Insight Into Amazon's Delivery Service
March 17th was my last day working as a delivery driver for an Amazon DSP (Delivery Service Partner). During my routes I experienced issues and situations that I figured I could share with you all. My hope is that it will help you understand how the process works in order to get the best delivery outcome, or at the very least develop sympathy for the drivers. Most of these issues reflect or are tied to Amazon’s Flex app in some way as it is how everything is scanned, tracked, and delivered.
These are based on my personal experiences while working as a delivery driver.
Update your notes
There are plenty of times where the notes for the delivery are contradictory or just outdated. Picture this: a driver stops at your house to make a delivery. They read the notes attached to your delivery where the first part states to deliver to the front door but the last part is where you’ve stated that the package should be delivered to the back door. Confused, the driver calls you to get clarification. You are at work and actually don’t need the package delivered to the back door because those were instructions for a package you received three months ago and someone is at your home this time. This takes away your time at work and delays the driver.
You don’t need to specify “Front Door Receive” in your notes
Front door delivery is assumed for homes and receptionists for businesses, so putting these down in the notes actually just adds another screen for the driver to click through in the Flex app. However, it is handy for apartment complexes as the delivery can be to the customer’s door, the main office, or only directly to you if you’re home.
You won’t get a call in advance
The delivery drivers are concerned with their current stop for the most part. While they can view upcoming stops or even set another stop on their route as the current stop, it is not a quick thing to do in the Flex app. Absolutely no driver will individually check each and every stop in their route to see if anyone needs to be contacted in advance because it would take an incredible amount of time that they don’t have. The drivers at my local distribution center will get about 150-200 stops for the day, each requiring one or more packages to be delivered. Keep in mind that “group stops” count as one stop, so they’re likely delivering to even more locations (unless it’s multiple people from the same house). By the time they get to your stop and read your notes, they’ll already be at your stop. This means you’re either getting a call without enough time in advance or no call at all. Of course, this is assuming you still require the phone call at all and it’s not an old note from a delivery months ago.
Sometimes location pins are incorrect
There are times when a driver is trying to find your place but the location pin in the app is either wrong or conflicting with the notes on your delivery. This is definitely not your fault but it does happen and may actually cause your package to not be delivered at all. The reason being so that the package does not get stolen or delivered to the wrong person. It does help the driver as well as those are things that can bring their individual score down, which in turn affects their company’s score as well.
The Flex app is terrible at navigation
Where to begin… The Flex app’s GPS functionality is not good. It has issues with orientation, route to get to your next stop, and sometimes navigating to the stop at all.
Orientation is frustrating as the app will think you’re facing the opposite direction usually. However, it’s unpredictable because it doesn’t do it all the time or even consistently. It become very confusing when driving in unfamiliar areas because so often you think you’re heading the right way only for the app to catch up and want you to do a U-turn. Such a maneuver isn’t always doable in those big vans.
Sometimes the app doesn’t quite know how to get you to the next stop. One time I was driving to my first stop and the app said that I would need to turn right at the next intersection. Once I was approaching that intersection, I glanced at the app and saw that the app thought I needed to make a right, then immediately whip a U-turn, and then go straight through the intersection. All that translated to: I needed to turn left. So I did. I was lucky I caught it and saved myself that time.
Occasionally, the Flex app won’t navigate to the pin at all. Case and point: I followed the GPS navigation in the Flex app to what I thought was my next stop. When I arrived I was so confused because I had arrived at a building that served as the nutrition center of the local school district. After checking the address the package needed to go to and punched it into Google instead, I had apparently been routed 6 minutes away from the correct location. I had called my dispatch about it, who stated that another driver just had the same issue.
Put your dogs/animals away
I love dogs, but when I’m approaching a dog’s living space they typically get defensive (as they should). This actually gets worse if the dog’s owner is present as the dog will act in defense of their owner, regardless of any actual danger present. If the dog is tethered to something, that might be good enough for the driver to deliver but unlikely as it is up to the driver to determine if it is safe to deliver or not. If the anchor of the tether cannot be easily seen then the chance of getting your package is even less.
Doggy doors are not a barrier! I delivered to a customer’s home once and heard the dog barking, but they were inside the home and the front door was closed. I proceeded with the delivery because I didn’t see any way the dog would get to me. As I was finishing the delivery, I saw a flap pop open next to a pile of junk the customer had on their porch and the dog came out after me, barking. It actually tried to bite my leg but didn’t break through my skin or pants. Needless to say, I got away from the dog as soon as possible while the owner started yelling at their dog from inside their home.
I did not have issues with any of the cats I encountered… nor the turkeys. Yes, turkeys. I delivered to a house in a cul-de-sac where there was a pack of roaming turkeys. The male kept me in view the whole time, kept puffing his feathers out and kept gobbling at me. Some drivers might not deal with that or have had a bad experience with such animals. Something to keep in mind.
Don’t get upset if your package is late or delayed
So many things can go wrong on a delivery route, including the issues previously discussed. Another reason may be due to weather or a traffic accident. There are so many people who do not seem to care about anyone else when they’re on the road and they don’t have problems crashing into the delivery vans. I had a guy back out of his driveway and scrape the van I was driving while I was parked in the road to make a delivery. The van was not running and was essentially a giant blue box with hazard lights blinking, but the gentlemen decided to tell me how it was my fault he accelerated into the driver’s side door. Situations like that can be much worse and sometimes are. I had coworkers get their vans towed back to the distribution center and some even get hurt. We’re all people and we’re all trying to do our best each day. Rest assured that if your package isn’t delivered when you expect it, it will be delivered. Amazon really does try to ensure everyone gets what they ordered.
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