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Instacart announced late last week that it is changing the system that allows its customers to rate/rank its shoppers in a way that makes it fairer and more informative for consumers.

TechCrunch reports that "the company will now remove a rating if it’s from a customer who consistently rates their shoppers below five stars. Instacart is also going to forgive more ratings for reasons that may be outside of a shopper’s control.

"Shoppers will now also just need to maintain a 4.7 or above rating to get prioritization for 'batches,' which is a term Instacart uses to describe delivery jobs that include more than one order at a specific store. Prior to this change, the prioritization of batches was based on having the highest rating possible. Instacart notes that a few low ratings shouldn’t have a significant impact on a shopper’s access to batches."

TechCrunch also reports that Instacart "is introducing a new 'Your stats' screen that shows shoppers information about their account, including their average customer rating, customer feedback and statistics like how many orders they’ve completed.

"There’s also a new section within the Shopper app that will provide shoppers with information about batch accuracy, including details about items found, replacements and more. Instacart says a shopper’s accuracy information does not have an impact on their rating or access to batches, but can provide additional insights.

"Shoppers will also now be notified when they are close enough to a store location to see available batches. When a shopper enters a store’s designated vicinity, they’ll be notified that they are ideally situated and if they can expect to see batches from this retail location in the near future. Shoppers may also see other recommended store locations nearby that have higher batch availability."

KC's View:

It is an interesting balance that Instacart has to strike - it wants to serve its customers, but also maintain a strong corps of shoppers to serve them.  After all, it depends on customers to be successful, but its relationship with shoppers has been problematic, with numerous complaints filed by some of them against the company.  (There also was the case of the Instacart shopper who reportedly ran over the grocery order of a customer with whom the shopper was discontented.)

Of course, customers bring their own challenges.  Here's how The Verge described one of them:

"Last month, Instacart promised to protect workers from the other type of assholes who bait drivers with large tips and then yank it from them when their order is completed … The company said it would cover the tip up to $10 but would still side with the customer if they reported the worker for some sort of issue."

(There's word in there that I normally would not use on MNB, but in this case I'm just quoting another media outlet … and, quote honestly, it seems deserved.)

The thing is, some of those poor ratings may be deserved, and so this new system may not actually be in the best interests of the customer.  And, it seems worth pointing out that one thing never mentioned here is the best interests of the client retailer, which end up being at the mercy of all these various machinations.