Have you ever had a Doordash driver support rep tell you something that just sounds off?
Do you have to do what they tell you? Should you even believe whatever they say?
What do you do with what the support rep tells you? Because here's the deal: Sometimes they say stuff that is flat out wrong.
- They tell you that you can get deactivated for rejecting deliveries.
- They'll tell you that you have to go back to a restaurant and wait for the right food when the order was messed up (without offering compensation).
- The customer entered the wrong address, the actual address is several miles away, and they'll say you have to take it to that address.
We know all those things are wrong. But, someone from Doordash said it, so it has to be right, doesn't it?
This article is part of our Doordash Delivery Driver series: Everything you need to know about being a Dasher. At the end of this article we'll have a list of other articles in the series.
Here's the deal folks: When you are dealing with Doordash driver support, either by phone or by chat, you have to take those things with a grain of salt.
The reality is that whoever you are talking to probably has no more authority on the matter than you do.
Here are some important reasons to never totally trust what Doordash driver support tells you:
1. Doordash Driver Support Reps are Not Supervisors
The role of the care representatives is not to act as your direct or even indirect supervisors.
In fact, in an independent contractor relationship, a supervisory role is a big no-no. It's one of the first things that the courts look for when trying to determine if a company should have classified you as an employee.
The last thing Doordash needs is to be forced to re-classify their drivers as employees, which is why they sunk more than $30 million California's Prop 22 campaign.
They cannot tell you what you are supposed to do. Driver support cannot control your work.
A lot of people treat their word as gospel. They see these folks as their bosses. Don't. They have no authority over you.
2. Their main role is NOT driver support.
The support reps you deal with are primarily customer care representatives. In fact that's what I called them in the original title of this article.
I changed the title because it created some confusion. People were thinking this article was about the customer service side of Doordash.
I think it's safe to say that Doordash creates enough confusion themselves in how they handle their support. Driver care? Customer care? It's really all the same. Generally you have the same people working with contractors as are working with customers.
The main objective of Doordash support is to ensure the completion of delivery. They are there to handle any issues that arise for any particular delivery. This means they help the customer, help the driver, and sometimes even the restaurant.
Their only authority is to facilitate the delivery. That's it. It's also the only thing they are trained to do (more on that in a bit).
If they sound confused when you get into topics not related to delivery, this is why.
If Doordash is paying people to handle problems with the customer, why not throw driver support in there? Why not save some money?
The problem is, when driver support is not the priority, guess what gets last priority in training? It's an afterthought.
3. Doordash Care Reps are Not Doordash Employees.
Think about that for a moment.
We're thinking of them as supervisors. We're repeating what they say as though it's Doordash scripture. Yet, they are not Doordash employees.
Care representatives are employees of the call center that Doordash contracts with. You may find a rare exception, however in most cases they are not directly employed by Doordash.
Let me repeat that. Doordash support reps are employees of the call center, not of Doordash. Doordash has contracted with the call center, not the individual reps.
This is a very common practice in the call center industry. My daughter has worked in a call center representing some major brands. People on the other end of the line thought she was an employee of that brand, but she never was. She was an employee of the call center. It's the same thing with Doordash reps.
They do REPRESENT Doordash in the role that they fill.
It's not all that different in how you REPRESENT Doordash while delivering for them. That doesn't make you an employee, and it doesn't give you authority to speak for Doordash.
In the same way, representing Doordash as a driver (or customer) support rep does not make them an employee, nor does it give them authority over you.
What that means is, care reps have no more authority to tell drivers anything than you are I do. They are not speaking from a place of authority.
4. There is a language barrier issue
Sometimes when a rep says something that seems off, they may not know exactly what they are saying.
Most of the Doordash reps work overseas. English is not their first language.
It's hard enough to communicate well in my own language. Heck, I had to change the title because it was confusing.
Imagine trying to communicate things in a second language to people who think differently, have differing priorities and a different relationship to the same company. Doordash reps are not Doordash employees, but they are employees of the call center. They may think of us as employees. They may not understand how independent contractors work. Or they may think in terms of the legalities in their own country.
I have all the respect in the world for these folks for being able to do as well as they do. They deal with a lot of issues (and put up with a lot of crap) handling delivery issues from halfway around the world. I wish I could say that I were anywhere close to being as fluent in another language as most of them are in English.
But the thing is, English is a tricky language. It's not intuitive or logical at times. Sometimes the words don't translate.
Reps may be thinking of something one way, but we hear it another. You've probably sometimes struggled to get someone to understand what you're even asking for. Sometimes I've struggled to explain that I'm a Dasher and not a customer.
One example is completion rates verses acceptance rates.
I know of several drivers who have been told that if you reject deliveries, your completion rate will go down.
That's not the policy.
But I can't blame anyone for mixing that up. A lot of Dashers think acceptance and completion are the same thing.
Think about it. If you reject an offer, you could say you didn't complete it. If it confuses us, imagine the challenge of deciphering all this when it's not your primary language to begin with.
So the thing is, when you say acceptance, that can seem like completion. Remember, they're not trained to supervise, and their primary role is to help customers. It's very possible they've never been trained how Dasher stats work or why they're important.
There are so many moving pieces going on when this happens.
My whole point here is, I don't think they're intentionally providing wrong information here. It's often that they haven't been trained about Dasher stats, and on top of that the language barrier makes it hard for them to understand how acceptance and completion are different things.
5. Doordash hasn't trained them well enough to handle our issues
I've worked with call centers in a number of capacities. I've been a support rep myself. In my telecom career I sold phone systems to call centers. I had to learn their operations and objectives so that I could help them adapt their phone system to those things.
Some call centers have very extensive training regimens. They train you for weeks before turning you loose on the phones.
Other places might train a new hire for a couple hours before turning them loose. It's essentially here's your script, here's how to look up answers, here's your phone, get to work.
I don't know the specifics of how Doordash does things. One thing that does seem clear to me is that Doordash does things on the cheap when it comes to any work done for them. Look no further than the $2 delivery offers to understand that one, right?
That makes me think Doordash is likely to go the cheap and easy route. If it costs less to use a call center that provides no training, guess who they'll use? Give the poor reps a book and an orientation and set them loose.
If something comes up outside of the narrow scope of what they're trained for, that they can't find an answer for in their book, now what do they do?
I don't know about you but I've never been successful at getting a supervisor when I've asked. That tells me they have little support. In other words, there's no one to help them.
At that point, with no support, about all they can do is wing it.
Fake it till you make it.
6. Typical call center metrics often mean actually helping the caller isn't the most important thing.
You want to know the most important measure of performance in most call centers?
Handle time. How quickly can you be done with the phone call?
When you notice that someone in a call center is trying to get off the phone quickly (or they hang up on you for no reason) that's why.
I've experienced that as a tech support rep. I've seen it in the centers I supported and noticed it in my daughter's reviews from the center she worked for.
The one thing that seems to have more to do with when a person gets a raise (or keeps their job) is how quickly they can get the call handled.
To be fair, I don't know the specifics with Doordash. But given the combination of the lack of help that they receive themselves, the lack of training, and pressure to get the call handled quickly, it becomes real easy for someone to make something up.
For a lot of people in a lot of call centers, it's easier to make something up than it is to dig into what the real issue is. In a lot of cases, that's the best way to keep your job.
Think about it. The call center isn't run by Doordash. It's not managed by Doordash employees. If driver support actually helps you out, that's okay. But if they take too long helping you out, now it's costing them money.
Which one do you think is more important to call center management?
I don't know the inner workings of Doordash call support. However, nothing I see gives me any confidence that Doordash would do things any differently here.
The problem is NOT with the representatives. It's with Doordash
Here's the thing about that. This is Doordash's M.O.: Do things on the cheap when it comes to the people you are working with. That includes not investing much in the reps or equipping them to actually help us out.
I can't help but feel for the people who work these call centers. I feel particularly bad when I hear about Dashers cussing reps out about their pay. They have to put up with us griping over “only” getting two or three bucks. Chances are we're being paid far better than they are.
But they have to listen to us say it's not enough. I wonder how many of our complaints about pay feel a lot like listening to spoiled rich kids.
It's not the fault of the reps. The issue here is that Doordash is trying to do support on the cheap. And in so doing, they are not supporting their drivers, support reps OR customers well.
Update: As I watch how Doordash spins things, I think there's a culture thing here as well. Case in point: In May 2021, Doordash promised a new perk for Top Dashers. All they did is re-word an existing top Dasher benefit.
Is this only a Doordash problem?
I'm sure it's not. Most if not all of the major delivery apps utilize overseas call centers.
I do know that Grubhub has a driver care team that does still appear to be stateside and they do have local driver specialists. (Another update: It does appear that Grubhub has backed off of their local support. Some indications are they may be using the same call center as Doordash now)
Uber Eats has their Greenlight hubs. I've been able to get answers talking to a real person there. (Even still another update: that level of support was lost for awhile, at least in my market, when they shut down the hubs during the pandemic).
Doordash does have a number of local offices. Usually they are more sales offices, or are equipped to do the bare minimum with drivers. More recently their Dash marts offer some access, however, good luck actually getting ahold of a local representative who can help you more than give you a replacement red card.
When I did a comparison of different gig delivery companies, one of the hardest things to compare was support. That's because they're all horrible. It got even worse during the pandemic. With any of the major food delivery companies, it's extremely difficult to talk to someone who has the authority to give you a definitive answer.
Ultimately, the problem is very much related to their business model.
Gig economy work is all about trying to handle a very labor intensive industry while keeping that labor cost at a minimum.
In the midst of the pandemic, which was a perfect case scenario for the third party delivery industry, these gig companies have been bleeding money. Doordash lost $312 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone.
The business model requires Doordash to keep their costs low. In my experience, they pay the least of all to drivers. So it's no surprise that they would structure their support so that it costs as little as possible. When the pandemic hit, they were unprepared and unwilling to invest in tech that would allow support to work from home, which created major challenges for drivers for several months
Doordash has no wiggle room when it comes to paying for things. They do driving on the cheap, they do their call center on the cheap. .
They get what they pay for.
Ultimately it's an unsustainable model.
When a Doordash rep says something that seems off, take it with a grain of salt.
I'm not saying any are intentionally lying.
But I wouldn't be surprised if some are. They might feel that ‘faking it til you make it' is the only way to get a call handled when they haven't been trained for it (and they have no help from supervisors).
In the end, you want to make sure you know the role of the person you receive your information from.
Is that representative an actual employee of the company?
Are they in a position of authority? Are they speaking from an area that is within their role in the company?
Ask these questions before you start to take anything too seriously that they tell you.