Today’s post is part of our ongoing Intro to Amazon Flex series. This guide comes from Heather Cook, an experienced Flex driver, who will walk drivers through the Amazon Flex app, covering each of the features and sections in detail. For more detailed information about this service, check out our Complete Guide to Amazon Flex.
The Amazon Flex app, sometimes referred to as the “Rabbit“, is both a blessing and a curse. Programmers are consistently trying to improve the stability and functions. Updates are frequent and occasionally cause more trouble than they should. Seasoned Flexers dread the update notification but we’ve also learned to roll with the punches.
Before getting into the specifics, it’s important to recognize that the app can be glitchy. The most likely crashes take place while scanning and there’s nothing more annoying than spending an extra ten minutes at the DC restarting your phone. One of the best ways to avoid this frustration is to regularly clear your app’s cache through your phone’s app manager. An ounce of prevention will save yourself many headaches.
There are two modes of operation in the Flex app. They are similar but while “in-navigation”, you have additional functions that assist in making your deliveries.
Amazon Flex App: Regular Navigation
While not “in-navigation”, you have your regular menu. The bottom portion of this menu is static and doesn’t change.
The Home button does exactly what you would expect, it takes you to the first screen after you sign in. It displays your next scheduled block and also includes a swipe menu to view other blocks you have upcoming. Also included on the home screen are buttons to “Check for Available Blocks” and “Update My Availability”.
The offers screen displays available on-demand blocks and your reserve blocks. On occasion, the app will send a push notification when blocks are available. When you find a block you want, it’s simple to accept it. Click on the block and it will ask if you want to accept.
It is important to use caution when “fishing” for blocks. Most will alternate tapping between where blocks appear and the refresh button. After highlighting a block, the refresh button becomes the accept button so if you’re not watching closely, you could easily accept a block you do not want.
The Calendar button opens your availability screen, and days that are greyed out are unavailable. A day with an orange dot indicates that you have a block scheduled for that day.
When you click that orange dot, it displays the information regarding the scheduled block and also offers a “Forfeit Block” option. If you cannot make a scheduled block, it is important to forfeit at least 45 minutes prior to the block start. If you forfeit within 45 minutes, you may receive a computer generated “bad boy” email. If this occurs frequently, you could be deactivated.
This will open a screen displaying information about the blocks you have completed and the earnings you will receive. Deposit information will also be displayed. Deposits are made on Tuesdays and Fridays. Blocks completed Friday thru Monday are paid on Tuesday. Blocks completed Tuesday thru Thursday are paid on Friday.
If you need more information regarding earnings or deposits, you can click on any of the specific entries. This will open a screen that gives you an option to report a problem. When using this option, it will ask which email client you wish to use. Always use the email account you used to sign up with Flex.
Changes to your address, email, bank accounts, phone number, tax status, and licensing all need to be completed within this section of the Amazon Flex app.
Also in this screen, you have the option “Check for Updates”. It may be several weeks between updates or it may seem like they come every other day for a period of time. Programmers will add features which affect the app’s stability so they have to add more updates or remove features to keep things running efficiently.
At the bottom of this screen, you have the option to sign out of the app. On occasion, you will need to sign out and sign back in to properly access an update you know is waiting. If your app seems overly slow or glitching more than normal, you may have a pending update. Sign out and then sign back in, if that doesn’t help then clear the cache.
You know those pesky videos you watched when you first signed up for Amazon Flex? Those videos are available for review here.
You’ll likely not need to watch them, as most of the delivery process is pretty straightforward, but if you forget something you learned in training you can always go back to rewatch.
The Help screen within the Amazon Flex app opens up a list of different topics containing numerous FAQs. The last option in this list is a “Contact us” menu. When you use this feature, it will ask you which email client you wish to use to submit your issue.
Again, you must use the email you provided when you signed up for Amazon Flex to submit a request.
The Feedback section baked into the Amazon Flex app is a feature most drivers take for granted, and we should all use this much more liberally.
This feature provides drivers with the ability to let Amazon know what you think about the app and Flex program as whole. If you have any suggestion to improve Flex, they really do want to know. The only way the programmers know how their app performs in real time, is through feedback from the users. The only way programmers can correct a problem is if they know about it.
But this feature isn’t just for feedback for developers. If you have an idea or think the delivery process needs some help, reach out to let them know! Amazon is always looking to improve, and feedback from drivers on the front line is key.
Amazon Flex App: In-Navigation Features
When starting a delivery block, the navigation will open and dominate the Amazon Flex app. The everyday features are still present and accessible, albeit not easily so. It can be difficult to catch blocks for a later time while “In-Navigation”.
Navigation within the Flex app is powered by Bing maps and most Flexers agree that it’s a less preferred platform for navigation. You are not required to use the navigation provided in the app but GPS will continue to track your deliveries regardless.
You can use whatever navigation system you prefer, however you will need to manually enter the addresses. This can be time consuming while on the road and can cause additional battery drain. Many drivers use alternate navigation platforms to drive to the route and in-app navigation while making deliveries. We prefer Google Maps or Waze.
In addition, a help menu appears in the upper right corner of the app screen. In this menu, you can call the customer, call support, trigger GPS location, mark a package undeliverable, and return items.
If you use the “Unable to deliver” or “Returns” function, another screen will come up asking for a reason.
This displays the next delivery address and contains all the functions necessary to successfully complete your deliveries. When starting your route, you’ll see the navigation screen and a driving time estimate. You may be presented with different routes and the app will automatically choose the fastest. When you’re ready to head for the delivery, simply click on “Start Travel”. Real time navigation becomes active.
When you arrive at your destination, “You Have Arrived” will appear at the bottom of the screen. When you click on this, it will open to another screen where customer information will appear along with any delivery notes provided by the customer or other Flexers. Once you’ve located the package(s) to be delivered and read any available information, click “Scan packages”. This will open the scanning function you used when you first picked up.
If you scan the wrong package or are not within a specific area, the delivery options screen will not appear. Often this is the result of having the wrong package or the physical doorstep is far from the GPS pin. If it is the wrong package, locate the correct package and it’s a simple fix. If you are outside of the specific delivery area, you’ll need to call support. This occasionally happens with new constructions or large apartment complexes.
Once you get the packaged scanned properly, a list of delivery options will appear. Use the option most appropriate for the delivery location you have chosen. If a household member is available, the app will ask for the name of the person you delivered to. If the delivery is unattended, you will be prompted to take a photograph in view of the package.
If you deliver to a receptionist or doorman, the app will ask for a signature. In addition, you may have commercial deliveries. In cases such as this always use the “receptionist or doorman” option. This is the best way to cover all your bases. When you use this option, it will ask you to enter the person’s name. At the bottom of the screen, you will see “swipe to sign”. When you do this the app will switch to landscape and display a signature field for the recipient to sign. When you’ve captured the signature, simply “swipe to finish” and continue with your route.
It is important to note that you may have deliveries at two separate locations but show as a multiple delivery address. This happens when deliveries are close together. Be sure to deliver the correct package to the correct address.
When you have a “multiple delivery” address, select the package you wish to deliver first, scan it and make the delivery. Do the same with the subsequent packages. If both deliveries have the same address but different names, make the delivery like you would any other package but the app will not prompt you to take a picture.
It is not uncommon to have numerous deliveries in one apartment complex but different tenants. Make sure you’re delivering the correct package to the correct residence. Some leasing offices accept packages for their tenants and others have package lockers. Before arriving at the complex, quickly look up the complex on the web to see if they offer package concierge services. Taking a few minutes to research the complex may save you time.
After you’ve taken the picture and it is acceptable, swipe to finish and the app will move forward to the next delivery.
When you navigate to this section within the Amazon Flex app, the first thing you will see is the list of the delivery addresses contained within your route. Some addresses may show if it is a multiple delivery.
Your map feature in the itinerary shows you the delivery locations located on a map. The deliveries are numbered via pins on the map. It is through this feature you may be able to identify a package that was misplaced into your route by accident. If you have a heavy cluster of packages and one package across town, it can be assumed that the package does not belong in your route.
Kindly point out the issue to the dock worker and hand the package over. It’s often easy to identify an errant package via routing numbers at the DC. If you find one of these packages in your route once you’ve left, it’s your responsibility to deliver the package. Always check the map before your leave the DC.
The summary is equally important when you first begin your route. This option shows you the number of deliveries you have left to do and the number of packages remaining. Make sure the number of packages scanned into your app equals the number of packages in the route.
It’s not uncommon to be within one or two packages of the route totals but if you have three or more less in your itinerary, it’s probable that you missed scanning some of the packages. If you’ve already loaded the packages into your vehicle, it may be difficult to identify which packages are not scanned into the app. Be vigilant as you make your deliveries.
This feature is also helpful when nearing the end of your route. When you have less than ten deliveries left, count the number of packages you have remaining in your vehicle. Make sure the number of packages waiting to be delivered in your vehicle match the number remaining in your app. If you have more than what the app shows, it’s likely that you missed a package while scanning.
The Pick Up feature in the app gives you access to scan in packages. There are several scenarios where you may need to use this feature. It’s straightforward and easy to use.
If your app crashes while you’re scanning your route at the DC, you’ll need to close the app and possibly restart your phone. Before restarting be sure to clear the Flex app’s cache. When you’re able to sign in again, you’ll likely see the Current Stop screen. You’ll still need to scan in the packages remaining in your route. Use the Pick Up to do this.
When you come across a package while delivering that is not in your app, you’ll need to use the Pick Up feature. Scan in the package, swipe to finish, and continue delivering.
Occasionally, a package will not scan or may show assigned to another driver. In cases like these, consult with a dock associate if at the DC or call support while on the route. This is usually a simple oversight and easily corrected.
After reading through the robust features of the Amazon Flex app, it’s pretty obvious that it is easy to use, and incredibly important to getting deliveries done.
While robust and user-friendly, the app is constantly under development. For your success and the success of the program, it is important to be patient, provide feedback, and use all available features.
Over to you: Have you used the Amazon Flex app? What do you think of the features available to drivers? If you could change one thing about the app, what would it be?