Are you considering becoming a delivery driver, for UberEATS, Instacart, DoorDash or any of the other numerous courier services? You may be concerned about hangry people yelling at you if you make a mistake – we all know it happens! Today, we have another guest post from Carla D. Laskey about one of her worst UberEATS delivery experiences, how she handled it, and tips for handling that and other difficult UberEATS delivery scenarios.
Sometimes delivering for UberEATS can be a ‘fairy dust sprinkle’ kind of experience. You know what I mean: one of those rare and wonderful days when everything seems to be going your way during your shift.
For example, one day I signed on to UberEATS and received a delivery request within 3 minutes – score! Over the course of the day, I had regular but not intense delivery requests and, best of all, my last delivery of the day was on the way back to my house!
On days I like that, I make more than my $10/hour minimum. That’s the number that works for me, and you can read more about why I ensure a $10/hour delivery day with UberEATs here. Overall, you can see why I considered days like that to be what I call an UberEATs fairy dust sprinkle kind of day.
Unfortunately, not everyday will not be an UberEATs fairy dust sprinkle kind of day. Some days will instead be the kind of days we wish we could start all over, or even erase the days as if they never occured.
They don’t happen often, but I’ve had my share of those kind of days as well. One in particular still makes me shudder when I think about how much worse it could have been, and how I could have alleviated the situation by simply following a simple “best practice” guideline that on that day I choose to ignore. Let me share what happened.
Everything Starts Out Fine
It was my first delivery of the day. First things first. Address check, 12916 Stillberry Water Lane (fyi, I totally made this up). Customer name, Shalondria B. (again, totally made this up). Having checked off these two things, I am now officially ready to complete delivery number one.
I get out my car with the food in hand and stroll up the unevenly paved sidewalk to ring the doorbell since Shalondria is not already there waiting with eager anticipation for the food she just ordered. Why it is that some customers I deliver to (and as of this writing I’ve made 1,429 deliveries to date) do not choose to be ready for their food? Come on people. Get with the program.
I’m now at the door and since there is no Shalondria, I ring the bell and I wait. There is no answer.
Hmmm… Maybe the doorbell is not working, so I knock on the door. Still no answer. I sigh as I think to myself, Am I gonna have to call Uber support on my first delivery of the day? But just as I complete the thought, a young adult man answers the door.
This is not Shalondria. He’s rubbing his eyes and looks like he might be just a tad bit irritated that someone else in the house (Shalondria of course) didn’t answer the door.
I feel his pain. I flash my million-dollar smile and say good morning, I’m here delivering your UberEATs order. He immediately explains that his mother (Shalondria of course) probably ordered the food but then she got in the shower and that is why he’s had to answer the door.
It Gets a Little Weird
I continue to smile and assure him that I understand his dilemma as I hand over the bag of food and the drinks to him. He forces an awkward smile and says thank you. I too, say “thank you” and “have a good day” as I am turning around to go back to my car. Conscious of the uneven sidewalk, I decide to close the delivery out on the app after I am settled comfortably back in my car.
After I close everything out and am repositioning my phone on the magnet that holds it in place while I’m driving, in my peripheral vision I can see a young lady from the door next to where I just dropped food off approaching my car.
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I look over to her and she waves at me, motioning to let down my window. She probably saw me delivering food to her neighbor and is wondering what she needs to do to get food delivered to her home as well.
This happens all the time. So, I’m prepared to give her the spiel all about UberEATs, especially because I am acutely aware of the fact that the more people using the app means the more deliveries for me and all my fellow delivery partners. I clear my throat and prepare myself to do once again what I’ve done plenty of times before – share the good UberEATs gospel news with her.
With the window rolled down she leans towards me and says, “ma’am are you here to deliver our food?”
What to Do When You’ve Delivered to the Wrong Person
My mouth drops open as my anxiety level quickly rises from zero to ten in two seconds flat. I confirm the name on the delivery request for the first time out loud: “You are Shalondria?”. “No” she says, “that’s my mother.”
I am panicking inside but I keep a cool demeanor. Well, as a cool as you can when you realize you’ve delivered someone’s food to their next-door neighbor. I go through the scenario in my head. How could I have made such a mistake? I’m a 5-star rated delivery driver. I don’t make this kind of mistake. Did I mention I’m a 5-star rated delivery driver? I know I checked and re-checked the address before I got out the car. What in the H-E double hockey sticks happened?
I calmly get out of the car because I know it’s now my responsibility to try and rectify this monstrosity of a “first delivery of the day” experience in real time.
I mention to the young lady that I was sure I double-checked the delivery address when I arrived. I explained to her that I’d delivered the food to her neighbor as I started heading back to the door.
Luckily, a few things went in my favor:
- The correct customer (Shalondria) acknowledged that she hadn’t put in the correct address, which is why I gave the delivery to her neighbor
- The neighbor hadn’t eaten or barely even touched the food when we knocked on his door to get it back
- Shalondria was okay taking that food and didn’t try to request a new order
You Can Avoid This With One Simple Trick
After I returned to my car and was once again preparing to drive off, the only thing I could think of is how close I had been to a total delivery disaster. Yeah, I knew it fortunately worked out okay this time. But it could have really gotten ugly because as we all know – people don’t play when it comes to their food.
As I relived the whole experience in my mind I immediately knew that had I done one simple thing this scenario could have been prevented. If I had made one more check before handing over the food, this whole dreadful experience could have been alleviated.
All I had to do is something that I usually do 90% of the time but not 100%. I didn’t confirm with him who had actually requested the delivery. I never said that the delivery was for a “Shalondria”. When he mentioned his mother being in the shower and that she’d probably ordered the food, I immediately made the incorrect assumption that his mother’s name was Shalondria.
Best Practices for UberEATS Delivery Drivers
While this experience was not one of my best UberEATs delivery experiences, I still prefer UberEATs over UberX any day. I’m the type of person who believes there are lessons to be learned from the blunders we make in life.
The lesson I learned from this experience is a simple one. It’s in my best interest to always confirm the delivery request name EVERY time. Not just 90% of the time. Take it from me and save yourself from repeating the same blunder.
Here are 3 more tips that can help to ensure you have an efficient and positive UberEATs delivery shift even on the days when the fairy dust sprinkles don’t seem to be falling your way.
Keep a bottle of sanitizer in your car! No matter how efficient you are, eventually you’ll find yourself in a situation when you’ll have to stop and get some gas during your shift. During those times, remember to sanitize your hands after you gas up since the next thing you’ll be doing is grabbing a customers bag of food. Remember GSG (Gas – Sanitize – Grab)!
Make sure you have a working phone charger! Ok I hate to admit this but way back like 600 trips ago, I kept pushing the limits of a barely working phone charger. I kept telling myself it just needed a new cable. Well, you know what happened. My decision to “ignore” resulted in me ending up with a phone that went dead and a charger that completely STOPPED working right after I picked up the food and saw the address flash on the screen for like less than 3 seconds.
Needless to say I was horrified AND powerless (literally) and there was nothing I could do about it. So I did the only thing I could do. I went home and contacted Uber support and explained what happened because you know “honesty is the best policy” yada, yada, yada. It is not one of my proud moments but it happened. Just don’t let it happen to you. LEARN from my blunder and always be prepared.
Always take your phone with you! When you get out of your car to deliver the customers food, be sure to always take your phone with you. Why? Because the time you decide to leave it in the car (on the charger of course) is exactly the time when the customer doesn’t answer the door. Or no one’s at the desk. Whatever the reason might be, it’s always handy to have your phone right there with you so you can contact the customer or Uber support if you need to do so.
In the future I’ll be sharing more tips that are helpful for new UberEATs delivery people. I’ll share basic things that it’s good to be aware of to help ensure that your time on the road goes well before and during your shift.
I’ll also share what can be done when things go wrong since it’s not a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “when”? A cold hard fact is that regardless of your current star rating, eventually something is bound to go wrong and you might as well be prepared for when it does.
Until the next time, I bid you much love & peace. And may the UberEATs fairy dust fall heavily on your next shift. Sprinkle, sprinkle!
Carla has been driving for UberEATS since July 2016 and has delivered over 1300 meals! She loves to use words and at times a little humor to inspire, motivate, encourage and most of all, to positively impact the world for the greater good of all! You can find Carla on her blog (Having The Courage To Believe Differently), on Instagram (@wisdomnuggets) and on Medium.
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-Carla @ RSG