Ever wondered why Ocado drivers are so nice? It’s not just because they’re hoping you will tip them for carrying your shopping into the kitchen. Two sources tell Business Insider that Ocado has an interesting recruitment policy that ensures all its delivery people are polite and friendly.
Ocado needs to hire a lot of drivers. A lot. For instance, it recruited 600 drivers right before Christmas 2014. The company said they were permanent roles, not just temporary seasonal workers.
You’d think that Ocado would therefore recruit people who have experience as professional drivers. Truck drivers, taxi drivers, that sort of thing.
In fact, it prefers to recruit staff who have a background in customer service or customer relations and then teach them to drive the vans.
We heard this earlier this winter but the company declined to confirm the tip when we asked. Earlier this week, however, I asked an Ocado delivery driver about the training and he confirmed it for me (So helpful!). Here is a job ad for an Ocado driver. Note that “customer service” experience is listed ahead of driving experience. While a clean driving licence is required, professional driving experience is not.
This sounds simple, but in fact it is brilliant: You might need 600 “drivers,” but in fact anyone can be taught to drive. What you really want is 600 nice people who are going to make every customer they deal with a customer for life. Ocado drivers see up to 35 customers a day. Their driving skills are less important than their ability to deal with customers. This is why you’ll often get a phone call from an Ocado driver if they’re able to deliver your groceries earlier than planned. Sure, they’re trying to get through their shift quicker. But they also know that customers like it when companies deliver things sooner than expected.
This is one of those attention-to-detail things that keeps me convinced that Ocado is going to change British shopping forever.
Not all companies think this way. In the US, Fresh Direct — which is similar to Ocado — also employs a lot of driver-delivery guys. They’re perfectly fine at delivering groceries. But they clearly have not been to the Ocado charm school.