Every night before I go to bed, I ask the Alexa-enabled Lenovo bedside clock what the weather will be like. Last night, right after I dutifully announced the weird sultry weather, Alexa informed me that I could tip my Amazon driver $5 by saying, “Alexa, thank my driver.”
There are currently approx 275,000 Amazon drivers (opens in new tab) to deliver more than a billion (opens in new tab) boxes for carrying holiday gifts and making holiday dreams come true for consumers and, of course, Amazon. But what good are drivers who carefully place these precious boxes at our door? Other than about $20 an hour, not much. Giving one of my drivers a small tip seemed like the least I could do.
“Alexa,” I said, “thank my driver.” I waited a moment for confirmation that a hard-working driver would get a little bit of encouragement. Instead, Alexa informed me that she didn’t understand the request.
I decided to contact Amazon because I had a few questions. And when I posted the news on Twitter, people bombarded me with their own questions about who gets paid and how.
Amazon representatives apologized for Alexa’s initial misstep, insisted the feature works as promised, and urged me to try again.
Who got paid?
Apparently, Amazon based the $5 tip on your most recent delivery. It can be useful, as soon as you see a package at the door, to ask Alexa to thank the driver. Otherwise, the thank you might move onto the next delivery and one that might not even be for you (it might be for another member of the household).
How long does the program run?
I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you can continue to thank your Amazon drivers as long as they deliver packages. The bad news is that the US-only $5 tip promotion period is over.
“Alexa, thank my driver exceeded our expectations. We are pleased to see that customers are interested in thanking their drivers and encourage them to continue to do so. Drivers will continue to be notified of the gratitude received.” Amazon told me via email.
There are still some rules around the Alexa gratitude system:
Amazon drivers can receive your thank you once per order. If they drop off multiple orders in one visit, thank them for each order. We imagine a long list of thank yous on an Amazon driver’s mobile device.
The program, which kicked off Dec. 7, would provide up to 1 million $5 tips to Amazon Flex Delivery Partners, Delivery Associates employed by Amazon Delivery Service Partners, and Hub DP drivers who deliver Amazon packages in the United States.
Finally, while you can open your front door and thank your Amazon driver directly, there’s no other way to send thank yous through Amazon without the Alexa system. Fortunately, you can use it on Echo devices, Alexa in the Amazon app, and through Amazon’s Alexa app on your smartphone.
On the plus side, it’s encouraging to see so many people jump at the chance to give their hard-working Amazon drivers a monetary thank you, but on the other hand Amazon might have been able to allocate a little over $5 million to make the transition from tip to pure gratitude.
When I finished writing, another holiday package arrived on my doorstep. I didn’t see the driver, so I went to my Echo device and said, “Alexa, thank my driver.” She immediately responded, “Glad you enjoyed your most recent delivery. We’ll share your thanks with the driver.”
I think that’s better than nothing.