How retailers can improve their delivery experience
As we start 2022 retailers are continuing to face disruption to their businesses through supply issues. The key to managing this will not only be the way retailers handle their suppliers, but importantly, how they communicate with their customers. As global management consultancy firm, McKinsey, recently noted; “Since consumers won’t hesitate to shop elsewhere if they can’t find the products they seek, fulfilment will be critical.”
McKinsey goes on to stress the importance of communicating proactively about inventory levels and potential supply chain disruptions—but I would go a step further and say that communicating throughout the entire delivery experience is critical and can actually help to differentiate a brand.
Stay Transparent with Customers
Through ensuring customer communication is at the heart of their fulfilment operation, retailers can make the delivery experience a much more positive one, even in the face of disruption. By being completely transparent with calls, texts, and emails to customers before, during, and after the delivery – including confirmation requests for time windows, reminders, and live ETA alerts as the delivery vehicle goes along its route – not only ensures customers are home to receive their orders but avoids the inconvenience of waiting in unnecessarily. All in all, it delivers an amazing customer experience.
Real time communication between drivers and customers
Enabling drivers to communicate directly with customers means that when there is a potential hiccup or delay in the delivery process—whether that is a damaged item or a delayed delivery— the driver can immediately spot it and work to remedy the situation. This kind of proactive communication creates customer experiences that keep consumers loyal even in the face of disruptions.
Get creative to drive a meaningful experience
Retailers who deliver a meaningful customer experience across the whole customer journey will strengthen their brand and reputation even in the last mile. Every text or email message is an extension of a brand, right down to the level of corporate colour scheme and exact word choice.
Including the fulfilment process as part of the customer journey means not only do these communications give customers real-time updates on their orders—helping them to stay confident and empowered when it comes to receiving their purchases—it also offers retailers the opportunity to further enhance the trust in their brand.
Improve Supply Chain Visibility
Supply chain visibility is not just about collecting the right data at every touchpoint, it is about making that data accessible to ensure the supply chain runs smoothly. Through displaying that data in a way that makes it easy to see how deliveries are going at a glance it is possible to rectify issues before they become a problem.
With real-time visibility it is feasible to see every service unit, route, and order from a single screen along with the ETA provided to the customer for each stop, so it is possible to see when a truck is running behind schedule. This, coupled with proof of delivery from each completed (or partially completed) delivery, makes it possible to get a clear, visual insight into how the deliveries are unfolding.
Crucially, this real-time visibility also provides an exceptional management solution that automatically highlights delivery anomalies (e.g., late, failed, or incomplete deliveries) to see whether anyone has reached out to the customer yet.
It is clear that by communicating with customers at every touchpoint and by properly managing the fulfilment experience, retailers have an opportunity to not just manage supply chain disruption but turn it into an event to delight customers with predictable, streamlined delivery experiences.
Alex Buckley is general manager of EMEA and Asia Pacific operations at Dispatch Track, a last mile delivery platform that powers positive, predictable, and visible experiences, and recently led their launch into the UK.
Global and UK clients already using the platform include Furniture Village, Vision Logistics, Coca-Cola, and Walmart.
Alex is a CX industry expert with more than 25 years of e-commerce, SaaS, and software experience. Prior to DispatchTrack, he served as the Chief Customer Officer and Strategic Advisor for Customer Service Action. He has held a variety of executive roles at Notional, Zigy, Highstreet Mobile, Datorama, NetSuite, Klarna, Venda Limited and others. As UK Country Manager for Datorama, he oversaw the company’s $850M acquisition to Salesforce.