Your logistics customer service may once have been acceptable. But more businesses are finding their parcel delivery service doesn’t cut it anymore.
The customer service aspect of parcel delivery has become more important as expectations continue to climb.
A wide-ranging Capgemini study confirmed how important delivery has become – it found delivery performance can foster loyalty when done well and drive customers away when it doesn’t meet expectations.
Capgemini said customers who are satisfied with the delivery experience are more likely to increase their purchase levels – “74% of satisfied consumers intend to increase purchase levels by 12% with their preferred retailer”; they also found 48% of dissatisfied customers intend to stop purchasing from a poor performing supplier.
The prevailing theme was dissatisfaction with last-mile delivery – high prices, unavailability of same-day service, and lateness the biggest complaints.
This isn’t just a retail issue: we’re seeing it in industries such as auto parts, catering, building materials and other business-to-business sectors.
How do you know your customer service still stacks up? Consider some key questions:
Have you gone for cheapness over quality?
Any company shipping valuable, bespoke items, fragile items, or products with unusual sizes must be careful. Many “bargain” last-mile suppliers and couriers are not set up to handle these products. Other options may seem more expensive, but may be more reliable and provide better service, building customer loyalty.
Any business which has been hit by repeated returns or claims for lost or damaged goods knows going cheap can really cost you.
Are you trying to do too much yourself?
It’s easy to over-invest in your own fleet, over-committing to huge fixed costs. It also introduces headaches: Verizon Connect (telematics supplier) found the average small to medium business faces a £6,000 (A$11,000) repair bill each year and five days of vehicle downtime due to road collisions; a third of respondents said maintenance and associated costs keeps them awake at night.
Most companies are better off concentrating on their core business, leaving fleet management headaches to someone else.
Do you have the expertise?
Achieving high level logistics results means acquiring the appropriate expertise, whether internal or external. To meet high consumer demands everything must work in cohesion, from receiving the order to stock placement, warehousing, picking, packing and labelling, through to pick up and delivery, in full, unbroken and on time.
With so many moving parts it’s easy for companies without expertise to suffer inefficiency, cost blowouts and poor service.
Do you have the control you need?
Outsourcing your delivery fleet should provide you with more control, not less. Whether you outsource the lot, or whether you run a blend of outsourced and in-house delivery resources, you need solutions which are flexible and responsive.
Is digitalisation working for or against you?
More supply chains are using digitalisation, though it doesn’t always carry through to last mile delivery and is not always used by smaller companies.
Digitalisation is powerful at improving efficiency – tracking technology allows you monitor performance and achieve more deliveries with the same resources. Digitalisation tools such as telematics technology are now more accessible for all business, though many at the small to mid-sized end still do not have a system in place.
Customers love being informed – but, most importantly, they now expect it. Luckily, with many affordable systems on the market, any business can keep them up to date.
By Walter Scremin
Walter Scremin heads up national delivery transport firm, Ontime Delivery Solutions. He has more than 30 years’ experience in logistics and is passionate about solving logistical problems by focussing on efficiency and technology.