What’s your biggest priority? Cutting costs or increasing customer satisfaction? Probably a combination of both, yet achieving one may seem at odds with the achieving the other. But does it have to be?

While the majority of organisations looking to implement route planning software are looking to reduce planning time and costs, improving customer experience is also a significant priority for the vast majority of our clients. In a recent survey nearly 20 per cent cited improving customer experience as their second highest objective for this year, so how can route planning software actually help?

1. Deliver at a convenient time

Deliveries can be quite disruptive. For example, staff members might need to stop what they are doing to assist with unloading at some sites, while at others unloading times might be subject to strict local council regulations to avoid creating congestion in urban environments. Advanced route planning software will allow you to record time slots that are the most convenient for each client location. This will help minimise loading times per site but also ensure it is at a time that is convenient, even if that time varies each day of the week.

2. Narrower delivery windows

As consumers your customers will be used to short lead times and narrow time windows. Why should a one-hour time window become a four-hour time window in their professional life? With all of the data available, your route planning software should be able to take account of average road speeds, parking restrictions, individual customer preferences, unloading times and driver hours to provide delivery windows that are narrow but also importantly feasible for your drivers to achieve.

3. Improve the accuracy of your arrival times

Customers want consistent and reliable delivery times. This means that the accuracy of your transport plans and predicted arrival times is all-important. One way to improve this is to combine your route planning software with average road speed data set at road link level which allows you to calculate far more precise journeys and provide more accurate arrival times to your customers.

4. Keep people updated

Sometimes in spite of your best efforts, situations on the road change. Perhaps the first delivery of the day has taken longer than expected, or there has been a road traffic accident. Faced with these delays, it is far better to be able to proactively update your customers with new arrival times than wait until they phone you to complain. Integrating vehicle tracking systems with your route planning software allows you to track what is actually happening on the road against your plan, enabling you to provide live updates regarding their delivery.

5. Allow your customers to choose their preferred form of communication

As consumers we are asked whether we would like to be updated by phone, SMS or email. It is important that you are able to communicate with your customers using a medium that suits them. For example, some of our customers take a feed from their Paragon route planning software and display this information on a web screen for their customer services teams. Our supermarket clients typically display this information on an arrivals board at the back of their stores, while other transport operations will send automated alerts via text or email to their customers. Which of these would help improve the customer experience you provide?

Transport operations are increasingly becoming a key differentiator for many of our clients. Clearly what constitutes good customer experience will vary between different sectors. However, what does not vary is the need to deliver on what you have promised with the minimum impact to the customer’s business.

Could advanced route planning software help you to achieve your KPIs and make your organisation stand out? Get in touch with us today to discuss your transport operation with one of our experienced team.

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