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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Uber's training video for drivers (see below) emphasizes the importance of asking the passenger for his name instead of asking if the passenger is, for example, Chris. This is because in the case of the latter, the person can pretend to be Chris while the former confirms that you have the correct passenger (and in my 100+ trips so far, I have had two instances of the wrong passengers entering my car).

For several days, I followed Uber's best practice. Unfortunately, my rating from 100+ trips plummeted from 4.96 to 4.85, and the only change I made was Uber's best practice. Before, I would simply ask if the passenger was XYZ. Asking for the passenger's name sounded awkward, and passengers would consistently give me weird looks. I also frequently received comments about how they never were asked for their name. So it seems likely that Uber's best practice isn't in the best interest of customer service.

Horrified by the sudden drop in my rating, I reverted back to asking if the passenger was XYZ. Sure enough, my rating started to climb back up (unfortunately, it's easier for a rating to quickly drop than it is to increase due to the way mathematical averages work), and looking at my 24 hour reports on my dashboard confirmed I was back to getting 5-star ratings.

The way I look at this is that while Uber's "best" practice may better protect me from driving the wrong passenger, the increased protection is marginal; most importantly though is that this marginally increased protection is not worth the decrease in ratings. What Uber advises against--asking if the passenger is XYZ--seems actually to be the better practice because it's warmer, but more importantly, I'd think it's still legally sound because if someone wants to pretend he is XYZ, he is now blatantly lying with deceitful intent.
  1. Would you agree/disagree? Why?
  2. For those who are aware of Uber's "best" practice, how have you been confirming your passengers?
  3. Is there a way to follow Uber's "best" practice that isn't awkward/cold? I've tentatively decided to entirely forego this "best" practice.
 

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Uber's training video for drivers (see below) emphasizes the importance of asking the passenger for his name instead of asking if the passenger is, for example, Chris. This is because in the case of the latter, the person can pretend to be Chris while the former confirms that you have the correct passenger (and in my 100+ trips so far, I have had two instances of the wrong passengers entering my car).

For several days, I followed Uber's best practice. Unfortunately, my rating from 100+ trips plummeted from 4.96 to 4.85, and the only change I made was Uber's best practice. Before, I would simply ask if the passenger was XYZ. Asking for the passenger's name sounded awkward, and passengers would consistently give me weird looks. I also frequently received comments about how they never were asked for their name. So it seems likely that Uber's best practice isn't in the best interest of customer service.

Horrified by the sudden drop in my rating, I reverted back to asking if the passenger was XYZ. Sure enough, my rating started to climb back up (unfortunately, it's easier for a rating to quickly drop than it is to increase due to the way mathematical averages work), and looking at my 24 hour reports on my dashboard confirmed I was back to getting 5-star ratings.

The way I look at this is that while Uber's "best" practice may better protect me from driving the wrong passenger, the increased protection is marginal; most importantly though is that this marginally increased protection is not worth the decrease in ratings. What Uber advises against--asking if the passenger is XYZ--seems actually to be the better practice because it's warmer, but more importantly, I'd think it's still legally sound because if someone wants to pretend he is XYZ, he is now blatantly lying with deceitful intent.
  1. Would you agree/disagree? Why?
  2. For those who are aware of Uber's "best" practice, how have you been confirming your passengers?
  3. Is there a way to follow Uber's "best" practice that isn't awkward/cold? I've tentatively decided to entirely forego this "best" practice.
I ask them their name. If it's a common one I ask them mine.

Sometimes they are surprised and I explain to them that it's all to easy for someone to steal an Uber ride unless it's done that way.

So if their name is Chris I say "So Mike gets in the car. He didn't order an Uber but when I ask him 'Are you Chris' he says 'Sure, I'm Chris' and off he goes on YOUR ride."

They are usually happy that I'm watching out for them (actually I'm watching out for ME of course.)

Just make it all about how you're trying to make sure THEY don't get shafted and they're usually pretty happy then.

I'm not as concerned if I'm at a house or something but I always make sure I've got the right pax when there's a crowd or outside a business where another pax could easily be waiting for an Uber.

I think the benefit outweighs any rating hit and it hasn't happened to me nut if you drive 10 miles with someone who didn't even order a trip and it's canceled on you and the money taken away you'll agree. I'm not even sure what insurance would do if you had a wreck and that person wasn't even a customer who just got in the wrong car but one who intentionally stole the ride.

I would argue it could just be coincidence anyway about the ratings. Maybe during that brief period you just picked up a few folks who think 4 is good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I'm not discounting the fact it could be coincidence. Narrowing down the causes of rating hits is so difficult due to the absence of transparency of rider ratings/comments combined with the high risk of experimenting changes with a large enough sample size.

I did the whole explanation thing when the situation called for it, which was frequent. The explanation seemed tiresome and started the trips on a bad note (I don't think it's a bad thing, but the body language/tonality change of passengers suggest they feel otherwise; the problem of course could be my delivery). But most importantly, I'm too afraid to experiment again until I have 500+ trips under my belt so a few days of experimentation won't have too big of an impact on my overall rating. I'm also shocked that most of my passengers have never had to answer that question for Uber drivers.
 

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Yeah, I'm not discounting the fact it could be coincidence. Narrowing down the causes of rating hits is so difficult due to the absence of transparency of rider ratings/comments combined with the high risk of experimenting changes with a large enough sample size.

I did the whole explanation thing when the situation called for it, which was frequent. The explanation seemed tiresome and started the trips on a bad note (I don't think it's a bad thing, but the body language/tonality change of passengers suggest they feel otherwise; the problem of course could be my delivery). But most importantly, I'm too afraid to experiment again until I have 500+ trips under my belt so a few days of experimentation won't have too big of an impact on my overall rating. I'm also shocked that most of my passengers have never had to answer that question for Uber drivers.
If you don't have many trips you're rating will bounce around anyway. It's very unlikely it will stay over 4.9.

The delivery could be it. I make it humorous as I pretend to be the (illegal) pax saying "Sure, I'm Chris!"---think of this commercial when the date says "Bonjour".
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You make good points, Fuzzyelvis, in your last two posts. I'll definitely retry my experiment when I have 500+ trips under my belt. For now, the fact that it seems the vast majority of drivers don't ask this question makes me think that the worst-case scenario is highly unlikely, and I'll ride it out (no pun intended) until I've accumulated 500 trips.

I'd also like to hear the thoughts from other San Diego Uber veterans.
 

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The only time I ask a passenger's name is in front of a bar when there are likely other passengers looking for their Uber driver, too. I would also probably do it if I picked up at the airport, unless I called them first and made arrangements as to how many there were and where to meet up. Otherwise, I'm picking up people at their homes and it's pretty clear they are my passenger.
 

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You could also use a generic, gender-neutral name and ask every passenger if they are "Joe" even though you're looking for "Barry." They would then respond with, "No, I'm Barry." Then you would say, "Oh, right, that's what I meant, hop in."
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The only time I ask a passenger's name is in front of a bar when there are likely other passengers looking for their Uber driver, too. I would also probably do it if I picked up at the airport, unless I called them first and made arrangements as to how many there were and where to meet up. Otherwise, I'm picking up people at their homes and it's pretty clear they are my passenger.
That makes sense. In situations where it's reasonably likely to pick up the wrong passenger, your passenger should understand why you'd ask that question. However, asking that question when picking up passengers at their homes would be awkward. That's probably why I had lower ratings--I was blindly following Uber's "best" practice, although I don't completely regret doing so because I know, as opposed to speculate, firsthand that it likely causes lower ratings.
 

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Me: What's your name?

Pax: Ashley? Why?

Me:Just making sure no one's getting a free ride on your dime

Pax: wow thanks for checking! Do people honestly try to get free rides? That would of sucked to deal with that.


They think I'm doing it for them. Nnaaww beezy I'm trying get paid lol!
 

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Me: What's your name?

Pax: Ashley? Why?

Me:Just making sure no one's getting a free ride on your dime

Pax: wow thanks for checking! Do people honestly try to get free rides? That would of sucked to deal with that.

They think I'm doing it for them. Nnaaww beezy I'm trying get paid lol!
Pax: Why?

Seriously? Because you're getting in my effing car and I don't know who the hell you are. Wtf?

That would be like going the doctor and being offended when they ask your name when you check in. Or any other appointment. Ridiculous!

Why? Smh
 

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I almost always ask them for their name. The exception being when I pick up at a house and it's very obviously them. If I'm out in a business district I ALWAYS ask. I say "hi! Can I confirm your name" they then tell me their name and if it's matches I say "perfect" and begin the trip. I've had maybe 2 people comment on it. I'm averaging a 4.9 after 3.5 months.

I've had my Passenger picked up by another Uber driver while that drivers passengers were outside wondering why their app was saying "on trip". That poor driver just gave a free ride because she made a dumb mistake. I don't want to learn the hard way.

I've also had people in downtown jump in my car acting like they knew what they were doing but luckily I confirmed the name. They played dumb but it was SO obvious they were trying to score a free ride during the end of the night surge.
 

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Keep it simple. If you suspect they are not the correct rider to input their destination. If they are not the right rider, whatever address they input on their app, it won't show up on your app.
 

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It depends. If they are at a house, I don't ask, because who else would be at the house where the app pinged me from? I just say "Hi Joseph". If they are at the mall or a train station, when they come up, I would say "Would you please verify your name?" And if they say "Joseph," I say "Good, I wouldn't want anyone else to take your Uber." Sometimes they come up already knowing my name, and that is also a clue not to ask them theirs, but just to greet them. Solid 4.94 rating after more than 1500 trips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks all. I like the keywords, "confirm" and "verify." That simplifies the question: "May I confirm your name?" I had been asking instead, "May I have your name please?" The keyword makes clear why you're asking, making the conversation smooth.

When picking up groups, I'll simply reword the question: "May I confirm who requested an Uber?"
 
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