Amazon is rolling out a new program that will allow customers to send verbal messages of appreciation to their drivers – even as it faces criticism over its treatment of drivers and a lawsuit over an Alexa-related car accident.
The ‘Alexa, thank my driver’ program was announced on Tuesday and is available to customers in the US who have their orders delivered by Amazon Flex drivers.
To use the new feature, customers just need to say ‘thank you’ into their Alexa device after their order has been delivered. The message will then be sent to the driver via the Amazon Flex app.
The program comes amid reports that Amazon is planning to cut hundreds of jobs from its Alexa division, as well as fresh criticism over its treatment of drivers.
Last week, it was revealed that Amazon is facing a lawsuit from the family of a man who was killed in a car accident involving an Amazon Flex driver. The driver, who was using the Alexa app to route his deliveries, is accused of running a red light and causing the fatal collision.
And just last month, Amazon was criticised for its treatment of drivers after it was revealed that some Flex drivers are only paid for the time they spend driving, and not for the time they spend waiting for deliveries or dealing with traffic.
Despite the criticism, Amazon says that it is committed to helping its drivers succeed.
“We are continuously working to improve the Flex experience for drivers,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.
“We have a dedicated team that isfocused on ensuring drivers have a great experience and are paid well for their time.”
The Alexa-focused job cuts are also said to be part of a wider cost-saving measure by Amazon, as it looks to focus on other areas of its business.
So far, there is no word on how many jobs will be affected, but it is thought that the cuts will be focused on the Alexa division in Seattle.