Uber CEO: Tip More to Get a Better Rating

Until now Uber has insisted that your decision to tip – and how much – cannot affect the rating you’re given by drivers. Drivers have to rate you first before they know what tip decision you’ve made.

Tipping wasn’t even a part of Uber until recently. The idea was ‘the price is the price’ and indeed at the outset they contended that the tip was included. However in their quest to redeem their image, in part by accommodating drivers, Uber added tipping inside the app. At least Uber’s tipping has become cashless.

Now Uber’s new CEO insists you should tip aggressively — apparently acknowledging Uber itself isn’t paying drivers enough — and indeed that’s how you improve the rating drivers give you.

“You should tip more,” Khosrowshahi said. “I am a very aggressive tipper right now. I pick the highest tip every time. Somehow my rating is getting better. I’m not sure if it’s aggressive tipping. Everybody, tip aggressively.”

For the past two years it’s been possible to figure out your ratings from many trips. Passenger ratings have been more easily accessible for the last 9 months. And now drivers can even submit narrative feedback on riders.

Currently your rating doesn’t actually much matter unless it falls so much that it’s questoinable whether you’ll be allowed to continue to use the service (although a new phone and new email address should solve that in any case). A year ago Uber introduced new rules for what will get you kicked off the platform.

However according to Uber’s CEO that could change – he “wants to introduce a higher level of service for riders with better ratings, too, aside from just offering nicer cars.”

Presumably the new head of Uber was just talking up tipping as part of their campaign to be driver-friendly, and the way tipping works through the app doesn’t currently affect passenger ratings and passenger ratings continue not to matter along a margin that affects most riders hence the hedging that he’s not sure if tipping is driving ratings. Although the CEO of Uber should certainly understand – and be sure – how their algorithms works.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The whole premise of Uber was an all-inclusive fare that was more affordable than a traditional cab. That was basically a smokescreen to get people hooked and run out traditional cab drivers. Now they are continually raising fares and asking customers to subsidize the drivers fares thru tips.

    I’m a guy who tips the social norms. 20% for good service in a restaurant, $1-$2 a drink at a bar etc….but I refuse to tip Uber drivers (unless they go above and beyond).

    If Uber can’t pay their drivers a fare wage then they should change their business model. I’m not tipping $10 on an airport run to basically subsidize futures shareholders and owners of Uber. Just out of principle I’d rather take a regular cab and then tip them.

  2. I definitely won’t be tipping now. Maybe these jerks should use some of their Trump tax cut to raise wages.

  3. I can’t help but think that at a certain point, their push to be more “driver-friendly” tilts into being “customer-unfriendly.” Tipping when the initial selling point to customers was an all-inclusive price certainly has done it for me — at this point, there’s no price difference between lyft, uber, and taxis in my city, all of which are usually more expensive than paying for parking wherever it is I’m going.

  4. What kind of business says “pay my staff more so that I can pay them less” to their customers? Lyft is finding its way to the top of my app list.

  5. Hey, Uber…

    How about you spy less on your drivers and riders.

    How about you stop sexually harassing your female employees.

    How about your CEO stop verbally abusing drivers.

    How about you pay your taxes.

    How about you stop telling your riders to tip more.

    NOPE. No tip.

  6. I really have little problem with tipping the drivers. My savings over a cab and the convenience of door to door service are what first convinced me to use both them and Lyft.
    Factors that I take into account to decide how much to tip a driver.
    The greeting.
    Cleanliness of the vehicle.
    Aid with bags, suitcases etc.
    Personal hygiene and any other smell in the vehicle.
    In car services. (charging cables, water, towelettes, area information & maps)
    Response to questions.
    Navigation and actual driving style.
    Obviously not all apply but you get the gist.

  7. Of course he tips the max, he knows what crap will hit the fan when news stories break about him being cheap with his drivers, this is all a PR move on his part, Uber can’t afford many more PR disasters.

  8. It’s really a shame that they’re ruining one of the best features of their service. People really prefer an all-inclusive price. The problem is that tipping allows companies to shift their payroll costs from themselves to their customers. It’s a bit like airlines putting more seats on airplanes. It’s money that’s impossible for a company to resist.

  9. How can tipping more impact your rating? The drivers rate you before they are alerted to your tip (and in my case, usually before I tip, since I’m running to get to TSA).

  10. My understanding is that Uber drivers appreciate good riders and not just tips. If you’re friendly with the driver, carry a good conversation, make it a nice enjoyable ride, whether you tip or not is not consequential. Now if it becomes like a taxi service, I”m just going to sit in the back, pull up my phone with my headphones on and do work and ignore the driver. But he will get $1 tip so he should rate me highly. Ridiculous, this isn’t what Uber was supposed to be.

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