Bane Hunter: The new consumer: how improving your customer-facing service can improve your last-mile logistics

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There’s a common saying in the retail sector that the customer is always right. And when it comes to delivery and logistics, this has never been more true.

We are seeing a new emerging world in both society and business where we have access to new information and data at our fingertips.

Which makes it no surprise that as our access to information rises, so too does our expectation as consumers. Gone are the days where customers are left waiting at home for a package that could arrive at any stage of the week. Now with last-mile delivery logistics, customers are given access to real-time tracking updates and know exactly when their delivery is due to arrive.

But it’s not just the information that is key, consumers also want to be part of the feedback loop. They even want to be pre-empted with their need requirements. It’s all about control, visibility and service.

Take Amazon for instance. The online retail giant has built their success not on only having one of the best technology solutions out there, but primarily on their passionate and laser-focused dedication to servicing and understanding their customer base.

It is now a new norm for customers to expect a simple and streamlined online purchase, with convenient and flexible delivery options as well as real-time tracking and updates. Which means for traditional businesses to improve their delivery and logistics offerings, they not only need to implement one of these elements, but all three and more. Survival in today’s market requires evolutionary changes, and time is not on your side.

The first area you should take a look at is the area that customers have the most interaction with; be that your website, app or even your in-store experience.

By analysing the success of different areas in your platform (you can use simple tools such as Google Analytics or MixPanel for this), you can implement elements that have the most traction with customers to optimise your offering at the right time.

Often, while it may seem that giving customers several options makes your service more attractive, having too many options can actually decrease the probability of a customer completing their purchase. If you can’t make it as easy as possible for a customer to understand what you are offering within 15 seconds, you lose.

When it comes to consumers, convenience is key. Not only to buy an item, but to conveniently have it delivered or returned, or even set a repeat order with minimal effort. Which is where your last-mile delivery logistics play an important part.

Your customers should know, without a shadow of a doubt, exactly when and where their parcel will arrive, what is in it, who is delivering it, and how they can provide feedback on the whole process. If any customer feels the need to email or phone your company, you are at risk of losing a customer long-term. Consumer time has always been a commodity, now it’s just become more competitive. This applies not just with mainstream consumers, but business clients as well.

So embrace this new era of consumer control. Because to paraphrase Shakespeare; to have or not to have customers is the real question.

Bane Hunter is the Executive Chairman of delivery and software logistics company GetSwift.

 

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About Author

Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of My Logistics Money Magazine and My Entrepreneur Magazine. Kizzi Nkwocha made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain. Nkwocha has published a number of books on running your own business and in 2011 his team won the Specialized Information Publishing Association (SIPA) award for best use of social media. In the UK he runs a successful consultancy called Social Biz Training which trains people on how to use social media for business.

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