Today I want to discuss with you the issue of tipping and tip culture in Instacart and Postmates. I will start by stating that I work full time now as a delivery driver, around 20 to 30 hours a week, and this gives me time to be with my family as well as work according to my schedule.
One of the first things you have to remember as a delivery person, and since I am a man I will discuss this issue in a male tone, but if you are a woman, just change it to match your personal needs. To start o with, working for Instacart is a tip intensive income based business, so you need to know how to raise your tip rates to reach 20%. If you think customers will automatically give you a tip, forget it, you are in LaLa Land, the reality of the situation is that many customers don't bother to tip and there are a number of reasons which I will cover here.
When working for Postmates get ready to deliver anything and everything from three-star Michelin gourmet meals to delivering condoms. Postmates delivery men will do the shopping for the customer, so customers can just watch TV with their feet up and tap in an order over their smartphone app.
The best tipping situations come from tips included in the order, this does not happen too often, and in many cases, I have to wait days to see my tip. This is not an uncommon issue with Postmates and is part of the app design which does not promote tipping in a direct fashion. Part of corporate culture and customers are not too keen on tipping through the app; they prefer to get the delivery and then deliberate whether to tip in cash or take some time before remembering to tip via the app. Tipping can take on many forms, and come with an added contextual bonus such as "are you kidding me" to "that was great service, good night." Over time you will recognize with areas are good for tips and which are not, as well as return customers that you should steer away from and not accept their orders in the first place.
With Postmates deliveries I tend to show my customers during the delivery drop off that I am closing the order on my app, and offering them the time to consider rate ad tip me. I always smile when I finish a delivery and then leave for the next job. I never rush a drop-off, it takes me ten more seconds, but that is worth a lot if you just deliver and rush off you will lose some tips.
Always dress up a bit, I don't mean a tux and tie, I do mean wearing pressed clothing, fresh and clean, shaven or trimmed facial hair, clean hands, and shoes and look and act professionally. Don't be a wise guy, just smile nicely and be polite. You are not a delivery boy, you are a professional food delivery service, and if you look the part, you will get better tips.
Check the food before you leave the restaurant and make sure your customer is updated before the delivery drop-off that you checked the food and it is all there. If there are issues, such as missing items, you ask the customer to make the decisions, and that way avoids any uncomfortable situations.
Make sure you have cold and hot insulation bags in good condition so that all deliveries reach the customer with the right temperature. A hot pizza and cold Pinkberry will always earn you more tips and a better rating.
Maintain communications from the moment you arrive at the restaurant to when you reach the customer. That way they know what is happening with their order and if there are issues such as slow preparation times, bad traffic and entrance security issues, the customer will know what to decide.
Instacart is different from Postmates; it's a grocery delivery service that provides a service within two hours of placing the order. The shopper has to go through any number of interesting situations and awkward deliveries to provide a good service and in many cases, go untipped. This happens for a number of reasons, but the main one is Instacart's app that is totally tip unfriendly. Although in some instances you do get a good cash tip and in others, after lugging a $190 order, three heavy bags of groceries and a box of water bottles I ended up getting a $5 tip and a big smile as if the customer thought her tip was my lottery prize. The app is really bad in this case, and no matter how many times I have, together with others, tried to get Instacart to change it, the tipping feature is buried under so many layers that it is amazing that some customers find it all.
Before we discuss our issues with Instacart, let's look at how to increase the chances of tipping from a service standing of view.
First of all, always shop quickly, and make sure you have all the exact items on the shopping list. Customers are always happy to receive their orders sooner than the allotted time.
If you have received the customer's communications approval, then you can notify them of long lines and traffic issues. Customers like to know if there will be delays and if you word everything correctly, you can make them expect the delivery to be delayed and turn up in record time which is a psychological trick to get them to go WOW for the unexpected good surprise. This is called creating and beating expectations.
If your customer has not given you access to communicating with them, and you have a missing item, try to replace it with something as close to the original as possible. If there are too many missing items, contact support for help, or in the case of a suspected allergy to a substance such as peanuts, contact support for help.
When placing groceries, try to package them according to types of food, such as cans and bottles, fresh produce, bakery, etc. Also, make sure all soft goods are on the top, as well as certain vegetables and fruits, you don't want to put bananas under Mayo jars or bread under cans of corn.
For hot grocery items such as hot grilled chicken use an insulated bag, the same goes for ice-cream, but don't put them in the same bag!
When delivering the groceries, don't just drop off the bags and rush out, smile and say have a nice day. It helps the customer decide about the tip. You must also inform the customer that the service fee is not a tip.
Now we get to the Instacart frame-up
It seems that Instacart executives forget that their Jag's are bought from the courier service provided by their shoppers. This didn't stop them from screwing the shoppers in every way possible. One would think that in the age of competition they would nurture their shoppers rather than alienate them, but go figure what goes on in their minds.
It was a bleak day on the 22nd of September 2017 when Instacart issued a statement claiming to have improved their payment method and through some marketing and PR finagling tried to persuade shoppers that this change was a good one. Well, it seems that some of us do have a brain and we worked out mathematically that the new change would reduce shopper income by 30% and even up to 50% in some cases. What as their great change? It was a new service fee that would be added to every delivery. The service fee would replace the tip and as such shopper would get a flat rate and know what each delivery was worth. This failed miserably to provide sufficient income, and a number of shoppers banded together and started to launch a massive online and real-time boycott. They arranged talks with management and stated emphatically that they would not continue providing the service at a 50% reduction in income. This, of course, would mean "bye-bye Instacart" since without shopper they have nothing. An app is just a piece of software; you still need the human element to make it work in the real world. Instacart's management agreed to replace the tipping feature back into the app, although they were being "soooo" clever and hid it behind a number of layers. So, now we have to contend with customers that think the service fee is the tip. Hence, explaining to the customer about the tipping feature is important otherwise you will go bankrupt working for Instacart.