2. Eliminate Drama with the Right Operational Processes and Technology in Place for a Quality Delivery Experience
The driver focuses on getting the right package to the right place at the right time. The carrier focuses on consistently repeating that outcome thousands of times each day with as little “drama” as possible.
There are two critical elements to producing that consistency. The first is having the right operational processes and technology in place to put the correct number of drivers in the right type of vehicles with optimized capacity and routing each day. A carrier needs repeatable processes that set drivers up for success each day and predictive analytics that identify potential snags before they occur. It’s not quite rocket science, but it’s close.
Once the driver is in the field, brands need coordination and communication between the driver, dispatch, the shipper, and the customer. Real-time communication directly with the customer or shipper can help sort out problems like access codes or wrong addresses that would typically result in a missed delivery. It can also go a long way towards undoing any potential reputational damage to your brand through a missed delivery. And communicating directly with the customer can add a personal touch to your brand that consumers—especially millennials—are always looking for.
3. Extending Brands to the Customer’s Doorstep Ensure a Quality Delivery Experience
As an e-commerce retailer, your last-mile partner extends your brand directly to the consumer’s doorstep. The delivery box or polybag has your name on it. Your top priority is accurate and on-time delivery—the right package to the right door at the right time—and you have metrics in place to measure that. Keeping errors low and on-time delivery high is key to providing full value for your customer. But you also have other concerns that affect your and your customers’ perception of a quality delivery experience.
4. Tracking Transparency and Real-Time Updates
ECommerce brands need to know what is happening with today’s packages in real-time. Does a carrier’s operational platform give you enough visibility to see where packages are at any time? Do you have enough visibility into the steps to resolve any exceptions?
5. Delivery as a Brand Experience
There is a direct correlation between delivery experience and internal metrics like net promoter score (NPS) and retention. The flexibility of last-mile logistics partners can allow you to personalize the delivery experience and inspire brand loyalty. Was the delivery experience hassle-free for your customer? Did the driver follow special instructions? Did the driver communicate the correct information to your customer?
6. Risk Mitigation for Shipping Peaks and Valleys
You may not want to put all your eggs in one basket with one shipper. For example, can your carrier handle flexing capacities to support a carrier diversification strategy? Can they consistently move your inventory fast enough? Can they quickly scale for peak season, consumption spikes and dips, and longer-term top-line growth?
7. Flexibility to Adapt to Changing Expectations to Ensure a Quality Delivery Experience
Your carrier should be flexible enough to adapt to your processes. It would help if you didn’t have to adjust to theirs. Ask yourself, “Does my carrier’s technology give us more flexibility or less?”
How well does your carrier accommodate your needs in processes, APIs, etc.? For example, can they support your preferred solution for dealing with exceptions/returns (single or multiple retries, interact with customer service, return to sender, etc.)? Are delivery systems flexible enough to support re-routing in real-time (“Can you deliver this to my office instead of my home?”)? Getting these things right can help you delight your customers and keep you out of the hot seat with your internal stakeholders.
One more thing about a quality delivery experience—it’s a moving target. As shippers and carriers extend capabilities and provide higher service levels, those will quickly become the new normal, the new class of consumer expectations.