date06 September 2018

What do customers expect from deliveries in 2018?

Exceeding customer expectations today is perhaps more challenging than it has ever been. Across every sector and area of service, customers anticipate more from the businesses they use, and ever-increasing competition means they have more options than ever to find it. So, when it comes to deliveries, what do customers really want? And how can your business be sure to provide it?

The Amazon effect

There can’t be many of us who have never received a parcel from the world’s biggest online sales platform. As we explored in a previous blog about the impact Amazon has had on the world of retail, Amazon has almost single-handedly revolutionised the way consumers shop and receive goods, largely thanks to its quick and flexible delivery processes. As a result, customers have come to expect fast and convenient dispatch of their orders, for their goods to be delivered to a location that suits them at any given time, and to be kept in the loop throughout. When speed, reliability and transparency are top of your customers’ wish lists, here’s how your business can ensure it delivers.

Getting the goods there fast

Speed is perhaps the number one priority for most consumers these days; today’s hectic pace of life often means orders are placed just days before they’re needed. Whatever the range of delivery options your business offers, most customers are unlikely to give you a second chance if your business fails to get their order to them within their chosen timeframe. Providing a timely delivery service is all in the planning. With orders coming in from all over your geographic market area every day, your business needs a system that enables you to schedule the most fuel and time-efficient delivery routes for your fleet, and to ensure agility when unexpected hitches occur. An electronic proof-of-delivery (EPOD) solution can tackle this continual process with ease, allowing you to place every order on the vehicle and route that will get it to the customer exactly when it needs to, automatically or manually, and with a digital footprint that keeps your drivers up to speed. New orders can be seamlessly integrated into your route plans as they come in, and fleet tracking technology means you can anticipate potential delays and update your drivers in the field in real-time, long-before a hold-up has the chance to delay them.

Minimising the risk of failed deliveries 

A quick delivery time is meaningless if the goods don’t make it safely and securely into the hands of their new owners. Failed deliveries can cost your business more than just the time and expense of reselling or redelivery; research has found that a late or missed delivery would make almost half of consumers think twice about buying from the company in question again. Of course, no business can expect to deliver every order first time every time. But, without a system that gives you visibility of your dispatch and distribution service from order to fulfilment, and of your fleet as it moves from job to job, it’s almost impossible to stop delivery failures cropping up more than they should. An EPOD solution can help you readdress the balance by recording the whereabouts and progress of your goods out for delivery, and enabling you to communicate with drivers in the field and update them of changes to routes and/or delivery destinations. You can even ensure the vehicles in your fleet are maintained to peak condition and fully compliant with road safety legislation, thanks to automated tax, MOT and service date reminders, and a built-in vehicle inspection app for your drivers.

Keeping your customers informed

Achieving optimum delivery fulfilment also hinges on your ability to let your customers know when to expect their goods, particularly when it comes to large items that must be received in person. A narrow and accurate delivery timeslot is key to customer satisfaction; we all know how frustrating it can be to free up a set period of time to receive a delivery that fails to materialise. Delivery slots can be generated as part of EPOD job planning and scheduling, allowing you to pass these on to your customers in plenty of time, and to keep them in the know as soon as possible should anything look likely to delay the arrival of their goods.     

Global distributors like Amazon may have set the trend when it comes to establishing consumer delivery expectations, but with a responsive EPOD system in place, any business can provide a delivery service that keeps customers happy and likely to return. Get in touch with us today to find out how our EPOD solutions can help you deliver your best service yet.