It’s another customer request to change delivery schedules. Margins are already tight — can you afford to give them what they want while keeping your delivery operations efficient?
The answer should be yes — providing you have the right route optimization tools to help you juggle new demands and schedules. Advanced route optimization software will help you improve customer service in other ways, too, such as increased on-time delivery performance and better communication, while generating efficient delivery routing to keep costs controlled.
It’s critical that your desire for the most cost-efficient route plan does not conflict with achievement of the highest customer service levels with customer service becoming an increasingly important factor for distribution companies looking to gain competitive advantage. These goals must align.
Advanced route planning software puts powerful computing at your fingertips so that you can easily handle increasingly complex delivery operations. Implementing this software will certainly save you money with an estimated 10-30% reduction in fleet operating costs. A powerful extra benefit is the boost to customer service.
Better communication of ETAs
Advanced route planning software allows you to offer and hit tighter time windows, giving your customers a more accurate ETA that’s expressed in minutes rather than “between 8 and 12 Tuesday morning.” Most users of Aptean Routing & Scheduling software report increasing customer demand for more precise delivery times.
Automating the process of customer communication ensures customers receive the information they need to manage their day while also significantly reducing inbound calls to customer service. Updates can be sent via SMS and/or email alerts to the customer’s chosen contact method.
If you integrate your vehicle tracking system with your route planning software, you can capture real-time data at an individual driver and vehicle level, allowing you to give customers timely updates on delivery progress.
Having to reschedule a delivery because your vehicle couldn’t access the site or having to rearrange because the customer isn’t available to take receipt of the delivery is a poor experience for the customer and an expensive mistake for your transportation operation.
More personal customer service
The right route planning software will also allow you to enter the relevant delivery restrictions against each customer. These might include exact locations of loading docks or the need to give a 15-minute warning to front-of-house staff that they need to move to receiving mode.
You only have to enter this information once. After that, algorithms will incorporate each customer’s request in every delivery plan. These accurate, automated communication of ETAs leaves your customer service staff free to deal with the more complex customer queries that require intervention, allowing them to really shine.
Self-service options for home delivery
The need for efficient delivery routing extends beyond retail deliveries to managing home delivery fleets. The right route planning system can be integrated with your ecommerce storefront to allow consumers to choose their own delivery times for large-item purchases — and they can do it on their PC or mobile device. This home delivery self-service option can play a critical role in an online buyer’s decision to purchase.
An opportunity to share the benefits
You might even save so much money you can offer one of the best forms of customer service — a reduction in price. One large, family-owned distributor of fresh produce for the fast-food industry reduced its delivery costs by 20% after implementing Aptean Routing & Scheduling software and passed some of those gains on to its customers. Add in the improved service levels they achieved by making deliveries more predictable and they experienced a huge customer satisfaction gain.
These are just some of the ways advanced route optimization software can improve customer service while achieving efficient delivery routing. It’s critical that your efficiency and customer service goals are tightly aligned in this age of cut-throat competition and customer expectations for faster, better, cheaper distribution services.
Curious about how you can use route optimization software to achieve efficient delivery routing while improving customer service? Talk to one of our routing experts today.
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