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The life of an Ocado driver: icebreakers

A key part of the Ocado experience is receiving your delivery from one of our friendly drivers. We know you’d love to hear more about them, so we’ve put together a mini series, shining a spotlight on what they do and how they connect with you.

First up: icebreakers. When you’re only meeting someone for a few minutes, it can be hard to know what to say. In these difficult and sometimes lonely times, we know it’s more important than ever to have positive interactions with our customers, even if it’s short and simple. Here we reveal how three of our drivers strike up conversations.

Mokombati Motondo

For Mokombati, getting to meet lots of people is one of the perks of the job. “A smile and a friendly greeting can make a big difference to someone’s day. I always start with ‘Hello, Sir/Madam, how are you?’. My next subject is usually the weather and I just see how it goes from there.”

Since the pandemic started, Mokombati has noticed that some customers seem more chatty and makes an effort to ask how they are coping. He always reads the comments box on the Ocado driver app, to check whether the customer is vulnerable or has particular needs. “Sometimes it tells me if an elderly customer lives on their own. In those cases I make a special effort to spend a few minutes talking to them. Last week I delivered to an elderly lady and we had a nice little chat. She said, ‘You’re the only person I will speak to today’. She seemed really happy and gave me the biggest smile.”

Joe Wigoder 

During lockdown, Joe has noticed it can be difficult to have a good chat. “Before social distancing, there was more opportunity to talk on the way into the kitchen, but it’s a bit harder now as we need to leave the shopping on the doorstep.”  Despite the necessary changes, he says he’s good at reading his customers and can usually tell if they want to keep the conversation going. “I often ask how their day is going. Generally older people love a chat – I think for some it’s a highlight of their day, but it’s also nice for us drivers. We spend a lot of time on our own, so a few friendly words help the day go by.

Afonso Amaral

Like Joe, Afonso can tell from the first interaction if his customer wants to chat, so he likes to let them lead.  “I always start with a smile, give eye contact and check the delivery notes so that I can use the customer’s name and ask how they are.” He explains that it’s about finding a careful balance: “It’s nice to build up a rapport with someone, but we all have to be a bit careful and respectful at the moment.”

Keep your eyes peeled for our next drivers post as our drivers will answer your burning questions.  

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