Most of us have at one time experienced exceptional service that brings a smile to our face and leaves us with a great impression. Uber feels the same way and has rolled out “Compliments,” a feature that empowers happy riders to give drivers specific feedback about why they enjoyed their trip.
This new feature is available in the U.S. and can be used whenever a five-star rating is provided to drivers.
“Sometimes the smallest things — like playing the perfect song at the right time or lending a hand with a heavy piece of luggage — can make a big difference,” Mike Truong, a senior product manager with the company, said in a statement. “We want to make sure that message gets through.”
Uber users can provide ratings as usual, and if — and only if — they give their driver five stars, a new option will appear asking if a compliment should be delivered to the driver. Riders can express gratitude to the driver for providing excellent service or great conversation, being an expert navigator, having a cool car, blaring awesome music, being neat and tidy, offering great amenities, or simply going “above and beyond.”
After an undisclosed time delay, the driver will receive the compliment letting them know exactly what one of their riders appreciated about their work. “We want to give riders the opportunity to thank and recognize drivers for the things they do to make the experience more magical, memorable, and fun,” Truong said. “It’s a small step we’re taking to make saying ‘thank you’ easier for riders and to celebrate drivers who go the extra mile in their own special ways.”
Providing compliments to drivers through an app may seem unnecessary — after all, you can vocalize your appreciation to them while on the trip. But it’s one thing to receive a warm thank you and a perfect rating from a rider, and it’s another to know exactly what you’ve done to deserve it.
It should also be noted that the app still won’t let you tip your driver.
Of course, this new feedback feature is only for compliments, so if you have something negative to say, you’ll have to provide it in the feedback option that’s already available in the app.
And saying “thank you” isn’t new to the service, as people have already been able to leave written notes through the app, but this feature makes the process easier and may encourage more satisfied users to provide feedback.
This is simply Uber’s latest effort to improve the driver experience and toolkit, and comes after the launch of a new driver API — an app update that provides drivers with daily reports on performance, real-time speed, and other safety features — as well as ad-free Pandora access, and lists of nearby gas stations. The company is also trialing in-app phone support. In the ongoing battle between competitors in the space, drivers are a major focus, and giving them the resources to do their job well is essential to retaining a good workforce.
The update also follows what Jeff Jones, Uber’s newly installed president for ridesharing, penned in a LinkedIn post about the driver experience: “…I have a great deal of empathy for how challenging the work can be. It’s given me lots of ideas for how Uber can do better. We’ve seen that technology can make it easier to drive, with innovations like back-to-back trips and driver destinations. But there’s much more to be done…Demonstrating that we have ears as well as a mouth will be crucial to Uber’s long-term success.”
Beyond providing near-instant feedback to drivers, it’s unclear how Uber will leverage this data to improve morale. Will Compliments be used to grant rewards or re-evaluate how ratings are rendered and displayed? Or will it be more akin to the gold stars we received as children in kindergarten? It’s up to Uber to decide, but it’s likely we’ll hear more in the future.