Increasing delivery automation & empowering customers

Food is one of the most difficult things to deliver. When a customer places an order it must be assigned to a driver and sent to the merchant simultaneously. The driver should arrive at the merchant right as the food is finished and take it to the customer immediately.

When I started at DoorDash the only way for customers to get help or make changes to an order was to call our support team. For a company experiencing exponential growth, support costs for basic tasks were going to quickly become unsustainable.

The original Status Page (left) didn’t give customers enough detail about the progress of their order, resulting in a high number of support inquiries. The new Status Page (right) communicates specifically how an order is doing throughout the delivery.

Background & Challenges

DoorDash's mission is to empower local economies by helping local merchants grow their businesses, giving customers more free time, and providing Dashers with a flexible way to earn money. It’s a winning combination that’s led to exponential growth from four to 22 markets in less than a year.

A small percentage of the time, any number of things—from bad traffic or weather, a flat tire, or even a car accident—can conspire to make a delivery imperfect.

Delays are frustrating to customers who, as their hunger increase, get increasingly and understandably frustrated. Tools to completely prevent or quickly resolve any delivery trouble is a top priority for DoorDash’s core goal of creating a delightful delivery experience.

Making the Order Status page discoverable through a variety of avenues helped us account for different mental models about where to get help with current and past orders.

Approach

I led the team’s three-tiered approach to solve these problems:

Improved Functionality

The first step was to give customers the tools to manage their own orders. We added the ability to change the delivery address, reschedule or cancel an order already in progress. Another common support request was simply to know more about an order's progress. The new Order page live-updates with substatuses that describe exactly what’s happening with an order.

Increased Visibility

New self-support features wouldn’t improve the customer’s experience or our metrics if they weren’t discoverable. Instead of adding them to our existing support site I had the team add them to the Order Status page. This page was the most-viewed page after the home page, and had 3x more views than orders which indicated how actively customers were refreshing and engaging with this page.

Better Communication

Self-support features also wouldn’t be embraced if customers weren’t confident they’re the most effective way to solve support requests. I designed methods across all platforms to communicate DoorDash successfully received their request and to set expectations for what steps were next to resolve their problem.

The Order Page, which is the new home for all order-related content, changes to reveal different actions depending on whether an order was In Progress, Recent, or Past.
New detailed statuses break down each major step in the delivery flow, improving customer confidence and reducing order status calls to support.

Results

The original support site wasn’t discoverable, so we hoped introducing self-support functions to the status page would increase engagement. Once launched, many pre-delivery requests submitted through the old support site dropped to zero. Customers could change the details of their order directly from this page, eliminating a huge burden on our support team to manually handle simple requests like rescheduling deliveries or changing delivery addresses.

We also tested to see whether this page was also an intuitive place for help with delivered orders. While the original support site was where customers were used to looking for help, requests for

post-delivery requests from the order page were also significant, validating a future investment in this functionality.

Redirecting all paths to the new Order Status page was also successful in setting the foundation we needed to eventually automate additional common support needs, like requests for refunds. In the meantime, we adjusted our internal tools so requests for refunds or redeliveries through all sites could be approved through a single button. While not yet fully automated, we reduced the time it took support to complete these requests while gathering data about the refund approval rate that would inform future automation.

Immediate results showed adding self-support functionality to the Order Status page (blue) was the correct strategy. Many support requests through the old support site (red) almost immediately dropped to zero, proving the Order Status page was a more visible and intuitive place for support tasks.
I redesigned our mobile support experience after the web experiments validated our new support strategy. The Android self-support experience was rolled out first, just in time to be featured by Google when they announced DoorDash as one of the first apps to include in-app Android Pay capabilities.