How we do driver tips at Gojek
With more than $20 million given in tips, drivers form the core of everything we do
By Husain Ghadially
In a previous post we covered driver ratings, complexities, and how we capture ratings for 3 Million orders every day. This one is directed at tips — and we do about 16.85 Billion rupiah and growing every month. That’s almost $1.19 Million each month going directly into our Indonesian drivers’ pockets just via GoPay — our e-wallet. We believe drivers earn similar amounts in cash as well — something we have no way of accounting for.
In Indonesia, driver tips are a big thing. A growing percentage of our transport-based orders have a GoPay tip for the driver. The average tip amount is Rp5.000. We have a significant opportunity to increase driver earnings by getting more people to tip regularly and tip higher amounts — because our drivers deserve it! This is a cultural phenomenon in Indonesia where tips are given liberally.
GoPay, our e-wallet solution, is the payment mode for about half of all our orders. And it’s only been a little over a year and a half since we launched GoPay. 🖖
Why we obsess over tips
Tips are a big deal for drivers. They are undiluted earnings. Gojek does not take any share of the tips. And drivers are our first class customers — so tips are integral for us.
While increasing earnings via tips is a key objective, there are great side effects — it boosts driver loyalty and consequentially, overall brand reputation. Drivers are our most important asset, hence any improvements here go a long way.
Mention worthy: our average driver rating is 4.91 out of 5. We work hard to engineer a quality experience for our customers, and in turn, customers tip drivers. Call it an endless cycle of good karma if you will. (More to follow on how we do pickups, drops and have a team dedicated to enhance customer and driver experience)
More than gratitude
Drivers encounter several expenses while fulfilling an order — tolls and parking charges being the most common ones. While tolls could be pre-calculated based on the driver’s route, the traffic situation in Indonesia’s larger cities is worthy of mention.
Drivers switch routes unexpectedly based on their deep knowledge of roads and traffic behaviour in each area. Customers are more than happy to allow the driver to do this too. Parking fees are difficult to estimate in advance. Extra costs are known only towards the end of the order. Typically, drivers ask customers to pay these extras to them directly when the order completes. This is cumbersome and usually results in an unaccounted payment for the customer.
With the new tipping mechanism, tips are associated with every GoPay order, and are paid directly to the driver’s GoPay wallet, via the app. The tipping system is now used to cover any ‘extras’ paid by the driver. Tips can be paid for any star rating; so if the service itself was not jaw-dropping good, the customer can still reimburse the driver for extras easily. This makes tipping useful beyond just gratitude.
Here a tip, there a tip, everywhere a…
Tip amounts are centrally configurable. We received feedback that the amounts are not high enough (max Rp30.000 currently) especially for GoCar and GoBluebird to or from the airport. We will look at either expanding the number of options and / or increasing values. The tip options shown to the customer considers the available GoPay balance. For e.g., if the customer has Rp25.000 GoPay balance, then the Rp30.000 tip amount option will not be available.
While tipping is enabled only for GoPay orders, we are evaluating GoPay tipping for cash orders as well.
We started simple. After doing some user research we found that customers are a lot more empathetic to drivers than they are to the service itself, naturally. We changed the copy in the app from ‘How was the service?’ to ‘How was the driver’?. We also enabled tips for all star ratings — earlier it was only available for 5 star ratings.
We follow a star based rating system today. 4 & 5 stars usually indicates the customer is pleased with the driver. In this scenario, we promote tipping by showing the tips section right at the top — we care more about improving driver income than getting feedback reasons from the customer in this case.
On iOS, these changes resulted in 10% and 15% of orders resulting in a tip from the home screen pop-up and from the order completion screen respectively. This is significantly higher than it was earlier.
There is much to be done and much to learn about improving our driver services and increasing earnings for drivers. We are constantly experimenting with ratings and tips. We’re also trying to understand habit-forming experiences with customers. Whether it is running marketing campaigns, or providing GoPoints tokens to the customers who provide driver ratings — nothing is off the table in improving our own understanding of how to improve driver earnings.
What do you think about enabling tipping without a driver rating? Do you think enabling GoPay tips for cash orders will drive higher conversion? We’d love to hear from you — please leave us a comment. 😊
Last, but not the least, if you’re interested in helping us build better products for our drivers and customers, head over to gojek.jobs to apply to our open positions.