it something like this:

“To help me serve you better next time, could you let me know how I did by providing a rating?”

The reason I would do it that way is, it puts it in a way that considers the customers first. “To help me serve YOU better.” It communicates that they are important.

Control what you can control

There’s an important lesson I learned a long time ago from reading Stephen Covey. It’s made a huge difference in my life and has been a big part of all that’s gone well for me as a delivery driver:

Don’t worry about the things you cannot control. Focus on what you can control.

The unfair part of the ratings system with Doordash is all the things you can get a bad rating that are outside your control. That part sucks.

However, the good news is if you’re taking care of all the things that you can control, you’ll be in good shape. In my experience, it’s hard to fall below the 4.7 rating threshold for Top Dasher (and I don’t really care about Top Dasher status). 

And a 4.2 rating is nearly impossible to achieve if you're providing good service.

We can't change customers who are jerks. We can impact the customer's perception of the service we provide. The steps above are mostly about that. Provide good customer support as a Doordash driver and that goes a long way towards better customer reviews.

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