There are many delivery services that will bring you food and drinks, do your grocery shopping for you, and give you a ride to where you need to be for a fee. It’s nice to open your front door and see the things that you have a hankering for as if it magically appeared. As a food and package delivery person, I want to fill you in on the other side of the door.
Picking up and delivering food, groceries, etc. doesn’t sound hard, and for the most part, it isn’t. My task as a driver is to pick up and drop off food ASAP, which I do without issues most of the time. I make sure the order is correct by comparing my information to the receipt on the bag(s). Occasionally, a restaurant employee wants to see the order number from the app, just to make sure I’m not some random chick off the street trying to steal food. I wish more restaurants did that, but I’d estimate that 90% don’t.
If there is a problem, it’s easy to call or text my customer to keep them informed of what’s going on with their order. I also text the patron before I pick up an order asking if they want any extra condiments, sauces, etc. Most of the time, I don’t get a reply, but most customers appreciate the text. I’ve had a few interesting requests, the latest being gluten-free soy sauce. I didn’t even know that was an option! Live and learn.
I do things like texting the customer before I pick up, etc. because customer service seems so dead these days, and I don’t want to contribute to that. Most of my deliveries are contactless, so I see or talk to maybe one out of every ten customers. I take a photo of the delivery, which gets sent to the customer, alerting them that their order has been delivered and is on their porch or wherever they requested it to be left. Some people don’t even want me to knock on the door or ring the bell, mostly because they have a baby, who may be sleeping. No problem. Then I wait for another delivery alert. Easy peasy right?
THE CHALLENGES AND HOW TO HELP ME AVOID THEM:
Let me tell you a couple of stories. Keep in mind that these are solely MY experiences, and don’t necessarily generalize to other delivery drivers.
While you are patiently (or impatiently) waiting for your food, I am navigating an area to which I probably have never been. The company provides a GPS on the app, and it’s generally accurate, but sometimes I think it’s sniffing glue.
For example, I got an order notice to pick up from a restaurant and deliver it to a certain address. My GPS led me down a rocky, dirt trail, in which I got stuck in the mud. I grew up in a small town with dirt roads, so I knew how to try to get it unstuck without chains or boards. After a few minutes of trying my small-town tricks, I realized that I needed to find help.
The neighborhood I was in reminded me of a tent city, though there were some manufactured homes as well. I’m one of those people who are comfortable around anyone unless my “creep radar” goes off, so I wasn’t feeling scared or anything. I just found myself wishing for good things for the residents and crossing my fingers that I could find someone to help me.
I started walking down said rocky, dirt trail and was fortunate enough to come across a man and his wife, chatting with someone. I went to them and told them my situation, and the man didn’t hesitate; he immediately followed me to the tar pit where my SUV was. He had a chain and pulled me out. I had to cancel my customer’s order – I wonder how many drivers have had to say, “I’m sorry, but I am stuck in the mud and can’t make it to your home” – but she got a full refund. The man that helped me wouldn’t take any money, so I gave them the food I was trying to deliver.
With another delivery, the customer put in the restaurant name and address, but my GPS kept leading me to a supermarket. I called the customer and asked him if this restaurant was near this grocery store. He told me that he didn’t know and that he had never ordered from them before. That’s fine…I looked up the place on the net. It turned out that this place was located in another city, about 200 miles from where I was. I called the customer to ask what phone number he called for his order, and sure enough, the prefix was from that far-away city. We were both able to laugh it off, but please ensure you order food from a place within the city you live in.
You know where you live. Directions to your house seem simple to you. But remember that I probably haven’t been to your home or business before and that sometimes my GPS gets back on the glue sniffing habit.
Yes, I sometimes get lost.
Whether it’s my idiotic GPS or that your address is not specific, I might be late. The app allows the customer to put in detailed information about how to get to my destination (a.k.a. you). Some customers just put a street address when they live in an apartment building (I get no apartment number or gate code). Sometimes, if it’s a business, they forget to share the suite number.
Going back to the subject of customer service, I promise I will inform you if there is a problem. Communication with customers is so important! Most of the time, the person just forgot to put in details because they live there and it’s an “easy” find. Well, go into an unfamiliar apartment complex that doesn’t have well-marked buildings or apartment numbers, and I promise you, I will call. It is the same with businesses and even some houses. There are so many new subdivisions popping up, and sometimes the house number is not placed yet or there are pretty bushes blocking the house number. Yes, you will see me drive by in both directions trying to find your house or suite number. If I can’t, I’ll give you a call. Please don’t be too mean. I’m doing the best I can. My favorite comment is, “I saw you drive by a couple of times.” CALL ME if that happens, so I don’t waste time for both of us driving around, looking like an idiot. The app gives both the driver and the customer text and phone numbers to reach each other, which are not the actual personal numbers of either party. I couldn’t stalk you if I wanted to! Plus, you can look at the app to see where I am.
My “favorites” are the extra-luxurious apartments that some people are blessed enough to live in. Not only do I need a gate code, but sometimes I need a code to get into the building. I’ll tell you I’m here, and if I have an issue with the codes, I will call you. But PLEASE include any codes or tell me if I have to do a handstand or whatever to get in. And please tell me the building number because they don’t all coordinate with apartment numbers (i.e., apartment 1231 is actually in building 5).
The same goes for businesses. I can probably find your business park pretty easily, but if you don’t tell me the name of the company or the suite number, I will call you! I don’t leave paid-for food on a doorstep if I’m not 100% comfortable about it. So PLEASE be as detailed as you can! I’d rather leave the food with a reception desk than leave it outside in 100+ degree weather where anyone can just take it.
Most of my deliveries go without a hitch. For the occasional issue, such as the restaurant doesn’t have your order ready yet, I’ll let you know. Keep in mind that you can cancel your order if I’m taking too long, or if you just want to brighten my day. I can also cancel your order for a number of reasons. Just don’t be a jerk, and be as specific as you can.
And remember that I am a real human being, not just the little car on your screen.