India’s startup revolution has changed how the country shops and eats — instead of going to malls and restaurants, people are increasingly having things delivered straight to their homes. But while venture capital, algorithms, and technology enable all this to happen, the often overlooked cogs in the wheel are the delivery executives who physically perform last-mile deliveries that make goods finally end up on your doorstep.
Sadly, it’s these delivery executives who can often bear the brunt of deficiencies in service. They’re the only humans that customers come face-to-face with, and can be at the receiving end of rants and threats when things aren’t go as planned. There have also been a couple of horrific accidents involving delivery personnel — just last month, a Delhi woman had stabbed a Flipkart delivery executive 20 times after her phone’s delivery had been delayed.
Zomato is now trying to give its users some perspective into the lives of its delivery executives through a short bio on its app. “Bobby can speak Hindi. He’s from Dakshinpuri, South Delhi. He is a single earner supporting a family of two,” says a screenshot from Zomato’s app that’s currently making the rounds on Twitter.
— Durga Raghunath (@durgaraghunath) April 23, 2018
It’s a clever hack to get people to be on their best behaviour with delivery executives — having a little background on the man who shows up at your door with your order is the best way to humanize the delivery executives who can often otherwise seem pretty anonymous. Zomato isn’t the only company that is trying to get customers to be civil with their partners — Uber and Ola also let drivers rate their riders, and Uber even shows customers the aggregate rating they’ve received over time.
But Zomato’s chosen to go with a gentle nudge of a bio than a hard rating, and it could end up being pretty effective. Food deliveries are anyway a pretty sensitive transaction, where delays can mean that customers are both irate and hungry. Having some additional information about delivery executives could help bring some empathy into the discussion. There’s a whole variety of things that can go wrong when an order gets delayed, and Zomato’s little feature will help make sure that its users don’t vent their ire on the hapless delivery executive when things don’t go as planned.