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Four Reasons Not to Trust What Doordash Customer Care Tells You

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I've seen this many times. Someone reports they were told something by a Doordash care representative that seemed off.

  • A Doordash told them they have to accept so many orders.
  • They're told they are required to go back to the restaurant when the restaurant messed up the order (without additional compensation).
  • The customer entered the wrong address, the actual address is several miles away, and a care rep will 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? Here's the deal folks: When you are dealing with a care representative, either by phone or by chat, you have to take those things with a grain of salt.

Here are some important things you have to understand when it comes to care representatives when working with Doordash.

1. Doordash Care 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 is one of the primary indicators that courts will look at when determining whether or not contractors should have been classified as employees.

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 into campaigning for Prop 22 in California.

The one role of customer care workers is to take care of delivery related issues. That's all they are trained for, and that's all they're equipped to handle.

They can communicate with customers and restaurants. They have the authority to provide resolutions when a delivery cannot be completed.

However, it is not part of their job description to be supervisors.

2. Doordash Care Reps are Not Doordash Employees.

Call center reps in crowded cubicles who are often not actually employees
Doordash support representatives are actually employees of the call center that Doordash contracts with.

Think about that for a moment. 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.

Care representatives are employees of the call center, not of Doordash.

They do REPRESENT Doordash in the role that they fill.

In the same way that you REPRESENT Doordash while you are in your role as a delivery contractor. That doesn't make you an employee, and it doesn't make the care reps employees.

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.

3. There is a language barrier issue

Doordash rep trying to overcome language barrier with a Dasher.
It's hard enough to communicate ideas in the same language, but then throw in the language barriers that go with different languages and cultures, and it's hard for one to know how to explain a concept to the other.

Most of the Doordash reps work overseas. English is not their first language.

I've worked in call centers. It's hard enough doing so in my own language. I have to give the reps a lot of credit for putting up with what they put up with, all in what is for most a second language.

The thing is, I think that too often you have someone trying to communicate an idea, in their mind and from their understanding, but they're trying to communicate it to another person in another language and another culture.

Sometimes the words don't translate.

They could be thinking one thing, but how it comes across to the driver on the other end of the phone is something totally different.

Heck, go into any Reddit or Facebook group and try to decipher what people are saying. It's hard enough getting a concept across in your own language.

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 think about it – if you reject an offer it's easy to say you didn't complete it. It confuses a lot of people here, so imagine the challenge of deciphering this whole completion/acceptance thing.

When you add this to the fact that you have people who very likely have never delivered for Doordash themselves, and they exist in a different legal structure. That can be an issue when it comes to understanding the whole independent contractor thing.

If you've dealt with care much, you know there are times where they are struggling to understand just what it is we are talking about. I've had times that I've spent several minutes just trying to get someone to understand that I'm a Dasher, not a customer.

My whole point here is, it's often not that someone is trying to intentionally mislead you. They either don't understand the issue or they don't know how to explain it across the language barrier.

4. They aren't trained well enough to handle our issues

How thoroughly is Doordash training their reps?
When call centers are doing things on the cheap (which fits Doordash's M.O.) one of the first things to go is quality training

I've worked with call centers in a number of capacities. I've been a support rep myself. In my telecom career I provided the phone systems for call centers, so I had to spend time understanding their setup so I could help them adapt their phone system to it.

I've seen very extensive training regimens where they train you for weeks before turning you loose on the phones. I've seen places where a new hire is essentially given a script and a phone and away they go.

What I see of Doordash is indicative of the latter. I don't know exactly how things work, but everything screams at me cheap and easy training. Give the poor reps a book and an orientation and set them loose.

If something comes up outside of what's in the book or outside the narrow scope of what they're trained for, now what to they do?

At that point, they have to either wing it, get a supervisor, or explain that's not their place to answer. I've noticed that getting a supervisor is next to impossible. The default then is they have to wing it.

Fake it till you make it.

Think about how their job performance is measured.

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 they are quick to get off the phone (or chat) with you, that's probably why. If it takes too long to handle an issue, they get bad marks. Sometimes keeping your job in a call center all comes down to keeping the call short.

In fact short handle times are often more important than actually resolving the reason for the call. I can't say if that's the case with Doordash. Then again, how many times do you get disconnected quickly?

What do you think?

It's easier to make something up than it is to dig into what the real issue is. That way you can get off the phone quickly and keep your job.

The issue with lower quality call centers.

The huge problem with low quality call centers is that the poor folks on the line with you are king of between a rock and a hard place. They're discouraged from actually resolving the issue if resolving the issue keeps them on the phone too long.

Again, I don't know the exact details of the working conditions at the call centers contracted with Doordash. But I've seen enough of how call centers work.

My experience is that the best way to tell if you've got a low quality center is the availability (or lack thereof) of a supervisor. When they're not willing or allowed to escalate the call to someone who can get you the right answer, you're dealing with a low quality center.

Want to guess how I feel about the center Doordash is working with? It's more about handling support cheaply than it is with quality.

The problem is NOT with the representatives. It's with Doordash

Too often we're blaming the wrong people. The problem with Doordash care isn't with the reps. It's with how Doordash approaches customer and Dasher support, trying to do it on the cheap

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.

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 feel bad for the folks that have to put up with our calls. And then they have to listen to drivers complain about how a delivery is “only” two or three bucks. That's often a lot more money to them than it is to us, and they're hearing us say it's not enough?

I don't think most of us have any concept just how different the standard of living is. To a lot of them, our complaints about pay feel a lot like listening to spoiled rich kids.

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.

It's not an issue with the support reps here. It's an issue with the company.

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.

Doordash does have a number of local offices. Usually they are more sales offices, or are equipped to do the bare minimum with drivers. Good luck actually getting ahold of a local representative.

Grubhub used to have a dedicated driver specialist for different markets. I liked that about them when I started. They have been phasing those reps out now.

All of these companies rely heavily on overseas call centers. I've heard some speculate that some use the same centers. The one company that still seems to have some form of personal touch has been Uber Eats, where you can speak to someone at a Greenlight hub.

Ultimately, the problem is very much related to their business model.

illustration of a man standing in front of a layout of a business model

Gig economy work is all about trying to handle a very labor intensive industry without spending much on that labor.

As part of that, they need to structure things so that the support side costs them as little as possible. Doordash just takes that to the extreme.

In their intial filing for their IPO, Doordash commented that their pay model for paying drivers left them little room to work with financially.

Even in the midst of a pandemic which has exploded Doordash's pay, Doordash has lost $149 million so far this year.

And my experience is, Doordash's base pay is the worst of the lot.

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. 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.

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.

I'm not saying that some don't. I think that happens a lot as part of that ‘fake it til you make it thing' that is a result of poor training.

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.

Four Reasons Not to Trust Doordash Customer Care

As a Dasher for Doordash you may be told things by Doordash's customer/dasher support/care team that seems off. Too many people take it at face value because, after all, "Doordash told me."

Here are four reasons to not trust the things you are told by Doordash customer care.

Doordash care reps are not your supervisors.

As an independent contractor, you do not have supervisors. Call center staff helping Dashers are also customer service staff. Their role is to facilitate the completion of deliveries, not to supervise you as a Dasher.

Doordash care reps aren't even Doordash employees.

Doordash care representatives are actually employees of the call centers that contract with Doordash. Just like those of us who are Dashers, they represent Doordash for the purposes of their role, but they're not employees.

Language barriers often prevent them from communicating clearly.

Most of the reps are employed overseas. The challenge can be that with the language barrier they may not fully understand your question, or may not completely understand how to communicate their answer to us.

Doordash Care Reps may not have been given the training to really understand what they're telling us.

Doordash care reps are hired to facilitate delivery issues. That is what they are trained on. Many of the weird things I hear coming from reps are things that come outside that role. Sometimes when you don't know the answer, it's easier to wing it than involve a supervisor.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

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Brent Taylor

Monday 14th of October 2019

What I'm reading here is don't bother calling, or chatting with these people. Which is pretty much what I've already concluded. This article just confirms this.

Last week I was sent to Walmart. Upon arriving Jake (the regular Walmart employee who brings out and loads our orders) greeted me in the (EMPTY -- no other dashers or customers picking up orders) parking lot just a couple minutes before noon. He told me my wait for this 41 item order would be at least two hours. I unassigned the order and clicked the box saying order not ready.

When I wrote (twice) to Doordash support later that day/and a few days after as to why I wasn't paid the standard 1/2 for driving to Walmart, the eventual instruction given was that I should have contacted support (chat/call) and at least hung out 15 minutes. As I immediately got another order (for someone's lunch, from a restaurant) and subsequent orders, the $3.50 or so lost is less the problem than the principle.

This article confirms it's not worth the hassle of calling these folks with curve balls. And (because as you said, the ACCEPTANCE RATING doesn't squat) I'll be declining ALL Walmart orders. Let me add that my previous 3 trips to this Walmart were 1 hour, 1 hour 20 minutes and (though I got there in under five minutes) customer came and got groceries because Walmart didn't believe a Dasher would come. Did get support to compensate these. But, not worth the time fighting this stuff.

Monday 14th of October 2019

Oh, man, Walmart is another story altogether.

I haven't done Walmart for awhile. When they first rolled out, they were giving a $100 bonus for completing 10 deliveries, and I felt that made it worth it. Barely. But the problem was that at least then, they had a totally different support team for Walmart orders and that team was a nightmare to get ahold of. It was horrible. I don't know if they still do it that way, but I'm like you, Walmart is a big fast no for me.

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