26 November 2019

Festive failures demonstrate need for smarter use of delivery technology

Just as Black Friday has cemented its place as an annual festival of shopping for discounted deals, so too have the stories of customer dissatisfaction linked with the delivery of items bought online at peak periods.  

The thing is, in previous years it may have been a case of deliveries being too slow, a lack of options or even damage occurring during transit. But now the key reason behind shoppers’ discontent is one that wouldn’t have seemed possible a decade ago – that deliveries are arriving too early.  

That’s right. According to a survey from consumer watchdog Which?, more than half of online shoppers from November 2018 to January 2019 experienced at least one problem regarding delivery, and the most common complaint was that orders arrived earlier than expected when no one was home to collect.  

It goes to show the effect that technology has had on the delivery process. While consumers now expect a very high standard of service, which has largely been driven by the retail market, they also want a service that fits around their needs.  

But with the focus being weighted heavily on speed, has the need for a smart and flexible delivery offering been left behind?    

False start  

Logistics is under more intense customer pressure than ever before and the standard is being set by one-day and even same-day deliveries, such as Amazon Prime Now.  

Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) systems are crucial to underpinning these rapid services. But it’s not all they can do.  

The best systems will offer real-time tracking, instant invoicing, reduced paperwork, easy integration with other platforms and even vehicle and resource management.  

Let’s look at the Which? findings in more detail. As well as 29% of consumers finding deliveries were attempted earlier than expected, other complaints included:  

  • 24% said couriers did not follow instructions
  • 17% were late
  • 24% did not arrive
  • 9% left a note even though customer was home
  • 6% courier rescheduled.  

What we can conclude from these findings is that speed isn’t everything. You need to be smart too and if you’re offering personalised delivery options, you must back them up and be able to make changes on the fly.  

The point is, whether business or residential, customers want real-time information at their fingertips. This means accurate ETAs, geo-fencing and integrated IT systems from intake to invoice.    

Last mile  

Having better control of the ‘last mile’ of delivery is vital. It’s where drivers can offer a personal touch to help raise customer satisfaction at the point of delivery.  

At a time when items can be bought and delivered with minimal human interaction, it’s important to retain a customer service element and this where drivers – especially those at SMEs - can shine.  

Of course, they still need to be supported by accurate information in order to fulfil these duties, which the latest mobile devices and EPOD solutions can provide.  

No matter what the future brings, EPOD will provide a number of benefits both internally and externally.  

Businesses gain an increased level of visibility to help with job scheduling and vehicle tracking, which in turn helps increase efficiency and accuracy. Customers gain an advantage by being able to track their own delivery and gain an electronic proof of delivery – providing reassurance and confidence particularly to those buying high-value goods.  

In today’s competitive marketplace, and looking at the challenges and opportunities that may arise in the future, businesses equipped with EPOD will be well placed to cope with whatever is thrown at them.    

Why choose TouchStar?  

TouchStar’s PODStar solution offers tangible and immediate benefits to your operation, including   

  • Improved cash flow through faster invoicing
  • Rapid ROI through improvements in workforce productivity 
  • Paperless and automated system reducing error rates
  • Save time and money wasted in the search for lost POD paperwork
  • Optimised delivery performance resulting in enhanced customer satisfaction
  • Fuel reduction and improved carbon footprint through efficient routing
  • Quickly view productivity by individual resource or vehicle, enabling you to determine sources of profit or loss
  • Enhanced safety of drivers and the general public through automated vehicle reminders and checks.    

TouchStar occupies a unique position as a supplier of EPOD and tracking solutions to the fleet sector, being a system integrator, hardware manufacturer and software development house. If you already have core system components in place, TouchStar can work with you to examine how to optimise or extend these, in order to accrue additional operational and business benefits.  

If you’d like to find out more about PODstar contact the team today.