Drivers and delivery personnel can easily act as ambassadors for your company, forming a crucial part of the customer experience. In fact, they do, whether you like it or not.
In many ways, your delivery personnel are your best asset. Do they have the tools they need to make a great impression when it matters most? Arming drivers with cutting-edge electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) software can give you a decided advantage in the battle for customer loyalty.
With online shopping beginning to exceed bricks-and-mortar purchases in many sectors (both retail and B2B), it’s quite possible that the ONLY face to face interaction your customers will have with your brand is during the delivery process. Unfortunately, the delivery part of the supply chain is where there are far more chances for things to go wrong (or right).
In a commercial environment where 82% of consumers say their purchase decisions have been directly influenced by online user reviews (Deloitte), great customer service – as part of the customer experience – is more critical than ever. That puts more pressure on the quality and type of services offered in the course of delivery, which contribute to the experience a customer gets on the doorstep on the day of delivery.
Whether it’s a delivery of groceries, a nurse or insurance agent making a home visit, or a two-man team installing a flat-screen TV, the quality of service offered during delivery distinguishes your company from competitors, and that factor is only going to grow. Customer satisfaction at this juncture will lead to repeat business, as well as recommendations that bring fresh customers. Advanced proof of delivery software provides powerful tools to ensure a consistent, excellent customer-service experience.
Yet many companies are still asking their drivers to struggle with paper-based processes at the point of delivery, presenting an unprofessional and out-of-date brand image. Others are still using last-generation sign-on-glass solutions such as those familiar to anyone who has received a delivery via UPS or FedEx in the last decade. In those cases, while data from the delivery is transmitted to a centralized system in real-time, that data is extremely rudimentary – usually limited to tracking number, time and date stamp, and a signature that shows the recipient marked the shipment as received. The capabilities of advanced proof of delivery software are far greater.
As the quality of overall customer experience during delivery increases, predictability becomes key. Among other advantages, advanced proof of delivery software offers the ability to ensure that your ambassador-drivers will follow a completely consistent set of processes, giving a reliable customer experience every time. Each driver will be prompted to follow your specified step-by-step protocols and answer questions – such as “have you put on shoe covers before entering the customer’s home?”
Another benefit is that issues identified at the point of delivery, such as short orders, wrong items or damage to the product, can be addressed on the doorstep. Drivers can send photos to customer service operatives, and communicate in real-time to resolve issues by immediately ordering replacement items, or offering the customer an on-the-spot discount.
Further, with advanced electronic proof of delivery software, the ability to take and share photos means drivers can make a reliable record of exactly where they left an item, or show where and how an appliance was installed, or that a large bulky item was delivered without causing damage to the home, for example.
Smart ePOD software also allows quick and easy introduction of new requests or protocols, whether generated by the customer service team or the customer themselves. Special instructions can be transmitted to the driver before delivery, such as ‘please knock loudly’ or those based on answers from a pre-filled risk assessment, such as ‘must use back entrance’. These can be transmitted to the driver along with the job, or during the day of delivery.
In addition, advanced proof of delivery software offers you the ability to amend existing processes or introduce new ones. You can evaluate data and make changes as necessary to improve customer service. Or if customer expectations/regulations change, amendments can be made immediately without software changes.
UK specialist bed retailer, Dreams, uses Paragon’s ePOD solution, fleXipod, to electronically capture critical information from both deliveries and collections. The system also enables Dreams to easily capture data about additional services it provides. For example, drivers are simply and quickly able to record the removal of all packing materials from the customer’s home. In addition, by replacing a previous paper-based system, the retailer can provide a more efficient and professional on-site customer experience with live updates from the two-man delivery teams into a central management console. Using fleXipod gives Dreams’ customer service department a complete view of all orders and the ability to respond immediately to any delivery issues.
Logistics provider Wincanton uses fleXipod to capture comprehensive details for each of its delivery jobs, including customer signature, GPS positioning, timestamp, photographs and any notes. The adaptability of fleXipod means that Wincanton can customize functionality and create tailored forms to support individual client delivery requirements. Wincanton can implement different on-site workflows for different client contracts without its drivers needing to remember the various procedures. Instead, the application, which is implemented on Wincanton’s choice of handheld devices, presents the driver with step-by-step screens to ensure they follow the correct workflow.
Finally, sophisticated, intuitive electronic proof of delivery software enhances the experience of the drivers themselves. Receiving information in advance about a tight entry hallway, in the case of bulky furniture delivery, or a neighbor with a key needed to gain entry, relieves the stress on the driver of discovering these issues only upon arrival. It also reduces the burden on drivers to manage and keep paperwork safe and dry. Good ePOD software means delivery personnel will be interacting with happier customers – reducing stress and leading to a more positive experience for both.
Both the customer and the retailer or driver’s employer want deliveries to happen as quickly and efficiently as possible. Helping drivers present a positive brand experience results in repeat business.
Implementing electronic POD software is about making delivery operations as cost-effective as possible. It also means your business can react to problems in real time to enhance the customer experience.
For organizations without a physical storefront – whether you are delivering goods or providing on-site services – the point of delivery is perhaps the ONLY opportunity you’ll have for direct interaction with the customer. Don’t allow old technology to limit your ability to make a great impression and don’t overlook the potential of your drivers to act as positive brand ambassadors. The latest electronic proof of delivery software will allow you to shine during this critical moment of truth.
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