Features | September 8th 2016

Here is your parcel, now do you wish to add a gratuity?

Would you tip your delivery driver? Earlier in the summer, Amazon announced plans to launch Amazon Flex in the UK, which enables non-professional delivery drivers (potentially their own customers) to make deliveries on behalf of the company around the UK.

The retailer said that drivers will be paid “between £13 and £15 an hour including tips”, and it’s the last word – tips, which raises an interesting question about the changing attitude towards delivery drivers. With the growing demand for faster and more convenient delivery, will tipping your delivery driver eventually become the norm?

British people tend to feel uncomfortable in general about tipping anywhere, including in restaurants, at the hairdressers or in a taxi. In fact, according a study carried out by Direct Line we’re the second worst in the world for it, but why? A lot of the problems come from not knowing what the rules are and technology is confusing this further. When faced with pressing a button to say ‘tip’ or ‘no tip’, we feel pressured and then often unsure how much to leave.

Would you tip your delivery driver?
Would you tip your delivery driver?

Brits might give a small tip to the Postman at Christmas, and a third of us would tip a takeaway driver, so why does this not apply this to your parcel delivery driver too? DPD Germany are now launching an easy way for you to do just that. If you have a particularly positive experience then you will soon be able to give the driver a tip via PayPal as well as a 5 star rating.

Given this cultural awkwardness it seems unlikely at first that tipping your parcel delivery driver will catch on, but reflect on how the British attitude to complaining has been transformed by the ability to leave online comments rather than “making a fuss” in person. Whether you’re rating your delivery experience, your Uber driver or your recent hotel stay it seems the British have become a lot more comfortable providing feedback or complaining when it’s indirect.

We take notice of reviews too. A 2015 report found that £23 billion of UK consumer spending is now influenced by reviews and this type of feedback is now not only accepted by businesses but actively encouraged.

Now the service providers can reciprocate. If you take an Uber you’ll be given the opportunity to rate your driver. What’s more, they’ll be given the chance to rate you as a customer too. So much importance was placed on this reviewing system that tipping came as a secondary thought for the taxi service and was only recently introduced. Could this dual rating system be applied to the logistics industry and if your local courier was to rate you, could this lead to a better service overall?

Delivery staff could warn other couriers about big dogs, long driveways, communal spaces or no safe place to leave a parcel. They could inform others about potentially tricky locations to ensure a smoother delivery process all leading to the likelihood of a gratuity from the householder perhaps? After all, with drivers under increasing pressure to deliver quickly and conveniently, perhaps it’s time to acknowledge the lengths they’ve gone to reach you.

Perhaps the rating system is easing British customers into tipping their service providers. After all, if you’re happy to leave a 5 star review then surely you don’t mind adding a few pounds too? Unless, in an age where we Google everything, there is an argument to say that leaving a review is more powerful than paying a tip?

We tend to tip exceptional service in restaurants and hotels where we’ve paid for a service, so why are delivery drivers any different? Would you ever tip your delivery driver, and how many stars would you be rated as a customer?

September 8th 2016 - by @CollectPlus