If you’re in the home delivery business, you’re really in the communication business.
Since the days of messenger pigeons, people have been trying to share information with more efficiency and speed.
Later, as technology expanded into new forms, so did our messaging options and with those came preference as well. Today we shudder at the thought of taking a voice call for exchanging basic details when a text or a tweet would do the trick. Companies need to take notice of the customer’s expectations so they can deliver accordingly.
“I used to say we were a technology and communication company that also provided home delivery service.”
Consumers today want more information updated in real-time as their orders progress. They also want options when it comes to how you deliver the updates. Your system should be designed to naturally figure that out, either at the point of purchase or in a follow up email, discovering their channel of choice early on. Some prefer email or text, while others may want a traditional voice call.
The Parties Communicating
In our industry, last mile communications bounce between: the eComm retailer, the transportation company, the delivery agent and most importantly the consumer. Let’s take a look at the messaging expectations and who is responsible for providing what.
The eComm Retailer
The Retailer expects to be notified with the same information the consumer receives. They also want to be sure that the right pieces have arrived and that they're in good condition before being sent out. Retailers always want to know if there were any issues during the delivery process (if things went wrong, breakage etc). With DispatchTrack’s Proof of Delivery feature this is an easy box to check off.
The Transportation Company
The transporter needs to provide the date of pick-up, the arrival and departure date at each break-bulk terminal as well as the arrival date at the local delivery facility.
The Delivery Agent (Final Mile)
The Local Delivery Terminal needs to provide the arrival date and report back any unexpected variables (overage, shortage or damage) about the merchandise to the retailer. On the day of delivery, the consumer must be called by the delivery team 30 min before arriving. Again, DispatchTrack delivers, the Call Ahead button on our mobile app is a one-tap task for the driver to inform the customer they’ll be there shortly - all automated.
Consumers have become accustomed to knowing the status of their parcel purchases, receiving updates at each stage in the delivery chain. This has proven to reduce their concerns and lessen status related calls. It has been established that most consumers readily accept a package arriving late, but what really frustrates them is not being kept in the loop and up to date about their order after the purchase.
Be it parcel or oversized items, consumers expect the same level of communication and status updates when purchasing items online.
At a minimum, they expect to know:
- Location of goods as they are transported
- Estimated arrival date at the local delivery facility
- Estimated and actual delivery date
There have been many advancements made in the communication process over the past 20 years, but there is still significant room for improvement.
Local companies delivering on behalf of eComm retailers are trying to streamline their processes but are being forced to use different automation software depending on who they're working with. This splintering of processes at the Last Mile phase causes a lot of headaches.
Fortunately, solutions exist.
DispatchTrack has an elegant approach to automating the information exchange required from the local delivery terminal. This allows the delivery team to use one automation tool and communicate to the various eComm Retailers regardless of the technology they use. That's powerful integration that, in the long-term adds up to more efficiency and thousands of hours in saved labor.
We may not be sending notes with pigeons anymore but the essence of good communications hasn’t changed, be clear, update regularly and use the best channel to deliver the message.