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Why now is the time to enhance your customer delivery communication (and how ePOD software can help)

How many times have you had to wait for a delivery or service technician to arrive with no information beyond the promise of a 2 hour window? Or perhaps inaccurate delivery slots that pass by with no notification of the new time window are a regular cause of frustration?

There are some circumstances when you may not require detailed last mile communication. If your parcel can easily be dropped through your letterbox for example, or left in a safe place. However, imagine you are …

  • At home waiting for a plumber to fix your boiler before leaving for work
  • A store manager waiting for a delivery that will allow you to fulfil online grocery orders
  • Desperately waiting for a last minute gift to arrive before you leave the office on Christmas Eve.

In any of these situations, a lack of suitable delivery notifications is a real problem.

Good delivery communication enhances the overall customer experience

Research from the Royal Mail found that 65% of online shoppers want progress updates throughout the journey, while a report from Metapack found that 54% of consumers say clear, accurate tracking is an important consideration at the point of purchase for the majority of their purchases.

It is clear then, that timely, accurate delivery communication has become a universal customer expectation. But, good last mile communication can do a lot more than simply satisfy that demand, offering a range of benefits to your customers to improve the delivery and, therefore, the brand experience.

Show them you value their time – Timely and frequent updates allow your customers to better manage their time, perhaps saving them from waiting in all day or allowing them to nip home from work in their lunch hour instead of taking the entire day off. It shows you understand their time is valuable too.

Reduce the need to call – Frequently communicating with your customers, or providing them with the ability to check their own delivery updates via real-time online tracking, means they do not need to directly contact your customer service teams. This simultaneously improves the experience for them while reducing call wait times for those with more complex queries.

Increase confidence – Customers lead busy lives. The last thing they need to worry about is when or if a delivery is going to turn up. Providing accurate updates that are based on real-time data from the field results in a customer experience that people are happy to pay for again; positively review on Trustpilot or similar; and actively recommend to their friends and colleagues.

There are benefits for you as well as your customers

As well as enhancing customer service, providing a high level of delivery communication can also have operational benefits for your business, such as:

Increasing first time delivery success – A recent IMRG study found that missed delivery windows are costing retailers, carriers and consumers a collective £1.6bn a year. Whether you’re delivering goods or providing services, first time visit success can be a challenging KPI to excel at. Providing accurate notifications – even if timings do have to change – allows customers to better plan their time and increases your first time delivery success rate.

Reducing inbound WISMO queries – By providing delivery notifications or access to real-time tracking, you allow your customer to self-serve. This may mean you can redeploy some of your customer service resource in other areas of the business or free up some of their time to implement other customer service initiatives, such as follow up feedback surveys.

So what is stopping businesses adopting electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) software for improved customer communication?

The two biggest barriers for businesses that want to provide enhanced customer communication are usually a lack of real-time visibility of what is happening out on the road and insufficient resource to update customers as frequently as necessary. That’s where advanced ePOD software comes in. Among the many benefits of proof of delivery software, it provides real-time visibility of all activities on the road and can automate delivery updates.

Using an easy to use mobile application, your drivers or technicians are able to record details of all activities, including on-site encounters, meal breaks and operational tasks such as vehicles checklists or risk assessments. This information is then transmitted in real-time, along with GPS data, to a central management console. From this console you can configure the automated communications you wish to send, including:

  • Pre-delivery emails or SMS messages that can include expected delivery dates and time slot
  • On the day SMS messages with accurate time windows based on real-time data from completed jobs
  • Post-delivery emails including a PDF report of all completed activities
  • You can also provide customers with access to a real-time delivery tracking portal that allows them to see in-flight ETA updates

Using the real-time visibility provided by ePOD software, your office based staff are able to respond to changing circumstances out on the road as they happen. This means they can proactively contact the customer when an issue arises, instead of waiting for the driver or customer to get in touch after the fact. In some circumstances, they may even be able to rectify the issue before it affects the customer at all.

As customer expectations around delivery communication continue to increase across industries, it is not only retailers that need to consider the service they are offering. No matter what industry you operate in, providing timely, accurate and transparent delivery communications can help you satisfy customer expectations, enhance the delivery experience and put you ahead of the competition. And, best of all, with ePOD software it doesn’t need to be complex to implement, difficult for your office based staff to manage or your field staff to adopt.

To find out more about how ePOD software can help your business, check out our ultimate guide to the benefits of proof of delivery software or get in to touch to arrange a tailored demonstration of Paragon’s fleXipod ePOD software.


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