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What's the Next Generation of Customer Delivery Experience?

Customer delivery experience is a moving target. Both end consumers and business buyers have their expectations molded by a host of different factors over time, including all the other deliveries they’ve received and the other customer service interactions they’ve had across the board. To keep up with changing expectations, you have to be constantly listening to your customers and evaluating your processes. next generation customer delivery experience

Ultimately, it will be the needs of the customers themselves—combined with evolving technology—that define the next generation of customer delivery experience. For delivery businesses, this will require being flexible and adaptable, to say nothing of leveraging the right tools for the job.

And the best time to start preparing for the next generation of customer experience is right now.  

Why Is Customer Delivery Experience so Important?

Customer delivery experience obviously has a huge impact on customer satisfaction in modern deliveries. There are plenty of stats that we can trot out regarding the customer loyalty impact of great deliveries. And our own research bears out the idea that customers want timely, relevant communications:

  • Half of consumers blame negative delivery experiences on bad communication.
  • 6 in 10 consumers are unlikely to purchase from a retailer again when a previous order misses the scheduled delivery window.
  • “On-time” was the best aspect of most positive delivery experiences.

But it’s not just the customers who benefit. DispatchTrack users, for instance, have been able to leverage customer experience improvements not just to boost customer satisfaction but to actually improve delivery performance. 

For instance, by rolling out additional delivery reminders before the day of delivery, you can give customers more chances to let you know that a particular delivery date and time won’t work or that a detail of their order isn’t correct. This puts you in a position to avoid putting goods into trucks that are just going to get returned to the warehouse. 

By the same token, by ensuring delivery transparency on the day of delivery—in the form of reminders, alerts, and live delivery tracking capabilities—you can reduce the number of not-at-home and avoid costly redelivery attempts.

From the customer’s perspective, these extra touches help ensure connectivity and make them feel taken care of. But from the delivery organization’s point of view, they have the added benefit of ensuring a smoother last mile delivery process all around. The result is reduced delivery costs from redelivery attempts, product damage, etc. 

Customer experience is about strengthening your brand and delighting your customers, but it’s also about ROI. 

How Can Delivery Businesses Improve Customer Experience?

Orchestrating a great customer delivery experience—one that inspires customers to keep coming back for future orders, and even to leave positive reviews online—requires the right tools. 

First of all, you need the right tools to actually back up your delivery promises. All the connectivity, visibility, and high-touch communications in the world won’t result in a great experience for the customer if you can’t get the right goods to the right location at the right time. No customer wants transparency into deliveries that aren’t going to be executed well. 

Once you’ve got strong route optimization and execution processes in place, you can start to think about all of the customer communication touches that go into a next-gen experience. Here are a few key elements:

  • Enable two-way communications: Customers want to be able to connect with you about their orders, and they don’t want to call your customer support center. The best practice here is to leverage two-way communications that allow them to reach you simply by responding to system generated messages. Those messages from—and to—the customer should be centralized in a single view, so that you can quickly get up to speed on any necessary context and provide personalized service. 
  • Meet customers where they are: Notification fatigue is real, and people want control over when and how they’re contacted, even for critical information like delivery ETAs. The ability to converse with customers via email, text, voice, or chat depending on their needs is crucial to ensuring an elevated delivery experience across the board. Of course, a “more is more” approach to customer communications often pays dividends—do your best to give customers more opportunities to get the information they need. 
  • Offer live tracking: Live tracking isn’t quite ubiquitous at this point, but it’s common enough that we don’t even associate it with a specific service—say Uber or Doordash—anymore. When it comes to last mile deliveries, the ability to see the location of the truck in real time can be a huge boon to customer experience, and it can make the customer much more confident that the delivery will arrive at the right time. This also gives you an opportunity to strengthen your brand by including logos, messaging, and even driver photos. 
  • Cover the full lifecycle: Obviously, you’ll need to determine the right cadence of communications for the last mile delivery process for your specific business (and your customers). But you also need the flexibility to keep customers in the loop outside that cadence. This might include touches before and after the delivery per se, but it can also include ad hoc messages to deal with things like weather events, rescheduling, etc. 

With these best practices, you can give customers the kinds of experience that they associate with trusted brands, even outside the world of delivery. 

Looking Towards the Future

Like we said at the top, customer expectations are changing all the time, and your workflows will have to change over time to keep up. At the same time, you’ll need to be deliberate and intentional about it, rather than just jumping on the latest technological bandwagon. 

Take AI for instance: There’s little doubt that AI is going to impact delivery (even more than it’s already doing), including in the realm of customer communications. But it can be challenging to separate fact from fiction in terms of what AI’s actual applications are and how receptive customers will be to some of the proposed use cases. Just because you can roll out an AI-powered chatbot on your website, that doesn’t mean your customers want to interact that way. 

(Furthermore, just because it’s a shiny new chatbot, that doesn’t mean it’s real AI.) 

That’s why we believe that the future of last mile customer delivery experience is going to be even further integration, greater connectivity, and easier communication across each and every touchpoint. This might mean making it easier for drivers and customers to communicate in a useful way, or giving drivers voice-to-text tools for staying connected while they’re on the road. 

Ultimately, as technology advances, it should make these interactions as frictionless as possible for all involved. If that means leveraging AI to auto-suggest responses to customer queries, great. If that means speeding up the process of connecting the customer to the right human on your team via AI, terrific. The trick is to make sure you’re deploying new customer experience tools with a clear idea of the desired outcome. 

The easiest way to do this is stay flexible while working with technology who are experienced and have long track records of prioritizing customer experience. When you can leverage the combined wisdom of those who are deeply invested in providing next-generation customer experiences in an effective and connected way, you can set yourself up to keep evolving successfully over time.  

Want More Cost Optimization Tips? Read The Last Mile Cost Reduction Playbook:

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