Imagine you have had a recent online shopping spree, and now you are eagerly waiting for the packages to arrive.
You get an update that it is due to arrive today, and you wait the whole day, staring at the door, only to be informed that the delivery has been canceled because the “recipient is not at home.”
Well, you will find such stories of delivery disappointments galore on Twitter.
In this age and era, when companies are spending millions on maximizing a positive user experience, you cannot take your consumers for granted.
If you run a last-mile delivery business, you have to buckle up and enhance the delivery experience.
This article will help you figure out how to achieve that, with five strategies for offering a great delivery experience to your customers in 2021.
Communicate the Estimated Delivery Date as Precisely as Possible
Gone are the days when you could offer a delivery window range of say three to four days.
Customers get frustrated when you mention “to” because they don’t know exactly when they should expect the order to arrive. Add to it the number of days it takes to deliver.
Customer expectations have changed over the years, thanks to Amazon.
Nowadays, you need to provide a more specific delivery date, either three days or four days or even a shorter time window. Or you stand to lose your customers.
A study conducted on the shopping behaviors of people in 2020 shows that 43% of customers choose next-day delivery options. And, in 2021, you’ll no longer be able to expect customers to wait around forever for their packages when they are demanding same-day delivery.
Instead, you should provide as close an estimated date of delivery as possible to your customers, depending on their location. Then, try to stick to that date as much as possible to ensure a positive delivery experience.
To top it all off, you must offer a specific time window when your customers will get the delivery. This point cannot be emphasized more.
Exceeding the delivery date or time window even by a single day or hour can cost you the trust of your customers.
So, make sure you provide a feasible delivery date and time window by taking into account any incidents or accidents that might occur to disrupt it. But, once you give a date, stick to it come what may.
Manually analyzing the availability and capability of existing resources, while factoring in constraints, would be challenging. So, use a delivery route planner app that will make the task easier.
The best delivery route planner apps for delivery drivers come with a delivery time window constraint that automatically factors in any specification you input while planning routes.
The apps then provide you with well-optimized routes within a minute. In this way, you never need to worry about calculating or meeting the time windows again.
We discuss the other capabilities of a delivery scheduling software that could enhance the delivery experience later in this article.
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Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!
Keep Your Customers Informed
Place yourself in your customers’ shoes. What do you feel waiting for your orders to arrive after you have shopped online?
You are excited, right?
But the excitement can soon turn into annoyance and disappointment if you aren’t updated every time you open your email or check your phone to see how much longer it will take. Don’t make your customers go through this ordeal.
Implement a system that would notify customers to keep them in the loop of their delivery status. They should get updates every time the order shipment status changes.
You can also build a technology solution that would let your customers track their order delivery statuses on their own. We know that sounds like a costly affair. So, instead, you could use a map route planner.
For example, Route4Me’s multi-stop route planner comes with both a customer alerting and notification feature as well as a customer portal feature. Both will make your job seamless.
The customer alerting and notification feature automatically sends your customers an alert through SMS or email when they are the next stop to be visited on an active route.
For example, you can notify customers the day before a route with the approximate arrival time of a driver with up to five-minute accuracy.
Alternatively, you can send a notification when drivers begin approaching certain customers and are thus within 5 miles, 5 minutes, or 5 kilometers of their locations.
If you subcontract work to other drivers, Route4Me’s tracking and notification feature works with their routes and devices too. That means your customers are always in the loop, and your customer service team won’t be distracted by low-value activities.
The customer portal feature helps your customers track their order statuses on their own. They can log in to Route4Me’s delivery driver app, using a tracking number or their Account ID, to monitor the statuses of their inbound visits.
The customer portal shows them as much (or as little) information as you want to reveal to them about the visits. For example, you can show them estimated arrival times, the drivers’ identities, and custom fields.
Plan 100% Accurate and Well-Optimized Routes
Customers want on-time delivery, which is only possible if you plan well-optimized routes.
Using pen and paper won’t cut it as there’s too much guesswork and you can’t factor in all the nitty-gritty details, such as traffic and one-ways, which could put all your efforts in vain.
The route planning process will be even more challenging if you have many deliveries to make. An advanced route optimization software makes route planning and scheduling seamless.
Such software factors in multiple constraints, such as traffic, weather conditions, sunrise and sunset times, one-ways, left turns, under-construction roads, avoidance zones, weight, height, and time windows (as mentioned earlier) while planning routes.
All you have to do is upload the list of customer addresses into the system through a scanned copy or a spreadsheet or even manually, and set some parameters.
The route planner app will do the rest to provide you with 100% accurate and well-optimized routes, with turn-by-turn directions, in 30 seconds.
You also won’t need to worry about accuracy. And if anything happens, while the drivers are on the road, such as meeting a road mishap or having a vehicle breakdown, you can immediately re-optimize the affected route to still meet the delivery deadline.
Monitor Your Drivers
Providing well-optimized routes is one thing, but if your drivers don’t follow the instructions or get stuck on the road due to some unanticipated circumstances, then you won’t be able to make on-time deliveries and offer a great delivery experience.
That’s why you need to track your drivers’ whereabouts on the road. A commercial GPS tracker can help you here.
A vehicle tracking software will help you track your vehicles and drivers on the road in real-time.
If they deviate from the routes shared, make personal stops, speed up, or drive aggressively, you’ll immediately know about it and can take steps to rectify their behavior.
Also, when the drivers know that they are being tracked, they are more likely to take their jobs seriously which would ultimately benefit both you and your drivers.
Request Feedback from Your Customers
The best way to improve your delivery service is by asking for feedback from the people who matter – your customers.
You can use an online feedback system or simply send an email, asking for feedback on the delivery experience of customers after you complete an order. You should include things like driver rating and overall satisfaction level.
The important thing is to work on the feedback you receive. Striving to improve your customers’ delivery experience is the first step towards implementing it.
Final Thoughts about Improving Delivery Experience
There has been a marked increase in online shopping. Customers have become more demanding and insist on receiving better services.
According to a report, 97% of online shoppers say delivery costs are important, whereas 92% said shipping speed was crucial when making a purchase.
And, with so much competition in the market, the only way any last-mile delivery business can survive is to focus more on the customers and offer high-quality delivery experiences. So, they must offer better services and faster delivery at lower costs.
Incorporate the five strategies mentioned above and see how your delivery business grows in 2021. After all, customers are the kings and the best strategy for any business is to treat them as such.