9 Creative Ways to Get Uber Passengers to Give You a 5-Star Rating

Feedback can be a bit of a double-edged sword. As an Uber driver, you probably love it when you see five-star ratings come through, just as surely as you loathe it when you receive less kind evaluations. Those low scores are always unwelcome, but they are especially maddening when you feel as though you’ve gone above and beyond to elicit the highest possible score.

The simple reality is that people—and this very much includes Uber passengers—are finicky and unpredictable. As such, there’s just no way to compel people to leave you the full five stars, and no sure approach to keeping your feedback positive. With that said, there are some steps that other drivers have found to be helpful in keeping their scores high. Here are just a few suggestions.

Understand Where Bad Ratings Come From

First and foremost, it’s important to know why passengers give bad scores. Studies confirm that the top five most common causes for bad driver ratings are:

• Having bad navigational skills
• Being disrespectful or discourteous in your attitude
• Being a reckless or inconsistent driver
• Having a dirty or smelly vehicle
• Texting or talking on the phone during the ride

You’ve probably thought of these things already, but it’s worth hammering home: If your ratings are consistently bad, chances are it’s due to one of these reasons. And if you’re honest with yourself, you can probably figure out which one.

Always Have a Good Sense of Where You’re Going

Because having poor navigational skills is the single biggest source of complaints from Uber passengers, it’s wise for you to be vigilant about always knowing your destination and basic route. Especially in the era of Google Maps, there’s no reason to ever get lost. What we recommend is checking the route in advance and making sure you have the basic beats, but leaving Google Maps on if you’re not totally sure where you’re going.

Take Notes from Other Drivers

Have you ever experienced Uber from the passenger side? It’s worth doing at least a couple of times. Take a ride with another driver and pay attention to the experience. Did you love it? If so, mirror as much of that driver’s style as you can. Did you hate it? Think about why—and make sure you’re not committing the same basic sins.

Size Up Each Passenger

Some passengers will really want to make conversation. Others will not. Usually, it’s not too hard to tell which is which, especially if you pay careful attention. A passenger who’s clearly caught up in their Twitter feed is probably not interested in small talk with you. A passenger who tries to engage you will be happy if you respond in kind. Be mindful that not all passengers want the same social experience from their Uber driver. Vary your demeanor from one passenger to the next, just based on your read of them.

Invest in a Mount for Your Phone

Here’s the reality: When you fiddle with your phone, when you have it in your hands, when you hold it in your lap, when you seem like you’re as concerned with it as you are the road… it makes your passengers feel uncomfortable. It makes them feel unsafe. A good dashboard mount for your phone is a small investment in your passengers’ peace of mind, and using it can help you avoid any misunderstandings, any appearance of unsafe driving.

Go Beyond Water and Gum

Yes, Uber is right when they advise drivers to keep bottled water and gum handy, and to offer it freely to passengers. We’d recommend offering more than just hydration and breath fresheners, though. One of the most precious things you can offer? Charging cords for your passengers’ various devices. You could truly be a lifesaver for them if they’re running low on juice and you hook them up.

Be sure to also check out our recent post ‘21 Things Every Uber Driver Should Have in Their Car‘. Some of these items could directly and indirectly contribute to improving your rating from passengers.

Don’t Give into Road Rage

This can be hard, and it really just takes some grit and some patience—but you’ve got to avoid road rage, because losing your cool is a shortcut to a bad rating. Steel yourself before the start of each shift, reminding yourself that other drivers won’t always be considerate or conscientious. When something annoying happens on the road, try your best to keep smiling, keep calm, and keep cool. Your passenger will probably notice, and appreciate you for it.

Pick the Route Yourself

“Do you have a preferred route you’d like me to take?” This may seem like a thoughtful question, but most of the time it’s just annoying. It forces your passenger to make a decision that he or she may not want to make. If the passenger is going to a residential area and they have a desired path in mind, they’ll probably tell you. Otherwise, use your navigational equipment to make the call on your own.

Realize That You Can’t Please Everyone

A final note: Not every passenger is going to leave you a perfect score, and in some cases your low ratings won’t be because of anything you’ve done. Maybe your passenger is just having a bad day. Maybe he or she is simply impossible to please. Who knows? Be mindful of the steps above, and frank in appraising your own performance as a driver—but don’t beat yourself up over cantankerous fares.

Also consider that there may be other gigs you can land to augment or even replace your Uber income on days when low scores are frustrating you—anything from Lyft to VidoTek Damage Inspector Program to GrubHub. Discover new gigging opportunities, even as you hone your abilities as an Uber driver.

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