Changed expectations around live package tracking
We all know that feeling when you are sitting at home or at work waiting for a package and not sure when it is going to arrive. Where is it now and when is it going to get here? I need to go out now but I really don’t want to miss that delivery. I go back to the tracking portal and it says, “Out for delivery”, urrgh. I might have gotten a text message to say that it is due to arrive in the afternoon but the time window is just too large. The reality is that even though this delivery information is good it doesn’t help me with really knowing the ETA of the package or how I can manage my day in the meantime. More importantly, how can delivery route planners help with making this work better.
There was a moment a number of years back when Uber released its vehicle tracking to customers on the app and it was a game changer in terms of how customers perceived the company but also their expectations around lift services in general. We are at the same moment in the delivery tracking industry right now. In fact, all service calls including repairs and installations are likely to come in under this umbrella also. It is now essential that anyone providing deliveries or service calls direct to customers’ homes or offices need to provide live tracking portals for customers. Why is this so essential now considering these industries have survived without this tech until now? Well, it comes down to customer expectations and an understanding that if one delivery operation is providing this then why can’t everyone else.
What companies that are selling online need to understand is that it is their brand that is on the line in this new delivery battleground. If I order a pair of shoes online and the delivery experience is not good then I am going to attach that failure to the brand of shoes or the retailer rather than the delivery company. For brands and retailers there is no excuse that our outsourced delivery operation didn’t provide a good service, it is the brand that will take the hit. And the hit can be severe with 36% of consumers saying they would not buy again from a retailer if they have a bad delivery experience.
Last mile is a huge challenge for companies and makes up 40% of the total supply chain cost despite being just a tiny fraction of the miles required to get a package into the consumer's hands. Check out this video from MIT that explains the challenge and looks to the future of deliveries.
3 upsides of implementing live package tracking this month
Like it or not, live package tracking is close to being an essential requirement for your online customers and something they expect you to have. The good news is that there are a number of huge benefits for you of implementing this.
Customer complaints are a huge cost to your business. Negative customer reviews can be hugely damaging to new sales and repeat custom if they exceed the very rare comment. Customer complaints also cost in terms of manpower to manage the complaint and resolve it. And finally, complaints tend to require significant remediation such as another delivery or a refund which all adds up for your business bottom line.
If you go down the route of live package tracking however you will cut your customer complaints massively. When it has been implemented it avoids you having to talk to customers directly as they have all the same information as you do, live on their screen. If there is a sticking point they can call the driver directly to coordinate the final mile of the delivery or service call. Complaints fall instantly, as do manpower requirements, re-deliveries, and negative customer feedback.
When you are making savings across all these factors you now have the opportunity to increase order volume or further improve the customer experience.
Exceeding customer expectations
For most retailers they now have to see their delivery route planning going head to head with giants like Amazon. This brings with it huge pressure but also can help them in exceeding customer expectations
Consumers are clearly used to high standards in delivery live tracking and you need to step up to meet this challenge. 49% of retailers said customer expectations around delivery times is the most significant last mile challenge. -Retail Touchpoints
The battleground for brands and retailers, is now post-sale online. In other words delivery experience is taking the place of being in-store in terms of how they interact with the brand. 73.6% of consumers reported delivery is most important to the overall shopping experience.
The key elements that we have outlined in this article to implement live package tracking will allow you to compete with Amazon and will give a high level of customer satisfaction that will result in brand loyalty, word of mouth growth and more positive brand awareness.
Controlling your delivery management
For any logistics manager, dispatch supervisor or small business owner control of the delivery process is key. One of our clients tells the compelling story of how his delivery drivers strangely began to all arrive back at the depot at the same time after he implemented SmartRoutes tracking and route planning. It surprised him initially because he was used to drivers arriving back at a variety of times towards the end of the day and this seemed almost coordinated the way the vans all appeared at once just at the time they were supposed to.
Control is intoxicating for delivery managers but is equally so for customers who don’t have to second guess that trip to the store when they know that their package is still an hour away because they can see it on the tracking portal.
How to do live package tracking right
- Understand that your brand will live or die by the delivery experience from now on. Online ordering now represents 20% of all retail globally and that is growing fast. That means that the delivery experience is a critical brand touch-point with consumers, often the only touch point with a human. Get it right or risk huge customer churn and erosion of your customer loyalty.
- Implement customer notifications first and foremost. 97% of customers expect package updates and information about delivery status. SMS or email notifications can manage a lot of the communication with customers even after the delivery has taken place.
- Implement a live tracking system for your delivery vehicle or service technicians. This allows you to see where everyone is in the field at any given time. It also allows you to implement a live package tracking portal for your customers so they can see their own package making its way to them.
- Implement a direct link from customer to the driver in their SMS or email notification. This bypasses phone calls to the depot and coordinates the delivery overall by putting the correct people in direct contact. This link is simply ‘Click to call your driver’.
- Ensure that all customer touch points are good branded experiences. This includes the notifications they are getting using on-brand language, the live tracking portal having brand logos included, and the delivery person themselves handing over branded packages that reflect well on the company.
- Finally, capture proof of delivery with e-signature or a photo proof and send that to the customer and the depot for total certainty and security in closing the delivery loop.
Do you have a robust delivery tracking system in place?
Questions you might want to ask yourself to stress test your operation and how it might impact on your customers:
- Am I receiving calls or emails from customers directly querying about deliveries?
- Do I have missed deliveries or costs associated with failed deliveries?
- Do I think our delivery operation will be the same in the next 24 months or will I have to improve it to keep up with the competition?
Delivery tracking stats that might surprise you
Receiving an accurate ETA is important or very important to 83% of consumers -Localz
51% of shoppers want real-time visibility into the status of their order -Retail TouchPoints
73% of supply chain professionals can't currently provide real-time tracking to customers. - project44
94% would choose a different shop or brand based on the delivery or collection options available - Localz
84% of customers will not return to a retailer after one poor delivery experience. - Convey
62% US Shoppers defined delivery speed as the most important factor in defining a positive shopping experience (higher than friendly sales reps and easy return policies) - Avionos
Amazon is spending an extra $1.5 billion to transition to one-day shipping this year - CNN Business
57% of customers report that retailers are mediocre at best when it comes to the final mile - Retail TouchPoints
94% of customers blame the retailer after a delivery goes poorly - Supply Chain Dive
Last mile costs account for 53% of total transportation costs - Business Insider
⅓ of truck miles are driven empty - Supply Chain Dive
If you would like to talk to us about implementing the SmartRoutes fleet tracking and live package tracking system for your business get in touch and we will try to get you a slot with our onboarding demo team.