Trends come and go, but one philosophy that has proven true on large-item, last-mile delivery is that great customer service is the kingmaker of retailer success.
Retail customer service is about providing a sales experience that tells customers that the retailer cares about them being satisfied with their purchase. Although sales have traditionally been the lifeblood of retail businesses, great customer service is the key to success.
It’s customer service that turns a casual purchaser into a loyal customer. Retailers that understand this are focusing on serving the customer at a higher level to lock-in that loyalty.
Retailers have to use every possible advantage to outshine the competition. And the last mile is a great stage for doing just that.
The reality is that delivery is customer service. Smart retailers know this. Whether they're using 3PLs or their own in house delivery teams, retailers must be focused on making the delivery experience the best one possible for customers. That’s because the delivery experience is the last point of contact they will have with customers—and last impressions matter almost as much as first ones.
In a recent study, 98% of customers said that delivery directly impacts their loyalty to a brand. If impressions are everything—first or last—Amazon has set the bar. And not all retailers can keep up. If their team or a 3PL partner slips up, that blemish will stay in the customer's heart for a long time.
Retailers know the delivery is the last point of contact they'll have with customers - and last impressions matter almost as much as first ones.
In the Age of Amazon, regardless of what product they've purchased (e.g., plumbing parts or a 240 lb. oak dresser), customers want a premier, pampered experience—one that tells them when to expect shipment and then delivers on time.
Today, the bulk of customer delivery service is shifting to the shoulders of 3PLs. More and more, 3PLs are the final point of contact between brands and customers on the last mile. That’s why it is crucial to delight customers.
The magic delivery formula:
So, what is the magic formula for last-mile customer delight?
- Define the delivery window. Offer 2-hour delivery slots schedules as soon after the purchase as possible.
- Let customers self-schedule their delivery. If possible, allow customers to set their own delivery day and time.
- Communicate with the customer. Ensure timely and proactive communication, starting immediately after the purchase.
- Leverage technology. Use logistics software that can help smooth out complicated deliveries involving installations. The software can simplify setting up pre-checks. It can also leverage skill-based routing and automated prompts from the app to ensure that pictures are collected throughout the delivery and installation process.
- Contact-free proof of delivery. Enable delivery drivers and customers to confirm the goods exchanged hands and both parties are satisfied, without any physical device handoffs.
3PLs that rise to the occasion, delight customers and are compliant will prosper.
Businesses that live between retailers and customers can be stressful to operate and can quickly spin out of control if the partnership isn't set up right from the beginning. Using modern logistical tools to coordinate and comply with retail partner's standards is expected. Without an end-to-end solution that streamlines last mile activities and shares data, retailers are hesitant to work with 3PLs with whom they have zero visibility. At the same time, those 3PLs that can be flexible, adapt better tools, and deliver will shine and be in high demand.
DispatchTrack partners with 3PLs of all sizes to help them achieve a perfect delivery.
To deliver the first-class experience customers crave, 3PLs need reliable, dynamic tools for their dispatchers and drivers that sync with their retailer partners without requiring extra work. DispatchTrack helps 3PL operations deliver delight to clients and consignees.