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How to Keep Tips

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There’s been a lot of discussion about so-called “tip baiting” on Instacart and on other platforms. I’m skeptical that this is actually a trend; the data seems to suggest it’s anecdotal at best, and my own experience suggests that tips typically only get adjusted downward when there’s a service issue. I wanted to offer a few observations on how to keep tips, based on a personal experience.

First of all, it is important to note that both Doordash and Instacart have a tip later feature. You do not have to tip for your service up front. I always select this feature because I want to see my service before I tip.

Case in point: This week I have been moving across country. While that does not seem to be a huge deal, trying to find food during this move has been difficult. If I get in late and with a huge truck, I pretty much have Doordash as my only food option.

My experience so far has been like this. Doordash did not exist in Spokane, Washington where I stopped the first night. Uber Eats did, so I used this service instead (even though I am normally an exclusive Doordash customer). The next night was Billings, Montana.  Let me give a shout out my amazing Dasher Nick.  Not only was the line super long at the restaurant I chose but they messed up my entire order.  So, it took him a whole hour to get my order filled and delivered. The only reason I know that this happened is he contacted me the whole time keeping me informed of all the issues.

Let us just say that is the best example of how you treat a customer I have ever seen. I gave him the max tip the app would allow me to give and then tipped him the remaining balance of that hour’s wages in cash.  

The next night was in Bismarck, ND while using the app again. This time there were absolutely no issues with my order.  But I received a message from my dasher that said, “Hi I picked up ur food! Do u want to meet me out side? or what?” Appalled that I even got a message that sounded like a 16-year-old wrote it. I left a 1-star review explained the unprofessionalism to Doordash and reviewed the store.  I did ask for a no contact delivery both times and for it to be left at my door.  Nick gladly followed social distancing rules to make my experience great.  The second person refused to leave it at my door till my husband told her to leave it at the door again.

Simple word of advice: In this line of work, the nicer you sound in text the better people will respond. The more you follow directions the better people respond too. So, think before you speak. People need to see you are trying to keep your tip. I get that in the middle of an order it is hard to interact. However, acknowledging that you have a customer is important. As a service provider, put yourself in the shoes of your customer.

With Nick I felt like I was getting my own food and experiencing the ups and downs of that restaurant with him. I let him know I understood and made sure he knew I would make it worth his time. This was not the same with my dasher in Bismarck. She did not get much and being rude to the customer got her nowhere. Sometimes you must learn how to text people. This is key in a gig workers line of work. Understanding text tone, tips come when you are service oriented.