You ordered food from Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates, or Uber Eats but there’s a problem, and now you can’t get through to support.
You deliver as a contractor for Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates, or Doordash and the restaurant is closed. The driver support team is not answering the phone.
What’s going on here? The circumstances around the COVID-19 Coronavirus have presented a golden opportunity to these delivery companies and they’re dropping the ball.
The growth of delivery has a way of magnifying the flaws of the delivery company.
I’ve often heard it said something like getting more money won’t really change much for you, it will only make you more of what you already are. With the gig delivery companies, I think the added deliveries are doing the same thing. They’re shining light on the major issues in the company.
One of the largest issues has been support.
It all ties in with their business model. It’s all about providing this service with the lowest overhead possible. Keep labor and management costs down by using independent contractors. Automate support as much as possible. And then when you do need support, technology now makes it possible to farm that out overseas.
Using people costs money. If a person is needed instead of an automated process, you have to pay that person. At least with your couriers you can handle it with a rate per delivery. If you use contractors, you don’t have to worry about managment or HR costs. There are no taxes or insurance costs.
But the cost savings really becomes an issue when you farm your support out to a third party call center, especially an overseas call center. Now you run into several issues. Your support staff are employees of the call center, not of Doordash. They don’t really have any authority to do more than a few things.
Unfortunately, when you do things on the cheap, it comes back to bite you in the butt.
That’s what’s happening right now. That’s why it’s hard if not impossible to get any support when it comes to getting a delivery or making a delivery for any of these gig delivery companies.
This pandemic has been a worst case scenario for Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates and Uber Eats. That’s because many of their overseas support are in countries that have been harder hit by the virus than we have. Doordash has relied heavily on a Phillipine call center in particular, and I’ve heard one or more of the other companies use the same call center.
Guess what nation is on a complete quarantine lockdown right now? As in no going anywhere for non-essential services.
Providing support for American food delivery is probably not considered an essential service. That’s just a hunch.
If you don’t have the infrastructure to support it, work from home is not an option.
I worked in the telecom industry for 20 years, selling telecommunications systems such as the ones that call centers use. There’s a big difference between a system that can accommodate a large group of in house workers and one that allows those workers to work from home. There’s also a lot of work that has to be done on the data network. It also requires that your workers have access at home to a quality internet signal and with the right hardware.
All of that requires a substantial investment by the call center. I don’t have inside information to what these centers are using, but I’m making a hunch here. If these companies were making the investments needed to have this kind of technology, it’s probably a safe bet they would then be required to pay more than what Doordash and Postmates are willing to pay.
And even if they wanted to upgrade today? It’s not happening. The IT and telecom guys needed to upgrade the tech are locked down.
The 12 Billion Dollar Question is: Why wasn’t Doordash or any of the others ready for this?
The latest information I can find is that Doordash is worth 12 Billion Dollars.
The inability to address issues and answer calls from customers or couriers could cripple this company. In the moment of its greatest opportunity with the almost forced explosion of delivery orders, these companies are not answering the call.
So why weren’t they prepared? It’s not like they couldn’t see this coming.
I know of large companies that have fully stocked and equipped buildings sitting empty, all as part of their emergency preparedness. If something happens to their headquarters, they have an alternate place to go. These companies call themselves tech companies. In tech, one of the most important words you can know is redundancy. If your data service or your servers go down, you need to have something else ready to take its place.
How can a tech company not have been watching this scenario unfold and not have realized that “oh crap, we may lose our call center support” and not have done anything to allow them to adapt?
How can ALL FOUR OF THEM have missed this?
I’m dumbfounded by that one.
Because here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to happen. The technology is there to shift to using people at home. There are CERTAINLY people at home available to step in. I know it takes a hell of an investment, but it’s a small investment compared to potentially toppling your company.
@Grubhub @UberEats @DoorDash @Postmates this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to cement yourself as the leader but you gotta deliver. Pun intended. If you don't take up to world class support quickly this thing will crush you— Entre Courier (@EntreCourier) March 18, 2020
Is there still time?
I hate to use the term opportunity when talking about this pandemic. But as an industry, it IS an opportunity. You have an awareness of food delivery like never before. People are ordering for delivery that may have never considered it.
Gig delivery companies already have a customer satisfaction issue. No one is doing a great job here. While people love getting food delivered from places you never would have expected you could get delivery from, the issues are a real problem.
Keep in mind the importance of a first impression. If the support and the experience is terrible, a bad first impression is a disastrous thing.
Maybe there’s time for one of these companies to fix things. To be fair, I’ve had a little easier time getting support from Grubhub than with anyone. Delivery will probably spike for a little while. What happens two to four weeks in when people are running out of money?
So, Matt Maloney, Tony Xu, Dara Khosrawshahi, and Bastian Lehmann: You’ve got a small window to set yourselves apart. Are you going to take it, or are you going to let this thing magnify all the problems related to your business model?