Customer service can have very positive and direct rewards towards your bottom line in one area: Tipping. This is especially true with Postmates and Uber Eats.
I know a lot of people don't like delivering these two platofrms primarily because the tipping doesn't seem to keep up with that on Grubhub and Doordash. I actually kind of enjoy the challenge when working these two, and in fact the past few months Postmates has been my best paying hourly rate of all of the platforms.
Understanding Tipping on Uber Eats and Postmates
The part that makes Uber Eats and Postmates different is that the tips for these two show up later. Customers typically tip after the delivery on these two, although at the start of the year Uber Eats did begin offering the option to tip while placing the order.
Comment below with anything you find that helps you improve tips.
With tipping on Grubhub and Doordash, customer service is more of a long game. In a lot of ways it's more about defense. What I mean is, when the customer tips ahead of time and there's no in-app option to tip after the fact, your service won't impact your immediate tip. What I mean by defense is that you don't want your service to lead them to regret their tip. That just makes them less likely to tip the next time. If enough drivers cause enough customers to regret their tip, those platforms will gradually become less lucrative.
Folks, if you do a lot of deliveries for either Ubereats or Postmates, you really need to order food from them. It doesn't matter if you don't normally order deliveries. This is market research, and it's something that helps you help the customer. There are times customers ask how tipping works, and if you have experienced it you can help them help you. Get to know when and how tipping happens and pay attention to how the app prompts you after the delivery. The experience is worth the investment.
Tips on Improving Tips
Here's the main thing: People care about two things when they order food: That it gets there quickly and it gets there in good condition (preferable hot – or cold if it's cold stuff). Your main job is to demonstrate to them that you care about those two things. There are things that you can do before, during and after the dropoff. I try to take this to heart on all platforms, I think this is a commitment I make when I accept a delivery. I'm sure there's times I step up my game a bit more when a tip is on the line.
What you do at the restaurant can make all the difference in the world.
What you do at the restaurant can make a huge difference on your tips. Remember, the customer wants their food quickly and in good condition. You can make a difference in both of these.
Getting in and out quickly
Go back to this post on getting in and out of the restaurant quickly. The better you can do at getting out of their quicker, the higher the diner's satisfaction. Sometimes you have no control over the situation. If there's going to be a longer wait than expected, give the customer a heads up if possible. I find they don't normally mind the longer wait if they know about it. It creates a sense that you're on their side and that makes a difference. I'll usually send a text like this: “Hey, it's Ron with ____, just giving you a heads up that I'm at the restaurant waiting for your food. I'll let you know when it's out and get it to you ASAP.”
Secure the food.
One of the most important things you can do is make sure the food gets to the customer in good condition. Sometimes I find myself re-arranging the items in the bag if it's been done sloppily by the restaurant staff and I'm worried about things falling over or spilling. It doesn't hurt to keep plastic for wrapping drinks that might be at risk. I would rather lose the 40 cents worth of time doing this now than risk not getting a tip because of spills.
Some will say ‘that's not my job.' Baloney. Your job is to make a profit. You can let this go on prinicple but you'll lose money by doing it. Or you can make the restaurant staff do it because it's their job. Again, you're losing money by waiting for that to happen.
Finally, have the food protected by using a bag, cooler or both. Use the freaking bag people. One, it gets you in and out of the restaurant quickly, but it really does make a difference keeping the food warm. It's especially necessary if you're more than a few minutes to the customer or if it's cold enough outside. Along with that, I really suggest getting a cooler. Get some re-usable ice packs and keep them in a cooler. Keep the hot stuff hot and the cold stuff cold.
On your way: Get there quick and communicate
Customers can track you. The hungrier they are the more likely they are to do exactly that. They want their food! My experience is that they seem to do so more on Postmates and Uber Eats for whatever reason. Avoid any unnecessary stops.
Communicate, but don't overdo it. There's a balance between keeping them informed and pestering them. I usually limit it to a simple message as soon as I start
I usually send a text that just says something like “Hey, this is Ron with ____. Just letting you know the food just came out and I'll get it to you as quickly as possible.” Keep in mind – you've made a promise: Deliver on it (no pun intended). If you have voice enabled texting, learn how to use it, it's worth the time. If not, try to learn how to set up templates so that you can send your messages quickly.
It's a little trickier when you have multiple orders. If you have access to do so, send the second (or third) customer a note that says something like this: “Just a heads up, they are having me drop off another order along the way but I'll do my best to cut down on the delay for your order.” If they are tracking you and you don't seem to be going the right direction, letting them know that you're on top of things can cut down on their frustration.
When you arrive: It's all in the presentation.
Here's the deal: Most transactions where you hand off the food take only a couple of seconds. Don't worry about things to say, be friendly, say thank you, and that's what matters.
But it's in those few seconds that you can make or break your chances of getting a tip. Here are some suggestions:
- If possible, such as a house, park where they can see you. Get out, get the food and get to their doorstep as quickly as possible. If it's a situation where you need to call, time that whenever possible so neither of you has to wait for the other.
- Look good. Seriously, I see couriers all the time where their dress or cleanliness leaves me thinking, no way do I want you anywhere near my food.
- Bring your bag and/or cooler to the door. It's a bit more of a hassle but it's demonstrating to the customer you are taking care of the food. As many people that don't use bags, when they see you going above and beyond in taking care of their food, that makes a difference.
- Thank them quickly and leave. Don't ask for a tip, whatever you do. Don't ask for a tip, that can hurt your chances more than help them.
Some quick thoughts on appearance.
It really makes a difference to look professional. You often have two to five seconds with the customer and those few seconds can make or break you. If you look like a slob and you're carrying their food? That's turn your stomach kinda stuff.
Do you need to wear the uniform? I wrote about that more here. I think it's better than a lot of what I see couriers wearing. Personally, I'll never wear the logo of any of these companies because they're not my employers. It also creates confusion if I deliver for someone else.
But I do wear a uniform. I wear good slacks, a red dress shirt, and usually a fedora and often a bow tie. There's are reasons I've chosen these things:
- Good slacks and a nicer shirt indicate I'm a professional and I care about what I'm doing. That can make a difference in a split second.
- Red has been proven in a lot of studies to increase your chances of getting a tip.
- The hat and tie are unique. They make me stand out. Studies show things like how a flower in the hair can increase tips for women. I won't do the flower in my hair, but it's these little things that distinguish you.
- People feel better about their delivery when it's clear that you give a crap about what you are doing.
One bonus tip: Asking for a tip without asking for a tip.
I mentioned this just a bit ago. Never, never, never ask for a tip. It's unprofessional. It turns the customer off.
But you can ask for a tip without actually asking for one. It has to do with the psychology of tipping. People are used to tipping at the time they are paying. When they get the food, the only thing on their mind is, I'm ready to eat. It's too easy to forget about tipping when the tip comes after the delivery.
There is one thing you can do that can trigger that thought of leaving a tip. I find this true more with Uber than with Postmates, I think Postmates does a better job of prompting people afterwards. It helps to thank them and ask for a rating. I do this with a card that I leave with their food that simply thanks them and asks for feedback on how I did. That seems to work better than texting them the same thing though I've not fully measured it.
What this does is get them into the app. Once they go into the app, the app will ask them if they want to leave a tip. You're getting them to a point where it's the app asking for the tip, not you.
And, a couple other ideas…
Here are a couple of things I've tried. They required an investment and may or may not actually make a difference. I wonder at times if they can work against me, if it can make it look like I'm trying too hard, if that makes sense, but I'll throw them out all the same.
One thing that I think does help out is I carry some dog treats with me. If the customer has a dog, I ask if the dog can have a treat. I'm a bit of a dog lover anyway. I think it can make a difference, but I'm not sure.
I have experimented with leaving some dinner mints with the food. I'll pick up some Ande's mints and some small treat bags, leave a couple three mints along with my card. I found that seemed to make a bit more of a difference when I was doing a lot more Uber Eats, I'm not sure it worked as well with Postmates. Mostly I gave it up when it was getting hot out – melted gross chocolates might hurt more than they help, you know?
On really hot days I've brought water bottles with me and kept them in a cooler. There are some times offering a really cold bottle of water can help. I think it's helped, but ultimately it was just enough extra hassle that I never really kept up on it.
The Bottom Line
Here's my experience: the things that matter to the customer are the things that matter the most in getting a tip: Getting the food to them quickly and getting it to them in good condition. I think the reason that appearance matters is that it creates a greater sense of confidence that the food was taken care of. If you are demonstrating that you are a professional, you care about their food, and you care about getting it to them quickly, that will go further than anything else.
Even now, I wonder about eliminating those last tips. I'll leave them, because you may or may not have good experiences with them. I would caution you, don't leave the appearance that the tip is too important to you. Don't make yourself look desperate and don't make it look like you're trying too hard. What it can do is make it look like you care about the tip more than you care about their experience. There's a fine line there.
The main thing is, if you get the food to the customer in the way that they want it to get to them, you can have a greater chance of receiving better tips from the customer.